Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States of America

Building upon a strong partnership with Morocco

This week, I participated in the Third Annual U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue hosted by the State Department and led by Secretary Kerry and Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar. I welcomed the opportunity to discuss the next phase of MCC’s important partnership with the Government of Morocco.

The first phase was the successful conclusion of the first compact in September 2013. The next phase began in December 2012, when MCC’s Board made Morocco eligible to develop a subsequent compact.

Our CEO, Dana Hyde, was able to visit Morocco last fall to discuss development of the next compact. She was impressed by the strong commitment of the Government of Morocco, the private sector and civil society to what has been described as the “MCC model.” In fact, the government has taken the results-based management tools developed under the first compact and replicated them in new parts of the government.

The memorandum of understanding between MCC and Morocco aims to share the benefits of the experience and lessons learned through Morocco’s first compact with Morocco’s neighbors and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is the kind of systemic impact which sustains and expands the impact of the compact dollars beyond the compact projects themselves. That is good for Morocco and it is also good value for the American taxpayer.

Together, we have already completed the critical foundation for compact development: the analysis assessing binding constraints on economic growth, conducted by the Government of Morocco, the African Development Bank and MCC staff, with strong participation and feedback from the private sector.

One area which we are exploring based on this analysis is vocational and secondary education—the analysis shows an urgent need for effective training to help Moroccan youth qualify for and get good jobs. We see strong scope for innovation in tackling this critical challenge.

It will be important that we measure success in the right way. This means moving beyond numbers of teachers trained, curricula developed, or students completing programs to what really matters: the number of trained students who get high-quality jobs or go on to the next level of education.

And we want to crowdsource the best, innovative ideas. We are excited about the high level of interest and dialogue between the public and private sector surrounding our pending “Call for Ideas” for technical/vocational education partnerships.

We also took a new step forward in our collaboration by signing a memorandum of understanding. This MOU aims to share the benefits of the experience and lessons learned through Morocco’s first compact with Morocco’s neighbors and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Many are confronting similar development challenges.

The shared learning can help them better allocate resources, implement projects more effectively and avoid missteps. For us, this is an important pilot to support South-South learning and collaboration. As many have observed, peer learning can be among the most powerful ways to transfer knowledge, ideas, and experience. It is also aligned with MCC’s strategic interest in pursuing regional approaches that increase the economic benefits of our aid.