HOSTS MCC IN ROUND-TABLE CONFERENCE
Chicago, April 27 2015: Chicago, April 27 2015: In a bid to carry
the message of the Millennium Challenge Corporation to the people
directly, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge
Corporation, MCC, Ms. Dana Hyde and members of her staff met with
Officials of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago,
GNC, led by its President, Mr. Ebenezer Antwi-Nsiah. The discussions
brought together a group of Ghanaian business entrepreneurs and
professionals in the Chicago metropolitan area for a round-table
discussions on the MCC’s five-year Ghana Power Compact project. The
compact project will support the transformation of Ghana’s power
sector and stimulate private investment.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation
(MCC) is a bilateral United States foreign aid agency established by
the U.S. Congress in 2004, applying a new philosophy toward foreign
aid. The MCC’s main goal is to reduce poverty through increase
economic growth in selected countries that qualifies for the
program. It is an independent agency, separate from the State
Department and USAID. Under its current Chief Executive Officer Ms.
Dana Hyde, the MCC is changing the conversation on how best to
deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies,
country ownership, and results. Her goal after taking over as CEO
has been to bring the conversation to the public by organizing
seminars and meeting small businesses to give information and
discuss how best to get businesses involved in the MCC’s projects.
The vibrant Ghanaian Community in Chicago led by the GNC was the
first community to be selected.
Ghana and the United States signed
the current compact in August 2014 for the release of $498,200,000
grant meant to improve reliability of power in the country. It also
includes significant policy and institutional reforms. It’s the
largest U.S Government –funded transaction to date in support of
power in Africa. This power compact project seeks to create a
financially viable power sector that will meet the current and
future needs of households and businesses, and ultimately help fight
poverty in Ghana and other African countries who qualify for similar
programs. This was revealed by Ms. Dana Hyde to the gathering at the
luxurious Gleacher Center (the University of Chicago graduate
business school) 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, Chicago, Illinois.
The MCC CEO informed the gathering
that the corporation will not fund power generation, as this will be
taken up by the private sector. For example, General Electric
Company, GE, in the USA, is among companies taking advantage of the
current compact program to invest in electricity production in
Ghana. GE signed a Memorandum of understanding with the Ghana
Government to generate about one thousand Megawatts to feed the
national grid. There are other companies that have that have
committed to generate about two thousand Megawatts to feed the
Ghanaian national grid as a result of the current compact project.
The second compact project calls for
improved operational efficiency of the electric company, ECG, and
for a private company to manage. The outsourcing of management of
the company was up for outright sale. There are subsidies embedded
in the program for communities that could not afford to pay. The
Ghana Government is expected to contribute 15 percent of its own
funds in addition to the funds being provided by the MCC. This
arrangement will push the total funding of the project to
$535,565,000 which will entirely be devoted to improving the
reliability of power in the country.
A country’s qualification into the
MCC programs is based on an annual scorecard that includes 20
indicators looking at the country’s performance in three categories,
Economic Freedom, Ruling Justly, and Investing in People. The data
for qualification is collected from organizations such as Freedom
House, the World Bank and others. Contrary to public belief, the
funds are not transferred to Ghana or any foreign country. Payments
for contracts under approved compact projects are made directly from
Mrs. Katerina Ntep, former country
director Resident in Ghana for 6 1/2 years was present. She
expressed countless compliments about the people of Ghana. She was
also resourceful in helping the CEO answer some of the concerns and
questions raised by the participants.
In his opening remarks the President
of the Ghana National Council, Ebenezer Antwi-Nsiah thanked the
attendees and applauded the MCC for its efforts not only about its
investments but also its laudable attempt to reduce poverty
globally. Mr. Antwi-Nsiah informed the attendees that the GNC had
launched an investment initiative in 2015 to encourage investors to
Ghana. He stated that the GNC would start series of seminars and
round-table discussions towards the initiative. As part of the
initiative, he informed the attendees that the president of Ghana,
His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, is expected in Chicago in July
to join the GNC in its discussions with both Ghanaian business
entrepreneurs in the diaspora and non-Ghanaian business men and
women. Mr. Nsiah extended a special invitation to the MCC CEO, Dana
Hyde, to join the GNC at Ghanafest 2015 to be held on July 25 in
Chicago. In conclusion, Mr. Antwi-Nsiah thanked the CEO of the MCC
and her staff, for their dedication and efforts to bring the
conversation down to small business entrepreneurs.
Members of the Ghanaian business
community expressed their gratitude to the MCC CEO and her staff for
taking time off their heavy schedules to meet with them.
The attendees of the round-table
conference from the Ghanaian community included: Mr. Ebenezer
Antwi-Nsiah, GNC President, Mr. Paa Kwesi Sam, GNC Vice President,
Mr. Steve Dei, Organizing Secretary of GNC and President of the Ewe
Association of Chicago, Mr. Augustine Afriyie, President & CEO of
Oakley Construction, Ms. Vicky Sampah, Managing Broker, L’abri
Realty, Hajjia Habiba Abdallah, Queenmother of Ghana Northern Union,
Mr. Bennett Agyeman, retired professor of Northwestern Business
College, Chicago, Mr. Kwaku Oware-Baning, CEO of ICON Sytems, Inc,
Mr. Nelson Hodogbey, President & CEO of Medex Healthcare, Chicago,
Mr. Saddik Aboagye Bosompem, Executive Secretary of GNC, Ms.
Antoinette Kwateng, Deputy Inspector-General with the State of
Illinois, Nana Akwasi Addae, Managing Partner, Bio Kids Village, Mr.
Seth Ababio, Owner, Fab Consulting, Mr. Englebert B. Moses, CEO,
Geolink Partners, Mr. Ali Braimah, Strategic IT & Security Advisor
Also present were Dr. Mark Kutame,
professor at Chicago State University and the Owner of
Sankofaonline.com, Mr. Reuben Hadzide.
The MCC staff members who were
present were: Ms. Dana Hyde, CEO, Ms.Katerina Ntep, Managing
Director, Sector Operations Division, Ms. Lorelle Atkinson, managing
Director, Department of Congressional and Public Affairs, Mr.
Preston Winter, Director, Program Procurement and Ms. Gina
Cavallaro, Writer/ Editor.