Candidate Country Report

Report on the Criteria and Methodology for Determining the Eligibility of Candidate Countries for Millennium Challenge Account Assistance for Fiscal Year 2020

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Summary

This report to Congress is provided in accordance with section 608(a) of the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003, as amended, 22 U.S.C. §§7701, 7707(a) (the Act).

The Act authorizes the provision of assistance for global development through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for countries that enter into a Millennium Challenge Compact with the United States to support policies and programs that advance the progress of such countries to achieve lasting economic growth and poverty reduction. The Act requires MCC to take a number of steps in selecting countries with which MCC will seek to enter into a compact, including determining the countries that will be eligible countries for fiscal year (FY) 2020 based on (a) a country’s demonstrated commitment to (i) just and democratic governance, (ii) economic freedom, and (iii) investments in its people; and (b) the opportunity to reduce poverty and generate economic growth in the country, and (c) the availability of funds to MCC. These steps include the submission to the congressional committees specified in the Act and publication in the Federal Register of reports on the following:

  • The countries that are “candidate countries” for FY 2020 based on their per capita income levels and their eligibility to receive assistance under U.S. law and countries that would be candidate countries but for specified legal prohibitions on assistance (section 608(a) of the Act);
  • The criteria and methodology that the MCC Board of Directors (Board) will use to measure and evaluate the relative policy performance of the “candidate countries” consistent with the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) of section 607 of the Act in order to determine “eligible countries” from among the “candidate countries” (section 608(b) of the Act); and
  • The list of countries determined by the Board to be “eligible countries” for FY 2020, identification of such countries with which the Board will seek to enter into compacts, and a justification for such eligibility determination and selection for compact negotiation (section 608(d) of the Act).

This report is the first of three required reports listed above.

Candidate Countries for FY 2020

The Act requires the identification of all countries that are candidate countries for FY 2020 and the identification of all countries that would be candidate countries but for specified legal prohibitions on assistance. Under sections 606(a) and (b) of the Act, candidate countries must qualify as low income or lower middle income countries as defined in the Act.

Specifically, a country will be a candidate country in the low income category for FY 2020 if it

  • has a per capita income that is not greater than the World Bank’s lower middle income country threshold for such fiscal year ($3,995 gross national income per capita for FY 2020);
  • is among the 75 countries identified by the World Bank as having the lowest per capita income; and
  • is not ineligible to receive United States economic assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the Foreign Assistance Act), by reason of the application of the Foreign Assistance Act or any other provision of law.

A country will be a candidate country in the lower middle income category for FY 2020 if it

  • has a per capita income that is not greater than the World Bank’s lower middle income country threshold for such fiscal year ($3,995 gross national income per capita for FY 2020);
  • is not among the 75 countries identified by the World Bank as having the lowest per capita income; and
  • is not ineligible to receive United States economic assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act by reason of the application of the Foreign Assistance Act or any other provision of law.

Under section 606(c) of the Act as applied for FY 2020, a country with per capita income changes from FY 2019 to FY 2020 such that the country would be reclassified from the low income category to the lower middle income category or vice versa will retain its income status in its former category for FY 2020 and two subsequent fiscal years (FY 2021 and FY 2022). A country that has transitioned to the upper middle income category does not qualify as a candidate country.

Pursuant to section 606(d) of the Act, the Board identified the following countries as candidate countries under the Act for FY 2020. In so doing, the Board referred to the prohibitions on assistance to countries for FY 2019 under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (FY 2019 SFOAA).

