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CGD has helped shape the Millennium Challenge Corporation through years of analysis dating back to the creation of its financing mechanism—the Millennium Challenge Account—by President Bush in 2002. Our research has helped guide MCC’s work to reduce poverty through growth and we remain at the forefront of creative thought for how to improve this important lever of US foreign assistance.
Over the past decade, the US government has repeatedly committed to incorporate greater country ownership into the way it designs and delivers aid programs. Though a range of factors—including strong domestic pressures—influence foreign assistance, US aid agencies have taken concrete steps to strengthen country ownership in their programs. A new policy paper, The Use and Utility of US Government Approaches to Country Ownership: New Insights from Partner Countries, draws upon survey data from government officials and donor staff in 126 developing countries to explore partner country perceptions of 1) how frequently the US government engaged in practices associated both favorably and less favorably with the promotion of country ownership, and 2) how useful each of those practices was.
Next Tuesday the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) board of directors will hold its final meeting of the year—and the last under the Obama administration. On the docket? Selecting which countries will be eligible for MCC assistance for fiscal year (FY) 2017. For the fourteenth year running, CGD’s MCC Monitor discusses overarching issues that will impact the decisions and offers predictions of which countries will be selected.
The last board meeting of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the Obama administration will take place on December 13, 2016. On the docket? Selecting which countries will be eligible for MCC assistance for fiscal year (FY) 2017. For the fourteenth year running, CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy Initiative discusses the overarching issues that will impact the decisions and offers its predictions of which countries will be selected.
The country scorecards that serve as the basis for MCC country eligibility decisions aren’t complete, but the data for the particularly weighty indicators—including the must-pass Control of Corruption hurdle—is now available. I ran the numbers to get a sneak peek at some of the issues the agency and its board will grapple with over the next few months. Some of what emerged from this number crunching is encouraging—most current partner countries surpass MCC’s standards and some interesting new prospects for partnership emerge. More troubling is that two of the countries currently developing compacts—Kosovo and Mongolia—don’t pass the corruption hurdle.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has officially kicked off its FY2017 “selection cycle” with last week’s release of the “Candidate Country Report.” Normally this is a pretty pro forma step that’s hardly blogworthy, but this year’s report showcases the inadequacy of the current rules that determine MCC’s candidate pool and the unnecessary instability they create—this year three countries that formerly “graduated” are suddenly back in the pool.
Congress has officially departed Washington for the summer, leaving behind a lengthy to-do list for September. In the final weeks of session, both chambers clamored to advance spending bills for the 2017 fiscal year. Though draft bills funding the State Department and foreign assistance were among the last to emerge, both House and Senate Appropriations Committees managed to report out measures before the clock struck recess. So without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of what caught our attention as we sifted through pages of bill text and report language.
In CGD’s last blog post on the new strategy, we commended the US government for leading the charge for adolescent girls—by issuing the first-ever country strategy specifically focused on the demographic. But how do we make sure that this articulated commitment continues to get translated into concrete action? What can MCC specifically contribute? One opportunity may lie in MCC’s country scorecards.
The FY17 State and Foreign Operations spending bill brought good news for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with big implications for its operations. New authority to engage in concurrent compacts in a single country would enable MCC to operate on a regional level, and provisions adjusting the criteria MCC uses to select partner countries could influence where MCC works. These are reasonable (even good!) ideas in theory, but the proposed eligibility requirement gives me some pause and could be challenging to apply in practice.
For over ten years, the international development community, including the US government, has committed to incorporating greater country ownership into the design and delivery of foreign assistance. This paper makes six broad recommendations for how USAID, MCC, and Congress can help the US government build momentum around its efforts to promote country ownership.
To amplify the discussion on country ownership, we convened a panel of high-level policymakers from inside and outside the US government to talk about their experience applying the principle, reflect on its importance, and discuss challenges and trade-offs. Here are three key messages I heard from the expert panelists.
While you might not know it from the weather, there’s at least one sure sign it’s December in DC. No, we’re not referring to the oversized and ornamented evergreens on the Capitol and White House lawns, but to the recent mad dash by Congress to wrap up remaining legislative business before the end of session. Despite a year marked by bitter partisanship, Congress managed to arrive at an agreement to fund the federal government through the rest of FY2016.
A new report from AidData and William and Mary is out, and some of its findings raise questions about the “MCC Effect,” the claim that countries enact policy reforms in order to become more competitive for MCC funding.
After over a year without top political leadership, MCC may soon have a new CEO. Sean Cairncross, the Trump administration’s nominee to take the helm of the agency, has his Senate hearing tomorrow—where we’ll get an early look at his vision for MCC.