Press Release

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2006

Contact: 202-521-3850

Email: info@mcc.gov

Zambia Receives $22.7 Million Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant to Tackle Corruption

Washington, D.C. —Today, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Ambassador John Danilovich, presided over a Threshold Program signing ceremony between the United States and the Republic of Zambia for a two-year $22.7 million initiative aimed at fighting corruption and improving government effectiveness.   Zambian Minister of Finance and National Planning Ng’andu P. Magande and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa Lloyd Pierson signed the agreement.  Zambian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika observed the signing.  The program’s three-pronged strategy in combating corruption focuses on preventing corruption in targeted government institutions, improving public service delivery to the private sector, and improving border management of trade.

“Fighting corruption is an essential component in reducing poverty because corruption undermines all other efforts to stimulate growth and spread opportunity,” said MCC CEO Ambassador John Danilovich.  “Congratulations to the people and government of Zambia for their ambitious, results-oriented program to root out corruption and encourage investment.  I applaud President Mwanawasa for his bold action in implementing a ‘Zero Tolerance for Corruption’ policy.  We look forward to building on our strong partnership throughout the implementation phase.”

Ambassador Danilovich added, “Thanks to our colleagues at USAID and the U.S. Embassy in Zambia led by Ambassador Carmen Martinez for their tireless efforts in making this program possible.”

MCC’s Threshold Program is designed to assist countries that are on the “threshold” of Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) eligibility for Compacts.  Threshold Program assistance is used to help countries address the specific policy weaknesses indicated by the country’s scores on 16 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 MCA 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.

MCC’s Threshold Program assistance totals approximately $116 million in six countries: Burkina Faso, Malawi, Tanzania, Albania, Paraguay, and Zambia. 

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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty.