Ideas to Action:

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US Development Policy

CGD experts track US development policy and offer ideas and analysis to improve its impact on developing countries. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and Global Health Policy blog.


Burkina Faso Gets $12.9 Million Threshold Grant

Burkina Faso will receive a $12.9 million MCA grant to improve girls' primary education completion rates, the MCC announced today. The grant is the first of its kind for a Threshold country.
Managed through USAID, the Threshold Program provides assistance to countries that demonstrate a significant commitment to meet MCA selection requirements but nevertheless fail to complete the conditions.
Countries eligible for the Threshold Program are invited to submit funding proposals geared towards improving their performance in the indicators they missed in the selection process.

Cape Verde and United States Sign Compact

Cape Verde and the United States signed a $110 million compact in Praia on July 4. The five-year compact focuses on infrastructure, agricultural, and private sector development. This is the first time a compact is signed outside of the United States.

MCC Seeks Ideas for Natural Resources Management Indicator

The MCC is seeking input from public and private sector practitioners, and researchers for sound methodology to help determine an objective and quantifiable indicator to evaluate a country's commitment to the sustainable management of natural resources.
Congressional legislation requires the MCC to try and come up with an indicator on natural resources management. The idea has been around since the beginning, and everyone agrees that it is important.

Assessing Nicaragua's Compact

This afternoon CGD hosted a panel discussion on Nicaragua's MCA compact. The event featured Manuel Agosin, Regional Economic Adviser at the Inter-American Development Bank, Manuel Orozco, Senior Associate and Executive Director for the Remittance and Rural Development Project at Inter-American Dialogue, Salvador Stadthagen, Nicaragua's Ambassador to the United States, and James Vermillion, Managing Director for Latin America at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Steve Radelet, CGD's Senior Fellow, moderated the discussion.

MCC Hammered

On June 23, The Economist took a closer look at the MCC. MCC Hammered: In Praise of a bold but unloved aid agency highlights the merits of George Bush's flagship development program and the challenges at hand. The article reads:

Guest Column -- Armenia and Human Rights: A Test for the MCA

We are delighted to post our very first guest column. The column provides MCA watchers an opportunity to share their opinions with the rest of us who follow this program. In Armenia and Human Rights: A Test for the MCA, Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House, discusses democracy and human rights standards in the MCA selection process.
Windsor writes:

Awkward Timing for MCC Chief's Departure

Financial Times' Andrew Balls reported last night that Paul Applegarth's surprise resignation resulted from failing confidence within the Bush administration that the flagship aid program was fulfilling expectations. Ball wrote:

The timing of the resignation was awkward for the administration, occurring just before the Group of Eight summit in Scotland next month. At the summit, President George W. Bush will promote the Millennium Challenge Account, overseen by the MCC, as the US's preferred way of raising aid flows to African countries.

Who is Watching the MCC?

Evidently not the Washington press. The New York Times broke the story of Paul Applegarth's resignation on Thursday, June 16, the day after the MCC CEO told his staff he planned to resign. On Friday the NYT's Celia Dugger ran some thoughtful analysis.
Reuters and Associated Press both ran stories, which were picked up in places as distant as South Africa and London, where the Guardian ran an AP story that linked cuts in funding to Applegarth's resignation.

What's Next for the MCC?

The resignation of Paul Applegarth as the CEO of the MCC, followed by the news that Congress has cut back the funds that President Bush requested for the fledgling aid agency has both critics and supporters of MCC wondering whether it can live up to its bold vision. Although the MCC made a reasonable amount of progress in its first year, whoever becomes the new head will face major challenges. Read Challenges for the New Leader of the Millennium Challenge Corp., by Steve Radelet and myself.