Sri Lanka was selected as eligible for a Compact Program under the U.S. Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) at the meeting of the MCC Board of Directors held in Washington DC on 13th December.
Compact Programs are large, five-year grants for countries that meets MCC’s eligibility criteria of good governance, economic freedom and investment in its citizens. The selections are based on performance indicators of these criteria compiled by the MCC in an annual scorecard for countries under consideration.
Following the selection, the Board’s decision was conveyed over the telephone to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, by a senior official of the MCC.
Created by the U.S. Congress in 2004 with bipartisan support, the MCC is a unique U.S. agency that operates on the principle of delivering assistance on the basis of a long-term consultative partnership with recipient countries. Country ownership and country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth are the underlying principles on which MCC grants are provided. Grants are designed to complement other U.S. and international development programs, and to create an enabling environment for private sector investment.
The MCC Board is chaired by the US Secretary of State. Its members include the Secretary to the Treasury, the U.S. Trade Representative, the USAID Administrator, the Chief Executive Officer of MCC and four private sector representatives. The Board members are appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.
In December 2015, Sri Lanka was selected as eligible for a Threshold Program by the MCC Board. Threshold Programs are smaller grants awarded to countries that come close to MCC’s eligibility criteria, and are firmly committed to improving policy performance. During the past year, MCC in partnership with the government of Sri Lanka conducted a Constraints to Growth Analysis to determine the binding impediments to economic growth with a view to designing a Threshold Program for poverty reduction. With Sri Lanka’s selection for a Compact Program this year, MCC and Sri Lanka will now begin to develop a much larger program to fight poverty and improve standards of living.