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MCC’s Board of Directors is meeting on September 17*.  On the agenda: a number of things we’ve been thinking about a lot lately! 

First of all, MCC and its Board are gearing up for this year’s country selection process.  This process, which happens each year, will culminate in December when the Board will select which countries will be eligible to use FY2015 funds for an MCC compact or threshold program.  The only decision that will be made next week is what criteria the Board will consider to determine which countries should be selected (as always, performance on MCC’s country scorecards will be a key consideration).  However, the conversation at this meeting will help set the stage for the intense country eligibility deliberations over the next few months.  As these discussions happen, I hope MCC and its Board will consider the recommendations we outline in this pre-publication draft paper that takes a deep dive into MCC’s selection system. 

This draft is part of Franck Wiebe’s and my forthcoming series called “MCC at 10.”  The series takes stock of MCC’s first decade of operations and looks in depth at each of the three main pillars of MCC’s foundational model—policies matter, results matter, and country ownership matters.  We ask: (1) To what extent has MCC’s model governed its operations in practice? (2) How should MCC strengthen and expand its model and operations over the next ten years? (3) With other USG development agencies adopting many of the aid effectiveness principles that underpin MCC’s model, how is MCC still different than other modes of US foreign assistance?  Watch this space later this month for the launch of the full series.

In addition to selection matters, the Board will also discuss “regional approaches.”  While I don’t know the angle this discussion will take, there has been some interest lately, including among some members of Congress, led by Congresswoman Bass, in how MCC might be able to extend its results-oriented model to promote economic growth in a region (to date, all MCC partnerships have been bilateral, each focused on a single country).  In a new MCC Monitor Analysis, I outline the case for a regional approach (as well as a sub-national approach, another option for partnership potentially on the table), the practical challenges associated with each, and the policy options for pursuing them, including Congressional actions.  In my opinion, while MCC should be given the green light to explore these alternative approaches, neither is an entirely straightforward choice for MCC to expand its partnerships.

*The original version of this blog post referenced the originally planned Board meeting date of September 10.  The meeting was subsequently postponed by a week.