The race is on for FY2013 Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding. The MCC board of directors meets December 19th to decide which countries will be eligible for FY2013 assistance. CGD’s MCA Monitor offers a sneak peek at the countries we think the MCC is most likely to select as eligible for compacts or threshold programs and why.
This is the 10th year CGD has produced independent data and analysis of the MCC’s selection process. This year, several countries pass the MCC’s indicators test for the first time ever and a record number of countries are contenders for second compacts. The competition is high and the resources are scarce. The board meeting will also be the last one during President Barack Obama’s first term and presumably the final session chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (though recent reports indicate she may be on medical leave this week).
The MCC board, which will see other changes among its governmental members in Obama’s second term and is still waiting for Senate action to fill the two vacant non-governmental board seats, will be looking to keep the MCC model on the leading edge of the Obama administration’s development agenda. But their decisions also take place amid a protracted US budget process, pressure to cut federal spending and an incoming Congress that boasts more than 270 new members since the MCC was authorized in 2003.
The MCA Monitor’s advice? Stick to the MCC mission by using the indicators as the primary (but not the only) guide to selecting eligible country partners. Keep looking for qualified new partners, especially low income countries that perform well on the indicators. Encourage competition not just for selection, but for funding compacts. And keep pushing the boundaries for transparency and evidence-based decision making, including when tough love is needed (hint: Indonesia).
Based on the data and these principles, we predict the MCC will select the following new countries as eligible for first compacts: Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone. The MCC board will also likely select Tanzania as eligible for a second, though smaller, compact and re-select four countries already developing second compacts: Benin, Ghana, El Salvador and Georgia. It may also put Morocco into the new threshold program. Read all the details and data here.
UPDATE 12/21/12: Read about the MCC board decisions--and how they match up with our predictions--here.