The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was designed to provide large-scale grant funding to poor, well-governed countries. It’s become clear, however, that the (legislated) definition of which countries are “poor” is inadequate. In a
For some time, we’ve been cheering MCC’s interest in pursuing approaches that pay for outcomes and encouraging the agency’s stakeholders to get onboard (here and here). Now we can applaud an important step forward. The agency’s new compact with Morocco, which both partners celebrated at an event last Thursday in Rabat, spells out the potential for a results-based financing component—a welcome development.
Dreary weather in Washington aside, it’s Sunshine Week this week—an opportunity to put the limelight on US Government transparency efforts. And because the December 2015 Busan deadline to fully implement the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) has come and gone, this year’s celebration of open government is a particularly good time to take a hard look at US Government progress in foreign assistance transparency.
After more than a decade of operations, MCC has made the shift from innovative start-up to established donor agency. “MCC NEXT,” the agency’s new, much-anticipated strategic plan, takes a hard look at how the poverty and development landscape has evolved over the past decade and stakes out the position a more mature MCC should take in this new context.
Earlier this week, CGD president Nancy Birdsall testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on the Millennium Challenge Corporation. A main impetus for the hearing was the introduction this summer of legislation (S. 1605) that would enable MCC to pursue regionally-focused investments with eligible countries. The hearing itself, however, was wide-ranging, covering the “current operations and authority” of MCC.
The House’s FY16 SFOPS spending bill didn’t respond to the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s request for substantially more funding this year. (The legislation maintains the agency’s FY15 level of $900 million.) But I was happy to see clear evidence of the House’s desire to better track the economic rationale behind MCC’s programs in the accompanying explanatory language.
Our celebration of MCC’s tenth birthday continued last week with a thought-provoking open conversation with MCC CEO Dana J. Hyde. The well-attended public event, co-hosted by CGD and the Brookings Institute, was a fantastic opportunity to hear, from MCC’s own leadership, a reflection on the agency’s first ten years and a vision for the agency’s future. (If you missed it, you can watch it here.)
Now that MCC has completed 18 compacts worth over $6 billion, many stakeholders are increasingly anxious to understand more about what these investments have actually achieved. After all, a focus on results is a key component of MCC’s core model, and the agency is known for pushing the envelope in this area. MCC’s rigorous ex-post evaluations will be the critical piece that tells the story about development impact, but the results of these studies aren’t usually available
MCC has long applied rigorous environmental safeguards and standards to its investments in partner countries. And since President Obama’s September 2014 Executive Order on Climate-Resilient International Development, MCC (along with other key USG foreign assistance agencies) has been expanding its efforts to ensure that it considers climate change risk—and, where possible, mechanisms for adaptation—in investment planning and execution