Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States of America

Release: MCC Names Sherri Kraham to Deputy Vice President Post

Washington, D.C. —The Millennium Challenge Corporation today announced the appointment of Sherri Kraham to the newly created position of Deputy Vice President for the Department of Policy and International Relations.  She will report to the Vice President for Policy and International Relations, Maureen Harrington, and will join MCC’s senior executive management team. 

As Deputy Vice President, Ms. Kraham will be responsible for managing the annual country selection process, executing the Threshold Program, and ensuring effective donor coordination.  She will also oversee the development of policies and strategies for strengthening MCC’s innovative approach to development assistance including conducting economic analysis and rigorous independent evaluations.  Most recently, Ms. Kraham was MCC’s Managing Director for Development Policy. 

Prior to joining MCC in 2004, Ms. Kraham worked at the U.S. Department of State for seven years.  In 2003, she served a year-long assignment in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority as part of the first civilian team dedicated to reconstruction efforts, as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Director of the Program Review Board.  Before serving in Iraq, she served as an advisor to an Under Secretary of State, where she oversaw various U.S. foreign assistance programs of approximately $5 billion annually, which focused on development, humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion, human rights, peacekeeping and security.  From 1998 — 2001, Ms. Kraham worked as the Iraq Desk Officer developing and implementing grant programs implementing U.S. policy towards Iraq.

Ms. Kraham received a law degree and an International Business and Trade certificate from George Mason University School of Law in 1999, and is a member of the Virginia Bar Association.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, where she focused her studies and research on religious and ethnic conflict in the Middle East. 

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The 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 about MCC, visit www.mcc.gov.

 

Release: MCC Managing Director Named as a 40-under-40 International Development Leader

Washington, D.C. — On September 29, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) annual conference, Millennium Challenge Corporation Managing Director for Cooperation and Policy Improvement Sherri Kraham was honored as one of Devex’s 40-under-40 International Development Leaders. Solicited from Devex’s global community, Ms. Kraham was selected based on her influence and impact on the development agenda.

Devex’s 40-under-40 International Development Leaders award is the first time the aid and development professionals community has published the list, which names the top 40 international development leaders in Washington, DC who are 40 years of age or younger. 

Ms. Kraham is the Managing Director for Development Cooperation and Policy Improvement at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).  She manages the group responsible for promoting policy reform in developing countries, including through MCC’s Threshold Program.  She also manages the Development Cooperation unit working to promote aid effectiveness through developing policies and strategies for strengthening MCC’s innovative approach to international development assistance and through partnerships with the development community.  Ms. Kraham previously served as Vice President (Acting) and Deputy Vice President for the policy department, and as Managing Director for the Development Policy division.

Prior to joining MCC in 2004, Ms. Kraham worked at the U.S. Department of State for seven years developing policies and approaches and overseeing the execution of a broad range of foreign assistance programs. In 2003, she served a year-long assignment in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority as part of the first civilian team dedicated to reconstruction efforts.  Before serving in Iraq, she served as an advisor to an Under Secretary of State, where she oversaw various U.S. foreign assistance programs of approximately $5 billion annually, which focused on development, humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion, human rights, peacekeeping and security.  From 1998 — 2001, Ms. Kraham worked as the Iraq Desk Officer, developing and implementing grant programs related to Iraq.

Ms. Kraham received a law degree, with a specialization in International Business and Trade from George Mason University School of Law in 1999, and is a member of the Virginia Bar Association.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, where she focused her studies and research on peace and conflict in the Middle East.  She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Society for International Development.  She lives with her husband and son in Washington, D.C.

Later this fall, the Center for Global Development will host a special breakfast discussion to hear from the 40-Under-40 Leaders views on major over-the-horizon development challenges and solutions. 

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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, please visit www.mcc.gov.

Release: James B. Greene Joins MCC as Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations

Washington, D.C. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Chief Executive Officer Daniel W. Yohannes announced that James B. Greene has joined MCC as a Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations (PIR).

I am pleased that Jim has agreed to take on this challenging role, and I look forward to working with him to effectively implement MCCs mission of reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth, said Mr. Yohannes. Jim brings a wealth of policy and political experience to his position on the management team at MCC.

