Press Release

For Immediate Release

June 16, 2006

Contact: 202-521-3880

Email: info@mcc.gov

The Gambia Suspended from Participation in MCC Compact Program

Washington, D.C. The Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) today agreed to suspend The Gambia’s eligibility for assistance citing a pattern of actions inconsistent with MCC’s selection criteria.

The Board based its decision on documented evidence of human rights abuses and increased restrictions on political rights, civil liberties, and press freedom by the government, as well as worsening economic policies and anti-corruption efforts. The Board considered reports from several organizations to support its decision including: Freedom House, the Heritage Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the State Department.

The Board’s decision was necessary given the disturbing pattern of deteriorating conditions in eight of the 16 policy categories used to evaluate all candidate countries including The Gambia, said Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer of MCC. Continued participation in the Millennium Challenge program requires our partner countries to maintain good policies and is contingent upon adherence to fundamental principles necessary to make progress in their own development. MCC would welcome the opportunity to consider The Gambia’s reinstatement after the government has taken tangible and significant actions to address the areas of decline and embrace political and economic reforms.

The Board annually selects countries for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) eligibility from a pool of candidate countries based on each country’s demonstrated commitment in three broad policy categories ruling justly, investing in people, and promoting economic freedom as measured by performance on 16 independent policy indicators within their income peer group. The Gambia was notified in November 2005 that it was eligible for MCA funding, and only preliminary discussions about the program had been undertaken prior to today’s announcement.

Under MCC’s policy on suspension and termination of assistance, the Board may reinstate eligibility for a country if it determines that the country has taken corrective action or has demonstrated a sufficient commitment to correcting each condition for which eligibility for assistance was suspended.

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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.