Last week I predicted that the MCC board of directors would not select any new countries for compact eligibility, and that they would re-select all seven countries currently in the compact development stage. I was wrong on three counts.
CGD Policy Blogs
“Too often, donors’ decisions are driven more by our own political interests or our policy preferences than by our partners’ needs.”
These charged words did not come from an energetic NGO arguing for major changes to US development policy. They were delivered by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a high-level gathering of development officials in late 2011.
MCC’s board of directors will meet on December 10 to decide which countries will be eligible for compact and/or threshold program assistance for FY2014. CGD’s Rethink offers a preview of the issues the board will grapple with, as well as a prediction of which countries they will select.
My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow and director of the Rethinking US Development Policy program Ben Leo, here to discuss his new CGD working paper, Is Anyone Listening? in which he examines how well US foreign assistance aligns with the priorities of people in recipient countries. Answer: not so much or, as Ben puts it more diplomatically: “the alignment is modest at best.”
On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Dana Hyde to be the new CEO of MCC, as well as Mark Lopes to be the US executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank. The short hearing (attended by Senators Markey and Barrasso, chair and ranking of the International Development Subcommittee) was largely positive toward both MCC and Hyde.
On Thursday, USAID Administrator Raj Shah is set to give a speech at Brookings on the goal of ending extreme poverty, planned to put a bit more policy oomph behind the President’s call in the State of the Union earlier this year for America to join with its allies to end $1.25 poverty in two decades. Here’s some things it would be great to hear in the speech:
This is a joint post with Will McKitterick.
On NPR this morning, Dan Charles told Morning Edition Host Renee Montagne that the Philippines is fortunate that the typhoon struck early in the US government’s fiscal year, when “there's plenty of cash available to spend” for food aid. That means that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was able to immediately provide $8 million for World Food Programme (WFP) relief operations, with a promise of $10 million to $15 million more later. Had the typhoon struck a few months earlier, however, cash for such crises would have been exhausted by relief operations in Syria.
Yesterday, Foreign Policy’s The Cable came out with an article warning that—with the upcoming board meeting to determine which countries will be eligible for MCC funding for FY14—MCC is essentially on the verge of pouring money into the hands of corrupt regimes.
MCC is expected to publish its annual country eligibility scorecards next week. I always love this time of year. While MCC’s annual selection process isn’t exactly new anymore, each year raises new issues and questions. The perennial question--a fundamental question--is which countries are going to pass the indicator criteria? Not all the data are publicly available yet, but some key indicators are. As a preview, we ran the numbers on how countries stack up on the corruption and democracy “hard hurdle” indicators. Based on this ini