There’s tight competition among countries that could be considered for a Millennium Challenge Corp. compact for next year. But with a limited budget, which country will the MCC board decide to include at Wednesday’s selection process?
The MCC’s board will be meeting Wednesday (Dec. 19) to discuss, among other issues, which countries will be eligible for a compact. Thirty countries passed half of MCC’s indicator test for 2013, including the control of corruption indicator and the civil liberties or the political rights indicators. Under MCC’s selection system, countries also need to pass these “hard hurdles” to be eligible for an MCC compact.
Seventeenof the 30 come from low-income countries. But the Center for Global Development, through its MCA Monitor, predicts Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone will be selected as eligible for a first compact.
Although the think tank has country-specific reasons for its projections, all three states have also demonstrated “strong” policy improvements and passed more than half of the 20 indicators, according to the MCA Monitor.
The think tank also forecasts Tanzania to be selected as eligible for a second compact, as well as Benin, Ghana, El Salvador and Georgia. The last four countries have already been selected for a second compact, but will need to be selected again to “to keep developing proposals,” the Center for Global Development notes.
Comoros, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Solomon Islands were also part of the 17 low-income countries, but they are “unlikely” to be chosen for an MCA compact based on their “exceedingly small” populations. São Tomé and Príncipe, for one, only has a population of 168,526, as per the World Bank. The MCC aims to invest its resources in countries where it will have the greatest impact.
The think tank makes the same conclusion for Belize, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, which are part of the 13 lower-middle-income countries that passed the 2013 indicator test.
Lesotho and Mozambique, meanwhile, have “weaker compact implementation records” than Tanzania, according to the monitor. And Bhutan and Sri Lanka have only “narrowly passed” the civil liberties and political rights indicators.
It remains to be seen if the MCC board’s decision would reflect the organization’s forecasts. But the think tank recommends that MCC should not limit the number of countries it will choose for compact eligibility. There should also be competition in the compact development process, where deadlines will be set for proposal submissions or evidence requests.
The selection process will also be among the topics at MCC’s quarterly town hall meeting Thursday (Dec. 20).
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