Candidate Countries: Low Income Category

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Angola
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Benin
  5. Bhutan*
  6. Burkina Faso
  7. Cabo Verde
  8. Cameroon
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Chad
  11. Côte d’Ivoire
  12. Djibouti
  13. Egypt
  14. Eswatini
  15. Ethiopia
  16. Gambia, The*
  17. Ghana
  18. Guinea
  19. Guinea-Bissau
  20. Haiti
  21. Honduras
  22. India
  23. Indonesia
  24. Kenya
  25. Kiribati
  26. Kyrgyzstan
  27. Laos
  28. Lesotho
  29. Liberia
  30. Madagascar
  31. Malawi
  32. Mali
  33. Micronesia, Federated States of
  34. Moldova
  35. Morocco
  36. Mozambique
  37. Nepal
  38. Niger
  39. Nigeria
  40. Pakistan
  41. Papua New Guinea*
  42. Philippines
  43. Republic of the Congo
  44. Rwanda
  45. São Tomé and Principe
  46. Senegal
  47. Sierra Leone
  48. Solomon Islands
  49. Somalia
  50. Tajikistan
  51. Tanzania
  52. Timor-Leste
  53. Togo
  54. Uganda
  55. Ukraine
  56. Uzbekistan
  57. Vanuatu
  58. Vietnam
  59. Yemen
  60. Zambia

Candidate Countries: Lower Middle Income Category

  1. Mongolia
  2. El Salvador
  3. Tunisia

Countries that Would Be Candidate Countries but for Legal Provisions that Prohibit Assistance

Countries that would be considered candidate countries for FY 2020 but are ineligible to receive United States economic assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act by reason of the application of any provision of the Foreign Assistance Act or any other provision of law are listed below. This list is based on legal prohibitions against economic assistance that apply as of July 19, 2019.

Prohibited Countries: Low Income Category

  • Bolivia is ineligible to receive foreign assistance pursuant to section 706(3) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (P.L. 107-228), regarding adherence to obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and other counternarcotics measures.
  • Burma is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including due to concerns relative to its record on human rights.
  • Burundi is ineligible to receive foreign assistance due to its status as a Tier 3 country under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. §7101 et seq.).
  • Cambodia is ineligible to receive foreign assistance pursuant to section 7043(b)(1)(A) of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which restricts assistance to the Government of Cambodia unless the Secretary of State certifies that the Government of Cambodia is taking effective steps to strengthen regional security and stability and respect the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  • Comoros is ineligible to receive foreign assistance due to its status as a Tier 3 country under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. §7101 et seq.).
  • Democratic Republic of Congo is ineligible to receive foreign assistance due to its status as a Tier 3 country under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. §7101 et seq.).
  • Eritrea is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including due to its status as a Tier 3 country under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. §7101 et seq.).
  • Mauritania is ineligible to receive foreign assistance due to its status as a Tier 3 country under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. §7101 et seq.).
  • Nicaragua is ineligible to receive foreign assistance pursuant to section 7047(c) of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits assistance for the central government of a country that the Secretary of State determines has recognized the independence of, or has established diplomatic relations with, the Russian occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
  • North Korea is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including pursuant to section 7007 of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits direct assistance to the government of North Korea.
  • South Sudan is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including pursuant to section 7042(f) of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits (with limited exceptions) assistance to the central government of South Sudan.
  • Sudan is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including pursuant to section 7042(g) of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits (with limited exceptions) assistance to the government of Sudan.
  • Syria is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including pursuant to section 7007 of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits direct assistance to the government of Syria.
  • Zimbabwe is ineligible to receive foreign assistance, including pursuant to section 7042(h)(2) of the FY 2019 SFOAA, which prohibits (with limited exceptions) assistance for the central government of Zimbabwe unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to Congress that the rule of law has been restored, including respect for ownership and title to property, and freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.

Countries identified above as candidate countries, as well as countries that would be considered candidate countries but for the applicability of legal provisions that prohibit U.S. economic assistance, may be the subject of future statutory restrictions or determinations, or changed country circumstances, that affect their legal eligibility for assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act by reason of application of the Foreign Assistance Act or any other provision of law for FY 2020.

*Bhutan, The Gambia, and Papua New Guinea were included on the list of Tier 3 countries in the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report. If the President determines to withhold non-humanitarian nontrade-related assistance to such countries under section 110 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, each would no longer be a candidate country for FY 2020.