Remarks by Ambassador Gene Cretz MCC Procurement Seminar Accra World Trade Center, 9:30 a.m.

Good morning.  I am thrilled to see so much interest in today’s event by both Ghanaian and U.S. companies.  This is a good sign that the second Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact will strengthen the partnership between Ghana and the U.S.  The companies sponsoring today’s program – representing both American and Ghanaian businesses – are already setting a great example of how U.S. and Ghanaian businesses can partner to improve lives and create greater economic opportunities.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Second Compact with Ghana builds on an impressive track record under Compact One.  The citizens of Ghana are already seeing positive outcomes from that engagement with improved and diversified economic growth.  We can expect even more as MCC continues its commitment to make positive changes under this second Compact.

As you are likely aware, Compact 2 is a five-year program that will invest $498 million to transform the Ghanaian power sector, helping to create a financially and commercially viable power sector that will meet the country’s growing needs for power.  The Government of Ghana will contribute an additional $37 million, bringing the total investment to $535 million.  The Compact will focus on updating infrastructure, improving management and oversight, and increasing energy efficiency.

This Compact is a partnership that highlights the strong and growing relationship between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana.  While the U.S. government will be bringing technical assistance and financial support to fund the Second Compact, the program will be run and managed by Ghanaians for Ghanaians.  We will have the pleasure of hearing today directly from Engineer Sarfo, the CEO of Ghana’s Millennium Development Authority.  It is his team that will manage the complex process of transforming a jointly developed aspiration into a reality.

I do want to highlight that our support of Ghana through MCC and MiDA is only one way that the U.S. and Ghana are partnering to improve access to electricity and development of the power sector.  The U.S. Embassy here in Accra manages a very active program under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.  MCC’s efforts and its partnership with MiDA, in fact, are a real life manifestation of the work by our Embassy’s Power Africa team.  I know that the end result will be exactly what President Obama envisioned when he defined Power Africa as our efforts to provide light where currently there is darkness and the energy needed to lift people out of poverty.

As one of the initial Power Africa focus countries, Ghana is receiving support from a wide range of U.S. government agencies, ranging from USAID to our Export Import Bank.  I understand that we are beginning to see progress on some of the projects that are an outcome of the White House’s focus on increasing access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the coming months and years we will see power projects come online here in Ghana that received support from our team at the critical early stages of development.  An example is the CenPower generation projectwhich reached financial close in November 2014.  This 340 MW Independent Power Project (IPP) is just breaking ground now near Tema.  Another project that had significant Power Africa technical assistance is Ghana’s First Electricity from Domestic Gas.  In November 2014, Power Africa advisors worked with the Energy Commission, the then Ghana National Gas Company and an independent consultant on a “Pre Start-up Health Safety and Environmental Readiness Review” of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure, including the gas processing plant at Atuabo.  The review enabled an offshore gas pipeline tie-in at the Jubilee field and for gas to flow to commission the gas processing plant.  On November 10, the Volta Rover Authority (VRA) reported production of “First Electricity” from Ghana’s domestic gas.  VRA’s power plants at Aboadze are now running mainly on domestic gas.

These projects will quite literally fuel economic development by increasing power capacity and reducing electricity costs.

It is important that I highlight another facet of our efforts under Power Africa. Our partners within the Ghanaian government rightly recognize that the key to a sustainable power sector is private investment.  I know that the United States – the largest source of Ghana’s inbound foreign direct investment – will play a critical role as the home of some of the world’s leading energy firms.

Already many great American companies are moving forward on key investments in Ghana’s power sector.  We are already beginning to see the initial impact of these investments; and there is much more to come soon.  Examples are General Electric, Endeavor and Excelerate which are negotiating with the Government of Ghana on the Ghana 1000 integrated fuel-to-power transaction.  We expect more to follow as Ghana takes the necessary steps to build private sector confidence for investments in energy and power in Ghana.

As always, the local Ghanaian partners of our American investors will play a critical role in the success of these projects.

Thank you again for attending today.  This is one of the first very important steps as Compact 2 gets underway.  I will be watching closely and expect great partnerships between American and Ghanaian companies will come out of our efforts here today and joint efforts with MiDA over the next five years.