WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 5, 2017 – Today, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) released a memo, MCC: Modernizing the Fight Against Poverty, outlining the agency’s progress under the Obama Administration and priorities for the years ahead to further MCC’s ability to transform lives and reduce poverty around the globe.
In 2004, MCC was launched as a grand experiment in foreign assistance effectiveness, and today, it stands as an established and respected leader in the field of international development. MCC has emerged as the cornerstone of America’s economic relationship with many developing countries. With its selectivity, focus, transparency, and accountability, and bipartisan support from Congress, MCC has advanced American values abroad and our security at home, accelerated the fight to end poverty, and created new partners for American businesses.
MCC CEO Dana J. Hyde said in the memo:
“Developed and conceived under President Bush’s leadership with strong bipartisan support from Congress, MCC was still in its infancy at the outset of the Obama Administration. President Obama embraced MCC as a critical and powerful tool in the nation’s foreign policy toolkit. Since then, MCC has successfully delivered hundreds of projects that are transforming the lives of millions of people around the world.”
“In the years ahead, MCC is poised to broaden and deepen its impact. We have outlined a strategic path forward that will help the agency continue to adapt to a changing development landscape and strengthen its ability to generate economic growth and fight poverty across the globe. As an institution committed to data, transparency, and accountability, MCC has learned the value of maintaining its core model while being flexible to meet changing conditions and new global poverty challenges.”
Excerpts from the Memo:
Tracking Our Progress
Since the start of President Obama’s Administration, MCC has signed 15 compacts and six smaller threshold program grant agreements with partner countries and successfully completed 16 compacts and 18 threshold program grant agreements. Seventy percent of these investments fund large-scale infrastructure — like power, roads, ports, and bridges — and are accompanied by critical policy, governance, and capacity advancements. MCC investments have also helped to advance broader development initiatives, including presidential and congressional priorities such as food security, access to electricity, and Internet access.
- MCC supported the development of analytical tools for Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and continues to share best practices in areas such as irrigation, farmer training, and land tenure.
- Through investments in electricity access, MCC has committed approximately $1.5 billion in support of the goals of Power Africa.
- MCC’s work in Morocco is advancing Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative aimed at helping adolescent girls attain a quality education, through a nearly $100 million investment in a new model for secondary education.
- And MCC has invested in several projects to promote Internet connectivity, including using TV White Space to bring broadband Internet access to schools in rural Namibia.
During President Obama’s Administration, MCC has:
- Completed 3,035 kilometers of roads, which will benefit an estimated 8.8 million people.
- Built or rehabilitated nearly 1,200 water sources, which will provide improved access to water for an estimated 4.4 million people.
- Trained more than 200,000 farmers, improved irrigation for over 200,000 hectares, and facilitated $75 million in agricultural and rural loans, which will benefit an estimated 3.5 million people.
- Strengthened legal land protections for more than 300,000 household, commercial, and other legal entities and supported land governance reforms, which will benefit an estimated 1.8 million people.
- Built or rehabilitated nearly 700 new schools and supported education activities to benefit nearly half a million students.
- Built over 4,000 kilometers of electricity lines and strengthened sector institutions, which will benefit more than 2 million people.
The Road Ahead
The principles underlying MCC’s strategic vision have prompted three priority areas for the years ahead:
- Regional investments: MCC is increasingly focused on making coordinated regional investments — particularly in transportation, energy, and water — to expand and link infrastructure and help partners work together to build and grow regional markets, facilitate trade, and achieve greater impact through economies of scale.
- Refining partner selection: Today, poverty is increasingly concentrated in middle-income countries, and MCC’s strict reliance on simplistic income classifications results in its inability to work with countries representing a significant proportion of the global poor. In response, MCC has been conducting extensive research into alternative methods for measuring country needs to amend its current approach to defining its annual candidate pool. Changes to MCC’s approach, however, require Congressional action.
- New partnerships: Through its compacts, MCC can play a transformational role in attracting private investment into specific sectors and projects. The agency will pursue a variety of partnerships to leverage both public and private sector partners — collaborating to promote shared interests and objectives.
Through MCC, the United States has an opportunity to continue to lead the global community in the effort to lift people out of poverty while advancing American values and security and creating opportunities for American businesses.
Read the full memo on MCC’s website.