Washington, D.C.—The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors, chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, today approved an approximately $15 million threshold program grant for Liberia to support the country’s ongoing efforts at reform. The grant, which is subject to a 15-day congressional notification period, will focus on land rights, girls’ education and trade policy. During Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s visit to Washington, D.C., MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes joined Senator Jack Reed, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., and additional Members of Congress at a reception on Capitol Hill honoring President Johnson Sirleaf for her efforts to set a high standard for good governance, accountability, and sustainable development.
“When President Johnson Sirleaf visited the United States in 2008 she said Liberia was striving to meet MCC benchmarks in hopes of joining the MCC family. I am pleased to announce that MCC plans to partner with Liberia to help deliver stability and create the conditions for long-term economic growth,” said Mr. Yohannes. “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues in Congress and moving toward an official ceremony to sign the grant.”
Subject to congressional notification and consultation, the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. government agency administering the program will sign an approximately $15 million, three-year MCC threshold program agreement with the Government of Liberia, investing in three areas: land rights and access, girls’ education, and trade policy. These areas were identified by Liberians themselves as part of their national development strategy. The program will:
· Help promote equitable access to land and increased land security through increased understanding of property rights issues and improved land administration and land registration capacity;
· Improve girls’ primary education enrollment and retention through a scholarship program for girls, grants to communities to improve the school environment, and grants supporting mentoring programs and awareness campaigns; and;
· Support efforts to improve trade policy and practices, specifically in harmonizing tariffs, engaging regional and global bodies, and strengthening the regulatory environment.
“With vital support from Congress for MCC’s budget and critical legislative fixes, we will continue to have the ability to partner with reform-minded countries committed to wisely investing American taxpayer resources in sustainable development that benefits us all in our interconnected global marketplace,” said Mr. Yohannes.
MCC’s threshold program is designed to assist countries that are on the “threshold” of eligibility for MCC compact assistance. Threshold program assistance is used to help countries address the specific policy areas for improvement indicated by their scores on 17 policy indicators in three categories —Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom. These policy indicators are central to the criteria and methodology for determining compact eligibility and are products of respected international institutions and national data. Each indicator is selected based on its utility in removing impediments to growth and poverty reduction, the number of countries it covers, its transparency and availability, and its analytical rigor.
The United States Agency for International Development will administer the Liberia threshold program and will be responsible for coordination, contracting, and financial management. MCC will maintain oversight of Liberia’s threshold program.
For additional information about MCC’s grant program with Liberia click here.
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Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. Government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth. For more information, please visit www.mcc.gov.