As a Deputy Vice President for PIR, Mr. Greene will, together with Vice President for PIR, Sheila Herrling, and Deputy Vice President for PIR, Sherri Kraham, lead the PIR staff in managing MCCs annual selection process, ensuring effective donor relations, promoting private sector initiatives, coordinating technical economic analysis, developing and conducting independent evaluations of MCC programs, and overseeing MCCs threshold programs.

Prior to joining MCC, Mr. Greene worked as Senior Policy Advisor to former Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. for 17 years. As Senator Bidens advisor, Mr. Greene was responsible for international and domestic economic issues, including banking, budget, tax, trade and labor issues. On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Greene handled legislation on international financial institutions, bilateral investment treaties, tax treaties, development assistance, and international energy and environmental issues including climate change.

Mr. Greene has taught at both Texas A&M University and the University of Houston. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

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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, please visit www.mcc.gov.

Keep connected with MCC via Facebook and Twitter, through videos at YouTube and Vimeo or by podcast.

 

Speech: Remarks by MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes at the Public Outreach Meeting after the December 2009 Bo

Thank you, Aaron, for that introduction.

Let me also thank each of you for the warm welcome youve given me as I assume my duties as MCCs CEO.

I am deeply honored by the support that I have received from both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.

The President and the Secretary of State are committed to expanding opportunities for the worlds poor, and I am very proud to be here today to help guide MCC in fulfilling our role in that commitment.

And, Im grateful for the Senates swift confirmation of my nomination. Congress is an important partner for us, and I am looking forward to working with the many men and women on Capitol Hill who are dedicated to MCCs mission of reducing poverty.

I am also looking forward to getting to know, and working with, all of you.

This is my second week on the job and this is what I know for sure: MCC is expanding opportunities for the worlds poor through a system built on transparency, results, and new thinking in development.

MCC has a solid foundation that will serve us well as we look ahead and explore

  • more innovative ways to reduce global poverty,
  • new ways to work with the private sector, and
  • more creative ways to deliver results.

Yesterday our Board met, chaired by Secretary Clinton.

I appreciate the unique, public-private composition of the Board. I believe this allows for varied perspectives that can make MCC even more effective.

It was clear from the discussion that the Board remains steadfast in its call to partner countries to continue to fight corruption.

It was also clear that MCC wants to continue finding innovative ways to work as partners, not patrons. While the panel will go into more details regarding recent Board decisions, Id like to mention four key decisions.

First, Moldova: In late November before the quarterly meeting yesterday the Board approved Moldovas $262 million compact to reduce poverty by investing in roads and agriculture. We expect to sign the compact early in the New Year, pending successful completion of the congressional notification period. You’ll hear more about MCCs latest compact from Darius Teter when the panel convenes. Second, Mongolia: The Board approved two new projects in Mongolias compact. Rather than invest in the rail project, the Mongolians have proposed rehabilitating a critical road segment and focusing on energy and environment activities. The energy and environment project centers on issues critical for many Mongolians air quality and energy efficiency. The terrible air quality has consequences for Mongolias poor. This innovative project would fund the introduction of alternative energy and energy efficient products. As someone with experience in the renewable energy sector, I applaud the Mongolians for making clean energy a key component of their strategy for sustainable development. You’ll hear more about Mongolia from Frances Reid. Third, Niger: Because of MCCs commitment to sound policies as fundamental to country-led development, the Board made the tough decision to suspend Nigers threshold program. Niger has moved in a direction that is inconsistent with MCCs eligibility criteria. There will be an orderly wind-down of the threshold program. USAID has been implementing the program for us. So, we will be working with USAID on the wind-down. This suspension decision is made with deep disappointment. We would have liked to continue the program if circumstances permitted us to move ahead. Panelist Sherri Kraham will be able to talk more about MCCs decision related to Niger. And, fourth, country selection: At yesterdays meeting, the Board selected Cape Verde as eligible for a second compact.

