The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting today and discussed recent developments in Niger. On August 24, MCC announced a pause on all preparatory work on the Niger Regional Transport Compact, and all new activity on the 2018 Compact due to the military’s actions against the democratically elected government. These actions and recent events in Niger are contrary to MCC’s statutorily mandated eligibility criteria and the agency’s commitment to democratic governance and upholding the rule of law. All MCC partner countries are expected to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to these principles to remain eligible for MCC investments. Acknowledging the continued state of affairs in Niger, the Board approved the suspension of all MCC assistance to Niger during today’s meeting. While MCC winds-down compact activities under the 2018 Compact, which was scheduled to close in January 2024, MCC would welcome the opportunity to restart the Niger Regional Transport Compact should there be a timely return to constitutional order and democratic governance.
The Board also unanimously voted to approve the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Selection Criteria and Methodology Report, including revisions to the education indicators on the agency’s country scorecards. Starting in FY 2024, MCC will raise the standard for girls’ education among countries in the agency’s higher income scorecard category by replacing the indicator on girls’ lower secondary education enrollment rates with one measuring girls’ lower secondary education completion rates. This change will provide additional incentive for these countries to support girls not just enrolling but staying in school and finishing their lower secondary education. MCC is also replacing the primary education expenditures indicator for both scorecard income-categories with an indicator that instead measures total education expenditures, in recognition of the importance of higher levels of education for the teacher pipeline and the quality of primary education.
Additionally, the Board received an update on the agency’s portfolio, including the recent elections in Sierra Leone. Due to concerns with the June election, MCC has diverted from its original timeline for considering approval of a compact. In the spirit of longstanding partnership, MCC continues to engage with the Government of Sierra Leone.
The September meeting marked the end of Congressman Ander Crenshaw’s term as a private sector member of the MCC Board of Directors. Crenshaw, a United Nations Foundation fellow and Senior Counsel for King and Spalding law firm, served in the U.S. Congress from 2001-2017. Congressmen Crenshaw was instrumental in MCC’s founding and has provided tremendous support over the years. His dedicated service to the agency will be sorely missed.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. government development agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, MCC provides time-limited grants that pair investments in infrastructure with policy and institutional reforms to countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, fighting corruption and respecting democratic rights.