On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Dana Hyde to be the new CEO of MCC, as well as Mark Lopes to be the US executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank. The short hearing (attended by Senators Markey and Barrasso, chair and ranking of the International Development Subcommittee) was largely positive toward both MCC and Hyde. Though the conversation didn't dive deeply into any one issue, I was particularly pleased to see that the following big issues are among Hyde's list of priorities:
Transparency: In Publish What You Fund's most recent index, MCC ranked first among the world's donors for its level of transparency. Hyde dutifully acknowledged progress made by other US Government agencies, but committed to maintaining MCC's leadership in this area (including, presumably, in its reporting to the US Government's Foreign Assistance Dashboard).
Evaluation: Hyde says she will take stock of what has and what hasn't worked in order to inform where MCC will go in its next ten years. She and her team will have a lot to work cut out for them. A focus on results has been one of MCC's core precepts, and the majority of MCC's compact programs are subject to evaluation. So far, few end-of-project evaluations have been finalized since the first of MCC's compacts to end have done so only in the last couple of years. But more are on the way soon, and their results should inform how MCC approaches future investments and/or its evaluation practice.
Deepening partnerships: As my colleague, Ben Leo, has urged, MCC should explore ways it can better crowd in private capital.
Defining the criteria for second compacts: Second compacts are arguably the future of MCC. Despite any possible "MCC effect," it's hard to believe there will be a steady stream of new countries that meet MCC's policy eligibility criteria. Hyde didn't proactively mention second compacts as a priority, but when pressed by Senator Barasso, she acknowledged that it will be important for MCC to review its standards for second compact implementation and eligibility requirements (our forthcoming piece predicting which countries MCC will select at December's board meeting will delve into some issues surrounding the latter).
If confirmed, Hyde will come to MCC at a pivotal time since MCC is about to embark upon the development of a new five-year strategy. More broadly, however, MCC has successfully marketed its innovative model--partnering with relatively good policy performers, fostering country ownership, selecting projects based on their projected economic rate of return, and seeking and learning from results--to achieve its primary objective: poverty reduction through economic growth. As MCC comes up on a new decade, it will need to take stock of how well the model has been applied--and how well it has actually delivered--over the course of MCC's first ten years.