This is the first time MCC has selected a country as eligible for a second compact. A second compact will allow for deeper investment in long-term poverty reduction and economic growth. Eligibility for a second compact is not automatic, and countries must meet a higher hurdle to achieve eligibility. For a second compact, the Board considers not only a countrys policy performance but also how effectively it implemented its first compact. Jordan, Malawi, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Zambia were selected again as compact eligible, and are continuing to work on their compact proposals. When the panel convenes, Sherri can also go into more details about this years selection process, but let me just say this. MCC remains committed to delivering development assistance to partner countries that are taking the tough steps to practice the sound policies necessary for sustainable growth. What continues to distinguish MCC from others in the development community is how seriously we take our core principles

  • sound policy performance,
  • country-led development,
  • transparency,
  • accountability,
  • fighting corruption, and
  • results.

These are vital to the sustainability of MCC-funded programs.

We want to continue sharing our experiences, best practices, and lessons learned in the implementation of these principles, especially as the development community as a whole takes a hard look at the future of foreign aid. And, within the U.S. Government, MCC is making key contributions to the analysis of development policy. We are contributing to the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review being conducted by the State Department; and we are participating on the interagency committee organized by the National Security Council to review the U.S. Governments development policy under the Presidential Study Directive. As I conclude, I want to thank you for following MCCs important work.

Id be happy to take a few questions before the panel convenes.

Event: Post-Board of Directors Meeting Public Outreach Event

On September 10, MCC hosted a public outreach event following the MCC Board of Director’s meeting on September 9.

Speakers

Aaron Sherinian
Acting Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs
Millennium Challenge Corporation
         
Darius Mans
Acting Chief Executive Officer,
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Ken Hackett
MCC Board of Directors

Darius Teter
Acting Vice President, Compact Development
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Sherri Kraham
Acting Vice President, Policy and International Relations
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Shiro Gnanaselvam
Senior Director, Monitoring and Evaluation
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Jonathan Brooks
Resident Country Director, Honduras
Millennium Challenge Corporation

Event: Post-Board of Directors Public Outreach Meeting

The Post-Board Meeting features remarks from MCC Acting Chief Executive Officer Rodney Bent. He will offer an update on the June 10 Board meeting, and discuss issues related to MCC’s FY 2010 budget request.

Following Mr. Bent’s remarks, a panel of MCC officials will provide further detail on the impact of Board decisions as they relate to MCC projects.

Panelists will include:

  • Sherri Kraham, Acting Vice President for Policy and International Relations
  • Darius Teter, Acting Vice President for Compact Development
  • Jonathan Bloom, Deputy Vice President, Compact Implementation
  • Frances Reid, Deputy Vice President, Compact Implementation

Event: Post-Board of Directors Meeting

Please join us for a public meeting following the first meeting of the MCC Board under the leadership of the recently confirmed public sector board members and new Secretary of State as Chair of the Board. Acting Chief Executive Officer Rodney Bent will offer an update and remarks on the March 11 Board meeting.

Following Mr. Bent’s remarks, a panel of MCC officials will provide further detail on the impact of Board decisions as they relate to MCC projects.  Panelists will include:

  • Darius Mans, Vice President for Compact Implementation
  • Sherri Kraham, Acting Vice President for Policy and International Relations

Speech: Remarks by MCC CEO Ambassador John Danilovich at the Public Outreach Meeting after the Dec.

Welcome

Thank you, Matt, and let me also welcome you all to the headquarters of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  The Millennium Challenge Corporation, nearly five years from its establishment, now stands today as an effective and smart tool in America’s toolbox for global engagement and for eradicating one of the most pressing challenges of our times: entrenched, systemic poverty that robs citizens and countries of a share in the opportunities of prosperity and growth.

With $6.7 billion committed to 35 countries around the world in compact and threshold programs, MCC is making a difference in this fight through country-determined and country-driven antipoverty programs, programs where:

  • More than 55,000 farmers have been trained and more than 5,400 hectares of additional land are under useful production.
  • More than 25,000 hectares of land have been registered through improvements in land titling and leases and the establishment of long-term land use rights for individuals.
  • More than 3,300 kilometers of roads are under design, and some roads are already built.

And, this is only the beginning—the tip of the iceberg. Through the ongoing implementation of our programs around the world, MCC is accelerating our impact against global poverty.

