Monrovia, Liberia — Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs Amara Konneh, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Pamela White, and a delegation of members of the U.S. Congress participated today in a ceremony celebrating the signing of an approximately $15 million MCC Threshold Program grant to Liberia. The three-year grant will invest in improving the policy environment in the areas of land rights and access, girls’ primary education, and trade policy. The MCC Board of Directors first selected Liberia as eligible for MCC’s Threshold Program in December 2008.
“Liberia is a model of progress, and MCC applauds President Sirleaf’s steadfast vision for reform,” said MCC Senior Advisor Cassandra Butts. “The Threshold Program agreement signed today embodies partnership at its best—a partnership between the people of Liberia, MCC, and USAID, with strong support from the U.S. Congress. The focus now must be on the program’s timely implementation and delivery of results to create long-term growth in Liberia.”
The MCC Threshold Program in Liberia will invest in three areas: land rights and access, girls’ primary education, and trade policy. Liberians themselves identified these areas as part of their national development strategy. The program will:
- Promote equitable access to land and increased land security through improved land administration and registration capacity;
- Improve girls’ primary education enrollment and retention through a scholarship program for girls, grants to communities to improve the school environment, and 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.
USAID 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, including monitoring and evaluating for results.
Quotes from dignitaries in attendance:
“This is yet another indication of the strong ties between the United States Government and the Government of Liberia. This historic agreement highlights MCC’s support of Liberia’s quest to tackle tough issues like land ownership, girls’ education and trade policies. This will be the first large U.S. Government intervention in the land sector. We are anxious to get started since we know that without resolving land ownership issues, thousand of Liberians cannot feel safe planting or investing on land that is under dispute, and this is one of the major issues affecting Liberians today.” – USAID Mission Director Pamela White
“I look forward to seeing this threshold agreement bear fruit for the people of Liberia that forms part of the beautiful abundance that will be Liberia’s future. Let me also congratulate the MCC for staying true to its stated objectives of partnering with nations around the world to meet the challenges of today.” – Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chairman of the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee, House Foreign Affairs Committee
Members of the U.S. congressional delegation visiting Liberia, as part of a five-country visit in Africa, included: Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), , Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI).
Since its creation, MCC has signed 22 Threshold Programs in 20 countries, including Liberia, totaling approximately $484 million.
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.