Press Release

For Immediate Release

September 12, 2007

Contact: 202-521-3880

Email: info@mcc.gov

MCC Approves Threshold Program Grant to Fight Corruption And Improve Governance in Yemen

Washington, DC MCCs Board of Directors today approved a $20.6 million grant to help the Government of Yemen fight corruption and improve the rule of law, political rights, fiscal policy and government effectiveness through institution building and improved systems there.

MCC had suspended Yemen from eligibility for Threshold Program assistance in 2005 but reinstated the country earlier this year after the Government there undertook a series of ambitious reforms to combat corruption and improve the rule of law. MCCs grant will support these reforms in a number of key areas, including judicial reform, election dispute resolution and enhancement of the investment climate.

I would like to congratulate Yemen on the approval of its threshold program, which will help to accelerate many positive reforms already underway, Ambassador John Danilovich, MCCs CEO, said after the Board Meeting. Since 2005, Yemen has undertaken significant reforms, and we are pleased to be supporting these efforts.

In large part, Ambassador Danilovich said, the success of Yemens threshold program will depend on the continued commitment of the Yemeni government. I must express my deep concern at recent reports of intimidation and harassment of Yemeni journalists.

Freedom of expression is of great concern to MCC, and I urge the Government of Yemen to work to protect all journalists in their country from intimidation and violence, the ambassador said. We will continue to monitor issues involving freedom of the press and expression closely.

Yemens threshold program approved by the MCC Board today aims to decrease public sector corruption, increase capacity in the judicial sector, enhance election processes and participation, and enhance the investment climate through tax reform, domestic debt management, procurement reform and customs modernization. After two years, expected results will include more efficient commercial courts and customs procedures, more transparent procurement and government ethics procedures, recognition by Freedom House of free and fair elections and increased anti-corruption prosecutions brought to verdict.
The United States Agency for International Development will oversee implementation of the program on behalf of MCC. In coordination with USAID, the U.S. Department of Treasury will implement a portion of the program.

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Millennium Challenge Corporation is a U.S. government agency 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.