Press Release

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2008

Contact: 202-521-3850

Email: info@mcc.gov

Niger Launches $23 Million Millennium Challenge Threshold Program to Promote Girls’ Education, Comt Corruption, Reduce Red Tape

Niamey, Niger — Nigerien Prime Minister Seini Oumarou and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Deputy CEO Rodney Bent today officiated at the signing of a $23 million threshold program. Minister of Finance Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine and USAID West Africa Mission Director Henderson Patrick signed the agreement. The three-year program focuses on bolstering girls’ education, reducing public corruption, streamlining business creation procedures and improving rights and access to land.

“MCC congratulates the people and government of Niger for their exemplary program to improve primary education for girls, tackle corruption, and simplify business and land registration,” said MCC Deputy CEO Rodney Bent. “Education is an essential tool for fighting poverty.  MCC is proud to work with the people of Niger to ensure that Nigerien girls have the chance to create new and better opportunities for themselves.”

Mr. Bent added “We thank our colleagues at USAID and the U.S. Embassy in Niger led by Ambassador Bernadette Allen for their efforts in bringing this program forward.”

As part of MCC’s overall mandate to reduce poverty through economic growth, MCC threshold programs are designed to assist countries that are on the “threshold” of eligibility for large-scale Millennium Challenge Account grants, or Compacts.  Threshold program assistance is used to help countries address the specific policy areas for improvement indicated by their scores on 17 policy indicators in three categories — Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom.  These policy indicators are central to the criteria and methodology for compact eligibility and are products of respected international institutions and national data. Each indicator was selected based on its relationship to growth and poverty reduction, the number of countries it covers, its transparency and availability, its analytical rigor, and its objectivity.

The United States Agency for International Development will be the U.S. government agency responsible for administering the Niger threshold program.

To date, the U.S. has signed nearly $364 million in threshold assistance in 17 countries: Albania, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Moldova, Niger, Paraguay, Philippines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zambia.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government corporation designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth.  For more information, please visit www.mcc.gov.