Press Release

MCC and Oxfam America Highlight the Importance of Accountability, Country-led

Expert panel ties effective economic development aid to country ownership

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2009

Washington Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Acting Chief Executive Officer Rodney Bent and Oxfam America Senior Vice President John Ambler hosted a public forum today on the principle of country ownership. The forum, held at the National Press Club, examined the impact of country ownership on foreign assistance and economic development, highlighting the critical role of country ownership in aid effectiveness.

Country ownership is already positively affecting the delivery of economic development aid and providing powerful lessons for defining its role in foreign assistance said Acting MCC CEO Rodney Bent. Country-led development encourages accountability, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship, and ensures that foreign assistance dollars are used wisely and achieve the maximum results Mr. Bent added.

Country ownership, or country-led development, is recognized by the international donor community as a vital element of long-term sustainable economic development. Todays conversation set out a framework for a better understanding of what ownership means within the international donor community and focused on the practical steps a development agency can take to embrace it. Because country ownership is a founding principle, MCC focuses on ways to ensure that its partner countries facilitate the prioritization process during program development, are responsible for implementation, and are accountable to their domestic stakeholders for both decision making and results.

US development funding should be used to empower poor communities and their leaders to find their own solutions to poverty.The US, as the one of the largest aid donors in the world, has an incredible opportunity to give aid recipients control over their futures, said John Ambler, Senior Vice President for Programs at Oxfam America.Decades of hands-on development work have shown that this change in orientation will have a lasting impact on reducing poverty from the ground up.