Liberia Slips on 11 MCC Thresholds

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(L-r) Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh, Mr. Bloom and US envoy to Liberia Madam Debra Malac.jpg

Liberia has fallen short of meeting eleven key indicators of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US official from the MCC has said. The government needs to meet about 20 indicators in order to access huge direct US government’s grants in hundreds of millions dollars if not billions of dollars under the program.

According to MCC’s vice president for Africa in the Department of Compact Operations Mr. Jonathan Bloom, the government has failed to meet the natural resource protection indicator of the Corporation thereby slipping the country’s improvement recorded last year from 10 to nine.

Speaking at a press briefing in Monrovia yesterday, the visiting MCC official disclosed that Liberia has performed below its performance level in 2012.

Mr. Bloom, who was accompanied by US Ambassador to Liberia Debra Malac, said the government needed to make additional efforts to improve its rankings.

The MCC official, however, praised the government for making strong improvements in nine of the 20 indicators noting, “This is why Liberia remains an MCC’s Compact Eligibility Country.”

Facing the media at the Ministry of Finance yesterday, Liberia’s Minister of Finance Amara Mohammed Konneh assured the MCC officials and the public that the government is doing everything within its limited powers to meet all of the requirements of the MCC.

Mr. Konneh explained that the government has concluded a meeting of its MCC Steering Committee “and that the issues we discussed are beyond our recent re-selection.”

According to Minister Konneh, the government’s MCC Steering Committee discussed efforts by the government to continue to improve the country’s performance on the MCC indicators, and its progress to date in developing its MCC compact proposal.

“Our government has developed an Action Plan to strategically guide our interventions to improve our performance in all 20 indicators measured by MCC. We have completed both a Constraints &Root Cause analysis, as well as a series of National Consultations on the findings of these analyses,” Konneh stated.

The Liberian treasury boss noted that these tools, though challenging, have allowed the government to identify and quantify the binding constraints to the country’s economic growth.

“In other words,” he said, “we know what we must fix in order to accelerate the transformation of our economy, and generate growths that benefit all Liberians.”

The MCC is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty.

The U.S. Congress created it in January 2004, with a strong bipartisan support to help change the conversation on how best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results.

In 2012, Liberia made its maiden entry into the MCC as a country eligible to develop MCC Compact by the Board of Directors of the MCC.

The country was reselected by the MCC Board of Directors few weeks ago and therefore remains compact eligible.

Some of the broad indicators of the MCC are access to credit, business start-up, child health, civil liberties, control of corruption, fiscal policy, freedom of information, gender in the in the economy, girls’ primary education completion rate, girls’ secondary education enrollment ratio, government effectiveness, health expenditures, immunization ratio, trade policy, regulatory policy, and rule of law, amongst others.

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