President Barack Obama has asked the United States Congress to boost funding for an international aid program aimed at promoting long-term economic growth. The administration is seeking $1.42 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC, for the budget year beginning in October.
This proposed 63 percent increase is a testament to both the U.S. Government’s support for the program and its effectiveness in the fight against global poverty.
Countries seeking aid from MCC must rule justly, invest in their people and foster enterprise. The concept is that development assistance is most effective in countries held accountable for good economic policies and where governments are working to address corruption.
Anti-corruption efforts are vital to safeguarding U.S. taxpayer funds and ensuring the success of this assistance. MCC policies require strict controls to check against corruption and support local efforts to tackle the problem.
Since 2005, MCC has spent $470 million on its "threshold program," which helps countries that are close to being eligible for MCC's larger scale programs meet its requirements for good governance. Of this amount, $250 million has been invested in specific anti-corruption efforts.
Tanzania, for example, successfully completed an $11 million MCC threshold program. One of the program’s highlights was the training of over 300 journalists and 80 magistrates on how to combat corruption and financial crimes such as money-laundering. Subsequently, Tanzania has qualified for and is now implementing a $698 million grant that will stimulate economic growth in this part of Africa through investments in transportation, energy, and water.
Paraguay used a threshold grant to target corruption among civil servants, thus improving citizens' ability to comply with regulations for transactions such as registering a business.
Madagascar, on the other hand, saw a 5-year, $110 million anti-poverty program terminated after its democratically-elected president, Marc Ravalomanana was forced to resign from office earlier this year.
Going forward then, the U.S. is committed to helping other nations make anti-corruption efforts an integral part of their homegrown efforts to tackle poverty.