Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States of America

Setting the Record Straight

Earlier this week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry held a hearing on The Case for Reform: Foreign Aid and Development in a New Era and, along with Ranking Member Richard Lugar, offered thoughtful perspectives and heard from leading development experts on this important subject. Former USAID Administrator Peter McPherson and Bread for the World President David Beckmann had some particularly astute comments about MCC and foreign aid reform. Not everyone on the panel, however, was up-to-date on the work MCC is doing to fight global poverty through economic growth. I think its worth noting that some misperceptions about MCCs model and mechanics may be steeped in old talking points and could benefit from new research and updated information.

For example, the compacts for funding we sign with partner countries are not useless, legalistic documents of 500 pages as some suspect, but rather streamlined blueprints that average 80 pages of concrete action to achieve country-prioritized development goals. These action plansreflecting the priorities of the poorare built within partner countries, not imposed from outside by those who think they know better. We know that the best results are those that come from homegrown priorities and partnerships that are linked to tangible outcomes.

For some sense of where MCC is now, we invite people to look at what The Los Angeles Times and others have called smart aid. Consider also reading the recent Brookings Institution or Oxfam America studies about MCC. Both of these assess and evaluate MCCs results so far, and offer constructive ideas on how the conversation about poverty reduction is evolving.