During this time of change, as power transitions from one administration to another, from one Congress to another, what endures is America’s sense of compassion and generosity to reach out and replace poverty with prosperity for the world’s poorest. We congratulate President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden on their election victory and we will continue to work closely with their transition team as we move into the next administration. We encourage the Obama administration and elected congressional representatives, from both parties, to continue their efforts in the fight to end global poverty. Especially given today’s global economic concerns, we recognize the importance of investing every dollar of taxpayer money wisely.

Poll results released yesterday through the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network confirm a clear majority—almost 60 percent—believe that foreign assistance and encouraging development in poor countries should become a more important tool for U.S. foreign policy. The poll also showed that 70 percent of engaged opinion elites favor “reforms to improve the effectiveness of foreign aid by shifting aid dollars from less effective programs to programs that help hungry and poor people in developing countries provide for their families.”   They make the case for modernizing foreign assistance by stressing

    • strategy,
    • efficiency, and
    • accountability.

These are our—MCC—core principles. MCC remains committed to making smart and innovative investments in countries that are focusing on positive policy performance and delivering results in the fight against poverty.

We are working closely with the Transition Coordinating Council to ensure that a smooth and effective transition takes place at MCC, and that we maintain the continuity of our programs with our partner countries worldwide.

I am proud of the tremendous work we’ve done here:

    • with some of the best and brightest minds in development,
    • with the sound input and advice of so many friends throughout the development community—from both sides of the aisle—many of you right here in this room today,
    • with the expert leadership of our Board of Directors, and
    • in partnership with countries committed to change.

Let me brief you on what we’ve accomplished since the last Board meeting and share with you what the Board decided when it met yesterday.

Progress to Date

It’s been a very busy fall for us, with substantial milestones in our fight against poverty.  Our Board approved a $100 million amendment to Georgia’s existing $295 million compact. This additional amount will complement existing activities.  The projects funded include:

    • the rehabilitation of roads linking Georgia with Armenia and Turkey,
    • water supply and waste water projects outside Tbilisi, and
    • priority energy sector studies.

MCC was also one of the agencies highlighted at the historic White House Summit for International Development in mid-October.  The summit showcased MCC’s innovations in development assistance.  Several participants—from President Sirleaf to President Bush to Secretary of State Rice—spoke of MCC’s achievements.  Perhaps, Ritu Sharma Fox of Women Thrive Worldwide captured the sense about MCC best when she said: “Given this new economic reality…it is absolutely essential that U.S. assistance is strategic, effective, and transparent. I think that the MCC represents the future of U.S. assistance and not the past…”

We, of course, agree with Ritu about this!

We also collaborated with Habitat for Humanity to hold an important event here after the elections to discuss “the housing crisis that no one is talking about.” Our partners consistently identify secure and efficient access to land as critical for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.   MCC has invested almost $300 million to strengthen the real property rights systems in partner countries worldwide.

I also traveled to Ghana to see implementation progress underway there.  I joined President Kufuor to break ground on a major road project.  Funded through the Ghana-MCC compact, the rehabilitation of this critical transportation route will contribute to reducing poverty by transforming agriculture.  Having pineapples sit on the back of a lorry for three hours on their way to markets wastes time and fuel and shortens the fruit’s shelf-life.

This is why the rehabilitation of this roadway is a linchpin project for achieving the compact’s objective to transform Ghana’s agriculture sector and use it to help fuel sustainable economic growth.  Seeing this road come to life, visiting with mango farmers benefitting from MCC assistance, and touring elementary schools rehabilitated through MCC funds during my brief visit to Ghana gave me firsthand perspective on how this country is using its MCC grant effectively and efficiently to deliver results that matter for the poor.

When the panel convenes, our Vice President for Compact Implementation Darius Mans will talk more about implementation progress in our compact partner countries.  We will also hear from our Vice President for Compact Development John Hewko on what potential compacts are in development.

Here at home, we’ve also seen very positive developments in Congress this fall to make MCC’s mission even more effective with the introduction of language by Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey for regional, longer, and concurrent compacts.

We hope this bill will gain increased traction when the next Congress begins its important work come January.

And, in our ongoing effort to leverage our investments by cooperating with others who share our development goals, MCC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in early October.  This MOU will increase coordination in countries where both MCC and the Danes are working, such as

    • Benin,
    • Burkina Faso,
    • Ghana,
    • Mali,
    • Mozambique, and
    • Tanzania.

