US picks Zambia for massive MCC grant.
WASHINGTON. The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting yesterday and selected Belize and Zambia as newly eligible to develop MCC compacts—the agency’s five-year grant program.
As part of its annual discussion on country selection, MCC’s Board also reviewed the policy performance of eligible and previously selected countries and received an update on the status of the $500 million MCC-Nepal Compact. “I am excited to announce MCC’s new partnerships with Belize and Zambia,” said MCC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Mahmoud Bah. “These governments have demonstrated a clear commitment to democratic governance, investing in people, and pursuing economic freedom. We look forward to working together to develop programs that reduce poverty and enable sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”
Selecting Belize for a compact allows MCC to partner with a country that has demonstrated a clear commitment to democratic governance, but that is facing rising poverty rates and significant challenges to economic growth. With this new partnership, MCC will support the Government of Belize’s efforts to build economic resilience and address its most binding constraints to growth.
Zambia completed a prior compact with MCC in 2018 and demonstrates strong performance on MCC’s scorecard. A subsequent compact will support the Government of Zambia’s efforts to address the country’s pressing development challenges and pursue critical economic and democratic governance reforms following its recent democratic transition.
MCC’s Board of Directors also reselected Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Timor-Leste for compact development; and Kenya and Kiribati for threshold program development. The Board reaffirmed its support for continuing compact development in Kosovo. In addition, the Board reselected Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Benin as eligible for concurrent compact programs for regional integration. However, due to Benin’s overall multi-year decline in its commitment to MCC’s eligibility criteria and the principles of democratic governance, the Board discussed and endorsed MCC’s determination to significantly reduce the portion of the planned regional investment that would be made in Benin through a concurrent compact.
MCC regularly reviews its partner countries’ policy performance throughout the development and implementation of a compact or threshold program. Following this year’s review, MCC’s Board of Directors discontinued MCC’s development of a proposed threshold program with Ethiopia while welcoming the opportunity to renew engagement with Ethiopia in the future if conditions permit.
Finally, MCC’s Board of Directors received an update and discussed the progress to date of the $500 million MCC-Nepal Compact. The Board of Directors made note of the commitment by the Government of Nepal to seek to ratify the compact in the near term.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, fighting corruption and respecting democratic rights.