Washington, D.C. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Deputy CEO Rodney Bent, Rwandan Minister of Finance James Musoni and Acting Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) James Kunder officiated at a ceremony on Capitol Hill celebrating the signing of a $24.7 million MCC threshold program with the government of Rwanda. The program, which focuses on improving political rights, civil liberties, civic participation and government accountability in the country, is designed to complement and reinforce Rwandas own reform efforts and to improve Rwandas performance on MCCs eligibility indicators. U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Stuart Symington, former U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Michael Arietti, Rwandan Ambassador James Kimonyo, Goodworks International Chairman Andrew Young and former Congressman and German Marshall Fund Senior Transatlantic Fellow Jim Kolbe also participated during the ceremony.
MCC congratulates the government and people of Rwanda for developing a threshold program devoted to supporting a more effective and transparent government and an active civil society, said MCC Deputy CEO Rodney Bent. Fostering an environment that supports citizens rights and liberties is a critical factor in sustainable development. Reinforcing community development and activity not only strengthens the voice of citizens but contributes to sustainable social and economic development. MCC looks forward to partnering with Rwanda in implementing this threshold program, Mr. Bent added.
The three-year MCC program supports the Rwandan governments efforts to strengthen civic participation, promote civil liberties and rights and improve the judicial system. The program, which will be implemented by USAID, will provide training, technical support and grants to local and national civil society organizations and expand citizen engagement by supporting independent community radio stations. In addition, the program will reinforce Rwandas efforts to improve the capacity of the judiciary and help enact legislative reforms that will strengthen civil liberties, human rights and civic participation. Finally, the program will boost training and technical assistance to journalists and the Rwandan National Police in an effort to further transparency and professionalism.
MCCs threshold programs are designed to assist countries that are on the threshold of eligibility for Millennium Challenge Account compact assistance. Threshold program funding is used to help countries address the specific policy areas for improvement indicated by their scores on 17 independent 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 compact eligibility and are products of respected international institutions and national data. Each indicator was selected based on its relationship to growth and poverty reduction, the number of countries it covers, its transparency and availability, its analytical rigor, and its objectivity.
MCCs threshold program assistance signed to date totals nearly $440 million in nineteen countries: Albania, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Moldova, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, So Tom and Prncipe, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine and Zambia.
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.