The MOU envisions cooperation in several priority areas including:

    • climate change,
    • gender,
    • impact evaluation,
    • policy environments, and
    • the private sector.

Similarly, in mid-November,  MCC signed a MOU with the French Development Agency.  This MOU identifies practical areas for cooperation in countries where both the United States and France are engaging in poverty reduction programs, countries including

    • Burkina Faso,
    • Benin,
    • Morocco,
    • Mali,
    • Madagascar, and
    • Senegal.

The memorandum provides a solid framework to deepen in-country cooperation between our two agencies in sectors such as microfinance, land tenure, legal and judicial reform, transportation infrastructure, and agriculture.

And, just last week I joined my good friend and a champion for the poor Josette Sheeran to sign a memorandum of understanding between the World Food Program she heads and MCC.  This MOU creates a framework for coordinating our investments to significantly leverage our mutual impact on global economic growth, poverty reduction, and improved food security.  The MoU outlines three areas of cooperation in countries where both the WFP and MCC work: agricultural production, policy and program reforms, and gender integration.  These are all important components for strengthening local markets and achieving food security.

Outcome of Board Meeting

Yesterday our Board met to make selection decisions for FY09. This, as you all know, is the last MCC country selection Board meeting that I will participate in, along with the current

    • Secretary of State,
    • Treasury Secretary,
    • USAID Administrator, and
    • United States Trade Representative.

I also want to especially acknowledge the important role played by our four private sector Board members—

    • Lorne Craner,
    • Bill Frist,
    • Ken Hackett, and
    • Alan Patricof.

These private sector Board members offer extremely valuable expertise to inform our decision-making process and their involvement ensures strong continuity and institutional memory that will serve MCC very well moving forward.

The Board voted, and I am pleased to announce that Colombia, Indonesia, and Zambia are now eligible to submit a compact proposal, and Liberia is now eligible for our threshold program. Also, the Board reselected Paraguay as threshold eligible.

As I wrote in my blog in late October, Paraguay continues to take tangible steps toward rooting out corruption through its initial threshold program.  In recognition of these concrete efforts, MCC invited Paraguay to submit a second, “Stage II,” threshold program, which is currently under review.

When our panel convenes, Sherri Kraham, our Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations, will go into more detail on why specific countries were selected and discuss other country selection decisions, but I wish to highlight three key points about MCC’s selection process.

First, sound policies matter. Our selection process has always begun and will always begin with policy performance—on how countries perform on the 17 indicators we use to assess if they are

    • ruling justly,
    • investing in health and education,
    • fighting corruption, and
      promoting economic freedoms.

Regardless of the outcome—regardless of which countries are selected—we should not overlook that our Board takes policy performance very seriously in selecting suitable partners.

Second, polices matter in context. I’d remind you that our Board, in keeping with MCC’s legislation, looks at indicator performance as the primary factor in the selection process.  But, the Board also looks at the opportunity to reduce poverty and generate economic growth within a country.  In addition, we have to see how much funds are available.  To gauge opportunities to impact growth and poverty reduction, our Board considers a number of factors, such as

    • development and political context,
    • size and economic context, as well as
    • political will.

We take a holistic approach, rooted in sound policy performance.

And, third, there needs to be a constant commitment to improving policies.  Once a country is selected, we expect it to continue its reform process and work to maintain and improve its overall policy performance on the indicators. We expect that, should a country not meet the criteria in a given year, it will work toward improving by developing and implementing a policy improvement plan to address outstanding concerns and demonstrate its firm commitment to meeting the eligibility criteria.

Again, Sherri will go into more details about MCC’s selection process when the panel convenes.

Also, the Board discussed developments in Nicaragua.  The political conditions leading up to, during, and following the November 9th elections in Nicaragua are inconsistent with MCC’s eligibility requirements for assistance. They are also inconsistent with MCC’s core principles based on aid with accountability and good governance. As a result, our Board made the difficult decision yesterday to suspend assistance for new activities under Nicaragua’s $175 million MCC compact. MCC will not approve disbursements for activities not already contracted by MCA-Nicaragua, the entity that implements the program.

