Washington, D.C. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Acting Chief Executive Officer Rodney Bent testified today before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations on the Administrations FY 2010 budget request of $1.425 billion for MCCs work to reduce global poverty.
MCC uses internationally-recognized best practices to deliver development assistance to some of the poorest countries in the world through smart, effective, and results-driven solutions, said Mr. Bent in his testimony before the committee. The resources provided to MCC by Congress and the American taxpayers are used to fight global poverty through sustainable development and include programs that also stimulate the world economy. MCC works with partner countries to promote democracy, good governance, and economic growth at a time when they need it most.
The Administrations FY 2010 budget request reaffirms President Obamas commitment to global poverty reduction as one of Americas over-arching foreign policy goals and represents a substantial increase 63 percent over MCCs FY 2009 enacted level.
Mr. Bent added, The Administrations budget request for FY 2010 will be targeted to invest in five-year country partnerships to provide reliable water and sanitation for Jordan, power and roads to fuel growth in Malawi, and to help the Philippines improve its infrastructure - roads, energy, and markets -for the rural poor.
In addition, MCC plans to sign five-year compacts, or large-scale grant agreements, with Moldova and Senegal using FY 2009 funds, and has initiated active discussions with Zambia, Indonesia, and Colombia to begin developing compacts for FY 2011. MCC has budgeted up to $40 million for threshold program assistance in FY 2010 for countries that will be selected by MCCs Board of Directors in December 2009. Also, depending on the availability of FY 2009 funds, MCC is negotiating the possibility of threshold program assistance with Liberia and Timor-Leste.
In his testimony, Mr. Bent said, Without funding at the Presidents requested level, the U.S. cannot fully take advantage of MCCs well documented incentive effect that encourages countries to make policy reforms or provide compacts large enough to achieve real transformational development.
At the briefing, Mr. Bent also emphasized MCCs focus on selecting country partners with good policy performance who share goals with respect to ruling justly, investing in people, and promoting economic freedom, as well as MCCs insistence on fostering transparency. MCC calculates and makes public its cost-benefit analyses and the economic rates of return for each compact project. MCCs ongoing efforts to fight corruption, contribute to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, bolster food security, promote aid effectiveness and country ownership, improve donor coordination, and engage the private sector were also discussed at the briefing.
To date, MCC has signed compacts worth $6.4 billion with 18 countries to reduce poverty, as well as threshold program assistance in 19 countries, totaling nearly $470 million. Countries are using Millennium Challenge Compacts to train farmers, register property rights, build roads and bridges to better access markets, immunize children, open schools, irrigate land, and install water and sanitation systems. MCC Threshold Program assistance has supported activities to help control corruption, strengthen rule of law, improve girls primary education completion rates, and increase immunization rates.
Full text of the testimony as submitted for the record is available at: http://www.mcc.gov/documents/testimony-052009-hacfo.pdf
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Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States Government agency designed to fight poverty in developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth. For more information about MCC, visit www.mcc.gov.