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MCC was a bold experiment when it was created by President George W. Bush in 2004. The concept was simple: channel US taxpayer money to poor countries that have responsible governments and sensible policies—those that encourage private sector activity, invest in schooling and health, fight corruption, and support democratic rights. This is consistent with American values and foreign policy objectives. Evidence suggests that these are the countries where foreign aid is most likely to make a difference by encouraging the policy changes that support long-run, sustained, poverty-reducing growth.
MCC’s approach to delivering foreign assistance has set a standard for aid agencies around the world. It uses evidence to guide decision making; it focuses on achieving and measuring results, evaluating the vast majority of its programs; it gives partner countries the lead role in identifying and implementing its investments; and, overarching all this, it is among the most transparent donors worldwide. In quantitative assessments of the efficiency and effectiveness of more than 100 global aid agencies conducted by the Center of Global Development with the Brookings Institution, MCC consistently scores near the top of aid agencies worldwide on a set of aid effectiveness measures.
Today, I will focus on two areas where congressional action is needed to allow MCC to build on its strong record of success and two areas where continued support from Congress will help the agency deliver even more development impact. I will close with a plea for Congress to help other US agencies apply lessons learned from the MCC.