Morocco, a surprise pick for MCC 2nd compact eligibility

Irrigation guidance via text messaging. Despite failing the political rights indicator and “narrowly” passing the civil liberties indicator, Morocco was selected as eligible for a second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corp. Photo by: Oussama Benbila / MEC / USAID / CC BY-NC

The Millennium Challenge Corp. has selected Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone as eligible for new compacts in 2013 — just as a U.S.-based think tank has predicted.

The three countries “have worked hard” to meet MCC’s “rigorous eligibility standards,” CEO Daniel Yohannes said in a statement following the board’s meeting Wednesday (Dec. 19). Apart from passing half of the organization’s 20 indicators, each country pursued a number of reforms: Liberia upped its anti-corruption efforts by introducing a new asset-disclosure requirement in government, while Sierra Leone introduced free access to maternal and child health care in the country.

MCC has also picked Tanzania as eligible for a second compact, and re-selected Ghana, El Salvador, Georgia and Benin — choices consistent with forecasts the Center for Global Development made in its MCA Monitor. But one MCC choice that wasn’t in the monitor? Morocco.

Morocco failed to pass the political rights indicator and “narrowly” passed the civil liberties indicator, according to the think tank. Countries need to pass at least one of these two “hard hurdles” to be eligible for an MCC compact. The Center for Global Development has recommended Morocco to be considered for a threshold program instead.

Morocco’s first compact, worth $698 million, is set for completion in September 2013. The country and Tanzania have “continued to perform well on the MCC scorecard and have been good development partners during first compact implementation,” according to a news release from MCC.

The MCC board has chosen Guatemala to be eligible for a threshold program. Despite failing the corruption control “hard hurdle,” the country was “extremely close” to meeting the organization’s scorecard criteria, according to the news release. The board also allowed Honduras and Nepal to continue with their threshold programs this year.

Following the selection, countries will need to develop compact proposals. And the next question would be: How much would each of them receive under a limited MCC budget that could face further cuts next year?

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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