Last week’s MCC Board meeting added a new country to the list of countries eligible for MCC compact fundingthe Philippines. This decision was actually the culmination of a discussion that began during our December meeting, when the Board asked for a deeper analysis of the data before making a final determination. The Board decided that, based on the Philippines’ continued performance on MCC’s indicators, it could now apply for funding for a large-scale poverty-reduction grant. The initial reaction to this announcementfrom civil society and government partnersconfirms that there is a great deal of interest and commitment from various sectors in helping the Philippines maintain its eligibility on the indicators we compile from independent, transparent, non-U.S. Government sources. A number of good ideas on this frontand some important concernswere raised during our public outreach meeting following the Board meeting. It underscored for me that the best way to ensure that the Philippines’ policy-reform agenda continues is to keep it in the public eye. MCC compact eligibility certainly spotlights these efforts. Impediments to economic growth are issues that MCC takes seriously with all our partner countries, particularly corruption which receives special consideration as part of our model. The ball is now in the Philippines’ court to develop a proposal that involves broad consultation with its people and to continue tackling those problems that stand in the way of long-term economic growth.
People from diverse sectors of society continue to talk about MCCs different model as conversations about foreign assistance increase, in communities both inside and outside the beltway. It is clear from these conversations that poverty reduction abroad is not just a ““Washington issue.”” It affects all Americans and was clearly on the minds of the business leaders who I met with at a recent event in Indianapolis organized by the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). An increasing number of companies, large and small, have asked MCC to explain how they can get involved to maximize the positive impact of MCC investments for the people of our partner countries. We view involvement from the private sector as key to our success.
MCC has a great deal to learn from companies who are operating internationally, and we continue to invite development experts, the NGO community, and the private sector to share best practices and discuss concerns with us. While grants from the U.S. Government can help address areas of critical need, they simply cannot provide the full range of technology and long-term market-driven investments that the private sector can. MCC offers the helpful push to spark the interest of the private sector that millions of peopleliving on less than $2 a daydesperately need. The responsible, long-term cooperation of the private sector is what will help these people through the ““finish line”” to experience an end to systemic poverty. (Read a recent Washington Post article that touches on these themes.)
With compacts in 16 countries and threshold programs in 17 countries, MCC’s work covers a broad spectrum of technical and policy areas. We are working to improve the way we communicate the nature of our work and have made recent changes to our quarterly status reports, including a new project timeline and other features. Our hope is that this report can offer a more detailed ““snapshot”” of where we are in our work with partner countries. We are also proud of our groundbreaking use of economic rates of return in our analysis. Weve put this data on the web with interactive features for you to explore. We welcome your feedback, and I invite you to e-mail us at email@example.com with your ideas for how we can improve the way we communicate with you as we work together to reduce poverty through economic growth .