The Long-Term Goal of Deepening Democracy

One of MCC’s core principles is that aid is most effective in countries with a sound commitment to accountable and democratic governance. This is put into practice through:

  • MCC’s approach to selecting countries,
  • the compact development and implementation process and
  • the ongoing success of individual partner countries.

Selecting Partner Countries with a Democratic Commitment

To identify the best performing countries, MCC uses a transparent selection process that assesses policy performance in a number of areas, including democratic governance, as summarized on MCC’s scorecards. MCC has three indicators of democratic practice—Political Rights, Civil Liberties and Freedom of Information—all developed by independent, third-party institutions. In addition, MCC also measures Rule of Law, Government Effectiveness and Control of Corruption to assess whether countries are ruling justly. Good performance in these areas of governance is critical to determining if a country will receive MCC assistance.

In September 2012, MCC adopted a “democratic rights” hurdle for its selection system. MCC now requires that countries pass at least the Political Rights or the Civil Liberties indicator to qualify for a compact. MCC’s decision to make democratic rights a hard hurdle reflects the weight MCC places on political rights and civil liberties and sends a clear message about the importance of democracy in good governance.

Throughout the life of an MCC partnership, countries are expected to remain committed to democratic rights, as well as to the other policy areas captured on the MCC scorecard. If a country demonstrates a significant policy reversal, MCC may issue a warning, suspend or terminate eligibility and/or assistance.

For more information, see:

Deepening Democracy through Compact Development and Implementation

The attention on good democratic governance does not end with selection. MCC published a working paper on the link between economic development and democracy in November of 2007. The paper describes how MCC’s approach to reducing poverty—creating incentives for reform and respecting existing domestic actors and processes—contributes to the long-term deepening of already existing democratic institutions.

MCC’s compacts are designed to reduce poverty through economic growth, but they also contribute to strengthening democratic institutions and processes in three important ways:

  • Partner countries must maintain a meaningful, public consultative process throughout the development of the compact and its implementation.
  • Compact programs must adhere to domestic legal or constitutional requirements, such as ratifying the compact or notifying the legislature as appropriate, and funds received through the compact must be reflected in the national budget.
  • Compact implementation must be transparent.

For more information, see:

Ongoing Success toward Democracy

Many MCC partner countries have undergone successful elections, transfers of power or expansion of political or civil rights during the course of their partnership with MCC.

For examples, see: