MS. HYDE: Good afternoon. Mr. President and Secretary Kerry, Mr. Minister, and friends of Ghana: I am delighted to welcome you here for the signing of Ghana’s $498 million compact with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation. This agreement represents a major milestone in the U.S.-Ghanaian partnership, and I want to thank both teams, from Ghana and from MCC, who worked tirelessly to develop this investment aimed at overcoming one of Ghana’s key constraints to growth.
The compact we sign today takes a system-wide approach to transforming Ghana’s power sector. It invests in projects focused on distribution to make Ghana’s energy sector financially viable and capable of attracting private investment, and it funds initiatives supporting greater energy efficiency and cleaner renewable energy. These investments will provide Ghanaian homes, schools, and hospitals with access to the reliable electricity they need to thrive. And by encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting the productivity of Ghanaian businesses, these investments will help generate growth.
At $498 million, the compact we sign today represents the largest U.S. Government transaction to date under the Obama Administration’s Power Africa initiative. In addition, we estimate this $498 million will catalyze at least $4 billion in private investment and activities from U.S. and other businesses in Ghana’s energy sector over the coming years. We also think this compact can serve as a powerful anchor and a platform for overall U.S. assistance and engagement aimed at driving growth in Ghana and throughout West Africa.
In Ghana, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has chosen a partner who is fully committed to good governance. I applaud the Mahama Administration for its courage and steady conviction to take on bold reforms that will lead to growth and opportunity for millions.
As part of this compact, Ghana has made and will continue to make critical policy and regulatory reforms in the power sector. These reforms will sustain our efforts and will give global, American, and Ghanaian businesses greater confidence to invest. As a reformer, Ghana is truly a shining example and a model of an effective partner for MCC and for the U.S. Government.
So today is a win-win for the people of Ghana and the people of the United States. I want to congratulate all who made this partnership possible and who will work very hard now to realize its promise. With that, I’d like to introduce the Secretary of State, Secretary Kerry. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Well, Dana, thank you. Welcome, everybody. We are really delighted to see everybody here and delighted to see this continuing cascade of announcements of deals that have been made, people coming together, business opportunities that are being taken advantage of. And I am really personally enormously energized by what’s been going on the last 36 hours and what will continue tonight at the White House and tomorrow here at the State Department.
I’m particularly grateful to Dana for her leadership at the MCC. She knows the power of transformational development, which is what this is all about, and she’s worked with PEPFAR, she’s worked on the 9/11 Commission, and she knows that development is not just about prosperity; it’s about building opportunity and stability, security. And she now leads the MCC programs that are combatting poverty all around the world, and we’re very proud of those efforts and I’m proud to have the pleasure of being the chair of the board. And when we meet, it’s always an exciting discussion about development.
I’m particularly delighted to welcome my former colleague, Senator Johnny Isakson, here. Johnny, thank you very much for being here with us. We appreciate it. (Applause.) Representatives Karen Bass and Chris Smith, these are three leaders who without any exaggeration have been incredibly important to our ability to be able to do what we’re doing. They’ve been critical to the subcommittees of Africa in both houses of the Congress, and I’m telling you not just as a former member but now as Secretary, without their focused attention and the commitment of the Congress on this, we’re just not able to do the kinds of things that we’re trying to do. And they do not get distracted by the day-to-day headlines and the kind of tug of war that sometimes depresses everybody.
It’s a great pleasure for me to be back with President Mahama. This is the Mahama-Obama axis here, folks. (Laughter.) And I’m also happy to be here with the Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh and Minister of Finance Seth Terkper is here. I last – I saw – I was with the president yesterday because he very kindly took part as a panelist in the civil society town hall, so to speak, meeting. But I saw him before that in New York at the UN General Assembly, where we discussed security in the Sahel and also Ghana’s plans for energy independence. And since then, our partnership has literally only grown except for 90 minutes during the World Cup, folks – (laughter) – when it wasn’t so friendly. (Laughter.) Anyway.
But we are taking our partnership to a next level here signing a second Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact with Ghana. Nearly 60 years ago, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to peacefully earn its independence when Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana free forever. And the United States has been at Ghana’s side ever since, I’m proud to say. When the Organization of African Unity first met in Ghana, the American Embassy lent the conference paper and the typewriters. And when your first president arrived in Washington, D.C., President John F. Kennedy was at the tarmac to greet him as he came down the steps. Imagine that today.
We live in a different time, a different press of business, but five years ago President Obama went to Accra and he did so to declare that the 21st century will not be shaped just by Washington; it’ll be shaped in Accra as well. And that’s what brings us here today, that reality. Ghana’s second compact is another link in the long chain of friendship between our countries. And the first compact helped to pave highways and supported farmers in the export market. This second compact will transform the energy sector and help to provide reliable power with 10 percent coming from renewable resources.
I say it all the time, but a responsible energy policy is not a brake on the economy. It is, in fact, the engine of an economy. And people I think are now waking up to that fact. It’s an enormous $6 trillion market, folks, and the market that made America so wealthy in the 1990s where every income level saw their incomes go up was a $1 trillion market. I think everybody understands the differential and the value of our going after it.
