“We look to MCC for helping to bring about that strategic shift that we’re making in our development work from aid to investment."
Early on in his first term, President Barack Obama, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, elevated development as the third pillar of United States foreign policy, equal in status to diplomacy and defense. The idea is to focus on methods that deliver the best results, said Secretary Clinton. And one of the models of current thinking on development is the Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC.
The MCC, a bilateral, independent U.S. foreign aid agency, stresses accountability, good governance and transparency, as well as country-led solutions and their implementation. To be considered for an MCC compact, a country must first meet a strict set of qualifications.
By pursuing country-owned efforts that are led, implemented, and eventually paid for by a nation’s own government, communities, civil society, and private sector, the United States is working to hasten the day when countries no longer need any foreign assistance.
That doesn’t mean that the United States is overlooking or backing away from pure humanitarian assistance. But more and more, we are looking to help those who want to help themselves, said Secretary Clinton, during an address to MCC staff in Washington:
“We look to MCC for helping to bring about that strategic shift that we’re making in our development work from aid to investment and looking at the risk-reward calculation, literally expecting to be able better to calculate a rate of return . . . . Sometimes that does mean suspending and even terminating contracts when host governments are not living up to their end of the agreement, as you did in Mali and briefly in Malawi. Those are hard choices to make. But I think they have a positive effect.”
“MCC’s model showcases some of our best thinking about how to do development for the 21st century, and has helped to set the stage for the Administration’s approach for development,” said Secretary Clinton, “because at a time when we must look for the way to maximize the impact of every dollar that we spend on development, we often turn to MCC for information and inspiration.”