Washington, D.C.—The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors met yesterday to review the progress of its global partnerships to reduce poverty through economic growth.
At the meeting, the MCC Board approved a $275.1 million compact grant to address Jordan’s severe water shortages, which are a critical constraint to economic growth in the country. With limited access to surface water or naturally recharged aquifers, Jordan ranks among the five most water-poor countries in the world. The compact will increase the supply of available water by improving the efficiency of water delivery, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment. This compact is expected to leverage private sector funding.
“Congratulations to the people and government of Jordan on the approval of the compact,” said MCC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yohannes. “Safe and reliable water systems are vital components for sustainable development. The Jordanians have demonstrated their commitment to improving the quality of their lives through this innovative program.”
The MCC Board also reviewed the expected results from the first two MCC compacts coming to a close, one with Honduras, which will end this week, and one with Cape Verde, which will end in October. In addition to important outputs like thousands of farmers trained, hundreds of kilometers of roads built, and policy reforms implemented, farmers in Honduras have already begun to see meaningful increases in income.
“MCC is very proud of its partnerships with Honduras and Cape Verde,” said MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes. “These closeouts are a milestone, not just for MCC, but for our partner countries as they continue to achieve results and move forward with their development. We are seeing evidence that American development assistance dollars are making a difference in the lives of millions of poor people around the world.”
In Honduras, more than 7,000 farmers have been trained under the Farmer Training and Development Activity, and more than 6,000 of these farmers generate more than $2,000 per hectare compared to their average of roughly $1,100 per hectare before the program, according to preliminary data. The rehabilitation of over 100 kilometers of highway and almost 500 kilometers of rural roads are helping farm goods make it to market with less damage and spoilage while also improving community access to social services.
In Cape Verde, over 40 kilometers of roads have been upgraded from cobblestone to asphalt pavement, connecting villages with larger population centers and market places. Bridges have been built and are providing access to key social services, such as hospitals, to the people on the island of Santo Antao. The number of days bridges are impassable due to inclement conditions have been reduced to zero. The Port of Praia, Cape Verde’s largest port, has been upgraded allowing for more exports, imports and economic opportunities.
As part of MCC’s commitment to measuring results accurately, upcoming impact evaluations will assess the full extent of the impacts that can be attributed to MCC’s investments, including actual increases in household income.
At the meeting, the Board also adopted the selection criteria and methodology for fiscal year 2011 country selection
Finally, the Board discussed a new direction for MCC’s Threshold Program. The Threshold Program will continue assisting countries to become compact eligible by supporting policy and institutional reforms. However, the program will no longer aim to boost a country’s indicator scores within a two to three year period, but rather focus on the broader policies, captured by the MCC indicators, that are constraining a country’s ability to reduce poverty through economic growth. USAID will remain the primary administrator of MCC threshold programs.