Many years ago, Ghana sparked an independence movement that swept all across the continent like wildfire. And today, this compact is proof positive that Ghana is once again leading with its commitment to good governance and to economic prosperity. So it’s my great pleasure to welcome here to the podium a man who now needs no introduction, the President of the Republic of Ghana John Mahama. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT MAHAMA: Thank you. Senator Kerry, Secretary of State, honorable members of Senate and Congress, ministers and secretaries, ladies and gentlemen: I’m very honored to be present here today on this occasion of the signing of a new Millennium Challenge Compact between the governments of Ghana and the United States of America. Indeed, it seems like just yesterday when our two governments successfully executed and implemented our first compact. The first compact, by all measures, brought a transformational change in the agricultural landscape of Ghana. It also represented a refreshingly new strategy for the transformation of agriculture in Ghana. It also targeted sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction among the majority of rural dwellers who rely on agriculture for their livelihood by focusing on transport infrastructure and rural development. The achievements and success of the first compact include 66,930 farmer received training in commercial agricultural practices, enhancing their productivity and skills. Four irrigation schemes were rehabilitated, providing irrigation to 2,435 hectares of agricultural farmlands. Twenty post-harvest facilities were constructed, providing storage so crops would not get spoiled in the field. Thousands of farmers were provided with agricultural credit worth $23.1 million. Many roads, including the now famous George Bush Highway, were constructed, and 44 school blocks were fully rehabilitated while 206 new school blocks were constructed, totaling 250. All rural banks in Ghana and their agencies were interconnected and computerized and automated, provided with generators, computers, and wide area networks.
It’s extremely gratifying to note that on the heels of the first compact, which came to closure on June 30th, 2012, Ghana was selected to benefit from a second compact that specifically targets the energy sector. No one can deny the fact that energy is the engine of growth that has propelled many of the world’s leading economies into wealth and prosperity. Ghana is currently experiencing challenges with energy availability, sufficiency, and reliability, and so it was only logical that this new compact would focus on the energy sector.
The objectives of this new compact is to reduce poverty through economic growth in Ghana with direct interventions in the energy sector. This will not only enhance our own efforts at improving the sector, but would hopefully accelerate it. It’s not been an easy road because over the past two years our agencies and their USA counterparts have focused attention on addressing this critical constraint to economic growth in Ghana through a series of protocols, exchanges, and meetings. Indeed, initiatives such as the Partnership for Growth, the first compact, and Power Africa have also provided increased access and opportunity to deepen collaboration with 12 specialized agencies of the U.S. Government. And these are the USAID, USTDA, the MCC, US ExIm, OPIC, U.S.-African Development Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, and Department of State – so many of them. (Laughter.)
This new compact will bring cutting-edge U.S. technology and solutions to expand access to affordable, sustainable electric power. Thanks to the efforts of the above agencies and their Ghanaian counterparts who have collectively and assiduously worked hard to prepare this compact, we are here to sign the compact today.
Today, therefore, marks another historic moment in the bilateral relationship between the United States of America and Ghana, because we see Ghana rising a little higher to achieve its overarching policy goals for the energy sector. Ghana’s total energy supply has to grow significantly in order to achieve the developmental goals we’ve set ourselves. The main challenge is how to increase the energy supply and also expand the energy infrastructure in the country in a way that is sustainable. The power sub-sector needs to increase installed power generation capacity quickly from the current about 2,800 megawatts today to 5,000 megawatts, while at the same time increasing access to electricity from the current 76 percent to universal access, and all this hopefully by the end of the implementation of the compact.
We have also been considering how to attract investments to build the necessary infrastructure for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity throughout our country. This investment is key to ensuring the sustainable, efficient development of Ghana’s energy sector. Our energy policy focuses on institutional and human resource capacity building as well as regulatory reforms required to create a competitive electricity market. Creating the right environment for private-public partnerships in the development of new power plants is essential to the growth of the power sector.
The biggest obstacle to achieving this objective is the issue of cost recovering, a challenge that our policy tries to directly address. Government is keen to and has already initiated actions towards reforms to attract more private sector participation in the energy and power sectors. These include a transparent framework for the development and management of natural gas resources, movements toward a least-cost transparent process of competitive bidding for power generation, and the allocation and pricing of legacy hydro power.
We must also achieve an integrated resource and resiliency planning among the generation, transmission, and distribution sectors; transition to a wholesale electricity market; distribution and commercial loss reduction; promotion of energy efficiency and demand-side management; and support for the expansion of renewable energy projects. Other pressing near-term action is to improve the creditworthiness of the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company, NEDCo, the nation’s off-takers and distributors of electric power.
I note with satisfaction the numerous ongoing endeavors between the Government of Ghana and the agencies of the United States Government, and I hope the compact we execute shortly will pave the way for greater engagement in even more areas with other U.S. state agencies.
I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate the full support and commitment of the Government of Ghana to the Partnership for Growth, the Joint Country Action Plan, Power Africa initiatives, and especially this new compact.
And so on behalf of the people of Ghana, I wish to express our immense gratitude to the Government of the United States of America and the people of America for partnering with Ghana through these laudable initiatives. I thank you, and God bless Ghana and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
(The compact was signed.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Well done.