Tomorrow morning, CEO Danilovich heads to the Hill to defend the Presiden'ts $3 billion FY07 budget request. To date, the MCC has signed 8 compacts representing commitments of $2.7 billion.
"Fully funding the President's request for FY07 wil enable the MCC to sign 9 to 12 new compacts comprising commitments of more than $3 billion...the MCC will have total commitments approaching $6 billion with 20 or more countries."
"Conservative projections show that sometime in FY 2007, MCC's existing compact program funding levels of $3.8 billion will be exhausted. This would cover 14 to 15 compacts. Without full funding of the Presiden''ts request, MCC will not be able to commit to transformational compacts with the remaining eligible countries..."
I hope members of the House Appropriations Committee show up and engage with new CEO Danilovich tomorrow on what is going to prove to be an important year for the MCC. With two years of operations under its belt, the MCC no longer has the luxury of being a start-up organization. There's enough experience under its belt to inspire some probing questions tomorrow. If I were a Congresswoman on that Committee, here's what I'd like to hear Danilovich answer:
1. Tell me, with concrete examples, how I talk to my constituents back home about the importance of foreign aid in general and how the MCC is not going to be "just another aid agency."
2. MCA funding was to be an additional and complementary foreign assistance tool, building on the investments in human development that traditional development accounts make. It appears that the increased request for MCC funds comes at the expense of other core development accounts this year. Do you see evidence that this is true, and how will MCA's economic growth emphasis have the intended poverty reduction impact, without the foundational investments in human capital that the core development accounts make?
3. Your Congressional Budget Justification shows that you can use the $3 billion request to fund the remaining eligible countries. If you do that, and considering that compacts last 5 years and countries can't have concurrent compacts, does that mean we won't need to appropriate substantial funding in FY '08-'10?
4. The MCA mission laid out in the original legislation is economic growth and poverty reduction. The MCC has extensive measures for assessing economic growth prior to the compact being signed, but not to assess the expected poverty impacts and the distributional impact of that growth. What diagostic tools does the MCC use to assess the expected poverty impacts and the distributional impact of growth prior to the compact being signed?
5. Civil society outreach and participation was one of the hallmarks of the MCC model, yet the quality has been uneven across countries. Would you support greater use of 609(g) monies and/or threshold program monies to support better consultation and participation?
6. The MCC gets high marks for the level of transparency in its selection critieria and public availability of its performance indicators. That said, greater transparency can be brought to bear in eligibility decisionmaking, disbursements and, eventually progress against stated benchmarks. Do you agree with CGD's transparency agenda?
7. Is the Threshold Program delivering on its stated objectives and do you think there is room to use the Program differently? For example, to support improvements in fiduciary institutions and processes or to enhance more meaningful civil society participation in priority setting and evaluation?
Understanding that I'd probably exceed my allotted time, I'd have to stop there. But, it'd be a good start...and, there's always the ability to submit questions to the record for written response.
What do you all hope will be asked?