Press Release

For Immediate Release

March 20, 2009

Contact: 202-521-3880

Email: info@mcc.gov

MCC Places Hold on Poverty Reduction Program in Madagascar

Expresses Disappointment and Concern over Current Political Situation

Washington, D.C. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Acting Chief Executive Officer Rodney Bent issued the following statement today regarding MCCs $110 million, five-year poverty reduction grant program with Madagascar:

In light of recent events, MCC is placing a hold on the operations of its poverty reduction grant to Madagascar.

This decision is made with deep regret. Madagascar is the first country with which MCC signed a compact after being created by Congress in 2004. In efforts to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Madagascars rural poor, MCC and Madagascar have worked collaboratively over the past four years to increase land security and investments in farms and other rural businesses, and to modernize the countrys financial sector. To date, over half of Madagascars MCC grant has been disbursed and over $80 million has been committed to contracts.

MCC is an agency designed to work with countries committed to good governance, the rule of law, and democratic principles. MCC management will review the situation in Madagascar with MCCs Board of Directors.

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The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency 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 about MCC, visit www.mcc.gov.