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In early May, the Obama administration asked the U.S. Congress to allocate to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the MCC, a budget of $1.42 billion for the next fiscal year, a 63 percent increase over last year.
"MCC has learned that selecting good partners who share our goals with respect to ruling justly, investing in people and promoting economic freedom works," said Alicia Phillips Mandaville, a senior policy associate at the MCC. "We know that enabling those partners to select and implement their home-grown projects, using world class standards economic, environmental and gender analysis, works."
Eligibility for a Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact is tied to country performance on a series of objective indicators that reward good governance, investing in people and responsible fiscal policy while discouraging corruption.
"Development depends upon good governance," said President Barack Obama during his July visit to Ghana. "That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long."
Good governance, transparent leadership and low tolerance of corruption are critical if a nation is to prosper. By the same token, democracy is difficult when a country's citizens are poor, lack education and opportunity to better themselves; when families and communities are decimated by treatable or preventable diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS.
So the MCC coordinates with other agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, to support and help strengthen immunization and public health programs, girls' primary education completion rates, public expenditure on primary education, and natural resource management.
We know that poor countries that are committed to stable, accountable governance are typically committed to improving the lives of their citizens, and the United States is deeply invested in helping such countries move toward that goal.
"Our commitment must be measured by more than just the dollars we spend. I have pledged substantial increases in our foreign assistance," said President Obama in Ghana. "But the true sign of success is not whether we are a source of aid that helps people scrape by - it is whether we are partners in building the capacity for transformational change."