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“The MCC Effect” and Private Sector Partnerships for Development
By Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director, Global Harvest Initiative
During my first week at the Global Harvest Initiative, our board of directors and staff had the opportunity to interact closely with senior representatives from the innovative Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The MCC is a government agency created in 2004, with strong bi-partisan Congressional support, with the purpose of catalyzing economic development and reducing poverty in targeted ountries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Global Harvest Initiative is impressed with MCC’s unique approach to development assistance that fosters private-sector investment as a driver of economic growth. On July 10th our board of directors had a robust discussion with MCC experts Jolyne Sanjack and Alicia Mandaville about MCC’s compact and threshold programs, and how countries are selected for these programs.
During the MCC presentation, Ms. Sanjack and Ms. Mandaville described the criteria that make a country eligible for an MCC assistance program: a demonstrated commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people, and support for economic freedom as measured by different policy indicators. One GHI board member asked “What is the impact of the MCC’s efforts?” The response was that countries are actively changing their policies to be eligible for MCC programs, which has come to be known somewhat unofficially as “The MCC Effect.” Following the Board discussion, I gave a presentation on GHI’s mission, vision and member-company development activities to a broad selection of MCC staff.
GHI believes that the MCC offers significant promise for obtaining real and long-term results, and the agency’s approach is beginning to catalyze country ownership and leadership to create better policy environments for long-term growth and investment. It was clear from these discussions that MCC is seeking how to engage the private sector to and to find the right intersection for this involvement. We look forward to future engagement with the MCC to identify opportunities for direct collaboration in the policy and program arenas and to contribute to “the MCC Effect” in a growing number of developing countries.