The Millennium Challenge Account

March 05, 2003

Steven Radelet testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing titled “Millennium Challenge Account: A New Way To Aid” on March 4, 2003.

From Radelet’s Testimony:

Through four guiding principles, the MCA could greatly improve the allocation and delivery of US foreign assistance:

  • It selects a relatively small number of recipient countries based on their demonstrated   commitment to sound development policies;
  • It provides them with sums of money large enough to make a real difference;
  • It gives them more say in how the funds are used (relative to current programs); and
  • It holds them much more accountable for achieving results, including being willing to increase funding for successful programs and reduce it for weaker programs.

Overall, the MCA initiative is worthy of strong support. It builds on America's core values of generosity, commitment to progress, and the expectation of clear results. Many of the ideas in the administration's proposal are appropriate and would make the US foreign aid program more effective. With some adjustments, the initiative could be strengthened further. There are four key areas that require further consideration:

  • the country selection process;
  • the administrative structure within the USG;
  • operations on the ground once countries are selected; and
  • a strategy for the countries that will not qualify for the MCA.

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