The Board called on Nicaragua to develop and implement a comprehensive set of measures to address concerns regarding the government’s commitment to democratic principles. And, the Board will determine subsequent actions at its next meeting in March 2009, based on the government’s response.

Through the MCC compact, hundreds of thousands of poor Nicaraguans stand to benefit because of

    • better roads,
    • property titles, and
    • agricultural business support.

The poor of the country recognize these benefits, and they deserve nothing less than the realization of the full potential of their country’s MCC compact. It is our sincere hope that the Nicaraguan government recommits to the principles of democracy and the rule of law so that MCC can reestablish what has been an effective partnership.

Conclusion

With this overview, I’ll stop here.Our panel will provide greater detail on our latest selection process as well as compacts in implementation and development. As this is my last public outreach meeting following a Board meeting, I want to express what an enormous pleasure it has been to contribute to MCC’s innovative, visionary work to transform development assistance and make a difference in the lives of the poor.

It is noble work that would not have been possible without

    • the commitment of our partner countries,
    • the support of our friends in Congress,
    • the invaluable insights of the NGO community—many of you here today—and, of course,
    • the tireless efforts of my colleagues and staff here at MCC.

Together, we’ve made incredible strides in the fight against global poverty.  As I return to the private sector after the inauguration, I will forever remain a friend, an advocate, a champion of MCC and of its important mission to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth.I have seen the difference MCC is making in the lives of countries and in the lives of the world’s poor, and we must continue to build on these successes to date.

Toward this, please indulge me for a moment and allow me to take this opportunity to say a few words about Rodney Bent. The skilled management of our very capable Deputy CEO has proven extremely valuable during this transition period and will continue to be of great benefit to MCC following my departure.  I have worked very closely with Rodney since joining MCC in November of 2005. His knowledgeable counsel and sage advice have served me and this organization greatly. And, I know his expertise will continue to be a guiding light of efficiency and effectiveness in briefing and welcoming the new leadership to MCC to further MCC’s work of lifting the poor worldwide out of poverty. Thank you, Rodney, for your service.

MCC’s best days are ahead, and I’ll be watching and following developments with great excitement as this organization sets a new standard for winning the fight against global poverty.

With that, I’d be happy to answer a few questions now before I turn the program back to Rodney so that we can hear from our panel. Any questions? Thank you again for your ongoing interest in the mission of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Rodney…

 

Event: Post-Board of Directors Meeting

Please join us for a Post-Board public update and remarks from Ambassador John J. Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer of MCC. Ambassador Danilovich will announce Board decisions regarding country selection.

Following the Ambassador’s remarks, a panel of MCC officials will provide further detail on FY 2009 selection and updates on country programs.  Panelists will include Vice President for Compact Implementation Darius Mans, Vice President for Compact Development John Hewko, and Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations Sherri Kraham.

Release: $15.7 Million MCC Threshold Program with Albania Signed

Tirana,  Albania At a ceremony today   in Tirana, Albanian Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode and Millennium Challenge   Corporation (MCC) Deputy Vice President for Policy and International Relations   Sherri Kraham officiated at a ceremony celebrating the signing of   Albanias second MCC threshold   program worth over $15.7 million. This second, or Stage II, program builds upon   the significant successes of MCCs first threshold program with   Albania and looks to institutionalize key reforms in public administration   and judicial capacity building and to support anticorruption activities.  Albanias Prime Minister Sali   Berisha, United States Ambassador to Albania John Withers and United States   Agency for International Development Mission Director Roberta Mahoney also   participated in the ceremony.

It   is a great pleasure to celebrate progress underway here in Albania, as we mark   the successes of Albanias first threshold program and the start of its   second, stated Ms. Kraham. MCC is proud to   sign its first Stage II program with the government of Albania and   looks forward to   creating a strong foundation for fighting poverty and stimulating economic   growth, Ms. Kraham added.

MCCs   threshold programs are designed to assist countries that are on the threshold   of eligibility for the larger, longer-term 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   independent 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 based upon   reports by a wide range 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.

MCCs   threshold program assistance signed to date totals$440 million in 19 countries:  Albania, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic,  Malawi, Moldova, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, So Tom and   Prncipe, 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.