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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Rep. Karen Bass introduces legislation to increase international investment and lift quality of life across the globe

June 19, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) announced today she has introduced the “Millennium Compacts for Regional Economic and Integration Act” (M-CORE), legislation that will expand flexibility of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to do additional projects with countries with the hope of further promoting regional integration and cross border cooperation.

Established by bipartisan legislation in 2004, MCC is a bilateral, independent agency that works to provide foreign assistance based on competitive selection, country-led solutions, and country-led implementation by focusing on good policies and results.  Since their inception, MCC has been successful in improving both African global economies and the quality of life for people living on the African continent through an array of infrastructure projects, empowering of civil society and expanding access to education and health.

However, current law hinders MCC’s effectiveness by not allowing it to develop multiple projects within the same country at the same time. This lack of flexibility impacts MCC’s ability to provide resources to people in need and connect projects between countries and the rest of the world.

The M-CORE would remove this red-tape by giving MCC the authority to work on more than one project at a time with a country if previous MCC projects in that county have been successful and have demonstrated that they can successfully implement new projects with a regional focus. This increased flexibility would promote economic growth and cross-border engagement between and among nations creating larger and more compatible markets for trade and development.

“Behind every one of these numbers is a person who now has access to clean water, a family who can now farm their property with legal protection, and people who can get to work because of the roads and electricity infrastructure made possible because of MCC,” said Rep. Bass. “MCC has been a success, and this commonsense legislation will enable more people to live healthier lives and more economies to grow—benefiting both the American economy and those receiving the aid.”

"For American businesses to be successful in Africa, creating jobs in the United States and in Africa, we will need to develop markets sizeable enough to justify those investments,” said Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of The Corporate Council on Africa. “Regionalization is vital to the future economic development of Africa, and allowing the MCC to build on its success to create regional compacts will grow the African economy and reduce poverty.”

Representatives Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Adam Smith (D-WA)and David Cicilline (D-RI) joined Rep. Bass as original co-sponsors of the legislation.

More information about MCC

Since its inception, MCC has signed 27 compacts, which are expected to benefit almost 174 million people worldwide. Of those 27 signed compacts, 15 have been signed with African countries, totaling close to $6 billion in investment.

The MCC has had a direct impact in improving the quality of life on the African continent.  The MCC has helped over 656,000 people on the African continent gain access to clean water, over 188,000 African farmers have been trained, and close to 268,000 households now have legal protections for their land.

More information on the Corporate Council on Africa

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is a nonprofit, membership-based organization established in 1993 to promote business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa. It includes members from more than 160 companies, which represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa.