It is not hard to believe Millennium Challenge Corp. Acting CEO Rodney Bent when he said MCC "deeply regrets" the termination of its four-year, $110 million compact with Madagascar.
MCC cited "the recent undemocratic change of government" in the African nation for its decision. As a matter of policy, the agency may suspend or terminate compacts if the country fails to stick to the selection criteria for compact eligibility.
Madagascar was the first MCC partner country and in its final compact implementation year prior to MCC's latest action. It would have been the first MCC compact graduate and therefore the agency's first test of how its programs work and impact poor communities.
Nonetheless, MCC took pride in what its projects have delivered in Madagascar. In a statement, it said its programs restored 149,000 disintegrating land rights documents to regional offices; constructed 29 land office buildings; strengthened the central bank's national interbank payment system; increased people's access to savings products; established a network of over 350 farmer leaders; and provided technical assistance training to about 34,450 farmers and 290 small businesses, farmers' associations and cooperatives.
Honduras and Cape Verde are the next countries in line for compact completion. They have five-year compacts with MCC, and both are in their fourth year of implementation.
That would mean that MCC officials like Alicia Phillips Mandaville, associate director for development, would have to wait a while to find out what happens to a beneficiary country post-MCC involvement.
She recently told Devex: "We're all starting to think about" when to leave a partner country. "To be honest, [that's] good news."