Report on the Selection of Eligible Countries for Fiscal Year 2020

CourtMillennium Challenge Corporation
Citation84 FR 69393
Record Number2019-27284
Published date18 December 2019
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 243 (Wednesday, December 18, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 243 (Wednesday, December 18, 2019)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 69393-69395]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2019-27284]
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                MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
                [MCC FR 19-10]
                Report on the Selection of Eligible Countries for Fiscal Year
                2020
                AGENCY: Millennium Challenge Corporation.
                ACTION: Notice.
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                SUMMARY: This report is provided in accordance with section 608(d)(2)
                of the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003, as amended (the ``Act''), 22
                U.S.C. 7707(d)(2).
                 Dated: December 13, 2019.
                Christopher J. Dunn,
                Acting VP/General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
                Report on the Selection of Eligible Countries for Fiscal Year 2020
                Summary
                 This report is provided in accordance with section 608(d)(1) of the
                Millennium Challenge Act of 2003, as amended (the Act) (22 U.S.C.
                7707(d)(1)).
                 The Act authorizes the provision of assistance under section 605 of
                the Act (22 U.S.C. 7704) to countries that enter into compacts with the
                United States to support policies and programs that advance the
                progress of such countries in achieving lasting economic growth and
                poverty reduction, and are in furtherance of the Act. The Act requires
                the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to determine the countries
                that will be eligible to receive assistance for the fiscal year, based
                on their
                [[Page 69394]]
                demonstrated commitment to just and democratic governance, economic
                freedom, and investing in their people, as well as on the opportunity
                to reduce poverty and generate economic growth in the country. The Act
                also requires the submission of reports to appropriate congressional
                committees and the publication of notices in the Federal Register that
                identify, among other things:
                 1. The countries that are ``candidate countries'' for assistance
                for fiscal year (FY) 2020 based on their per-capita income levels and
                their eligibility to receive assistance under U.S. law, and countries
                that would be candidate countries but for specified legal prohibitions
                on assistance (section 608(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7707(a)));
                 2. The criteria and methodology that the Board of Directors of MCC
                (the Board) will use to measure and evaluate the policy performance of
                the ``candidate countries'' consistent with the requirements of section
                607 of the Act in order to determine ``eligible countries'' from among
                the ``candidate countries'' (section 608(b) of the Act (22 U.S.C.
                7707(b))); and
                 3. The list of countries determined by the Board to be ``eligible
                countries'' for FY 2020, with justification for eligibility
                determination and selection for compact negotiation, including with
                which of the eligible countries the Board will seek to enter into
                compacts (section 608(d) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7707(d))).
                 This is the third of the above-described reports by MCC for FY
                2020. It identifies countries determined by the Board to be eligible
                under section 607 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7706) for FY 2020 with which
                the MCC will seek to enter into compacts under section 609 of the Act
                (22 U.S.C. 7708), as well as the justification for such decisions. The
                report also identifies countries selected by the Board to receive
                assistance under MCC's threshold program pursuant to section 616 of the
                Act (22 U.S.C. 7715).
                Eligible Countries
                 The Board met on December 9, 2019, to select those eligible
                countries with which the United States, through MCC, will seek to enter
                into a Millennium Challenge Compact pursuant to section 607 of the Act
                (22 U.S.C. 7706). The Board selected the following eligible country for
                such assistance for FY 2020: Mozambique. The Board also selected the
                following previously-selected countries for compact assistance for FY
                2020: Benin, Burkina Faso, C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Lesotho,
                Malawi, Niger, Timor-Leste, and Tunisia.
                Criteria
                 In accordance with the Act and with the ``Report on the Criteria
                and Methodology for Determining the Eligibility of Candidate Countries
                for Millennium Challenge Account Assistance in Fiscal Year 2020''
                formally submitted to Congress on September 18, 2019, selection was
                based primarily on a country's overall performance in three broad
                policy categories: Ruling Justly, Encouraging Economic Freedom, and
                Investing in People. The Board relied, to the fullest extent possible,
                upon transparent and independent indicators to assess countries' policy
                performance and demonstrated commitment in these three broad policy
                areas. The Board compared countries' performance on the indicators
                relative to their income-level peers, evaluating them in comparison to
                either the group of countries with a GNI per capita equal to or less
                than $1,925, or the group with a GNI per capita between $1,925 and
                $3,995.
                 The criteria and methodology used to assess countries on the annual
                scorecards are outlined in the ``Report on the Criteria and Methodology
                for Determining the Eligibility of Candidate Countries for Millennium
                Challenge Account Assistance in Fiscal Year 2020 \1\''. Scorecards
                reflecting each country's performance on the indicators are available
                on MCC's website at www.mcc.gov/scorecards.
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                 \1\ Available at https://www.mcc.gov/resources/doc/report-selection-criteria-methodology-fy20.
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                 The Board also considered whether any adjustments should be made
                for data gaps, data lags, or recent events since the indicators were
                published, as well as strengths or weaknesses in particular indicators.
                Where appropriate, the Board took into account additional quantitative
                and qualitative information, such as evidence of a country's commitment
                to fighting corruption, investments in human development outcomes, or
                poverty rates. In keeping with legislative directives, the Board also
                considered the opportunity to reduce poverty and promote economic
                growth in a country, in light of the overall information available, as
                well as the availability of appropriated funds.
                 The Board sees the selection decision as an annual opportunity to
                determine where MCC funds can be most effectively used to support
                poverty reduction through economic growth in relatively well-governed,
                poor countries. The Board carefully considers the appropriate nature of
                each country partnership--on a case-by-case basis--based on factors
                related to economic growth and poverty reduction, the sustainability of
                MCC's programs, and the country's ability to attract and leverage
                public and private resources in support of development.
                 This was the second year the Board considered the eligibility of
                countries for concurrent compacts. In addition to the considerations
                for compact eligibility detailed above, the Board considered whether a
                country being considered for a concurrent compact is making
                considerable and demonstrable progress in implementing the terms of its
                existing Compact.
                 This was the eleventh year the Board considered the eligibility of
                countries for subsequent compacts, as permitted under section 609(l) of
                the Act. MCC's engagement with partner countries is not open-ended, and
                the Board is deliberate when selecting countries for follow-on
                partnerships, particularly regarding the higher bar applicable to
                subsequent compact countries. In making these selection decisions, the
                Board considered--in addition to the criteria outlined above--the
                country's performance implementing its first compact, including the
                nature of the country's partnership with MCC, the degree to which the
                country has demonstrated a commitment and capacity to achieve program
                results, and the degree to which the country has implemented the
                compact in accordance with MCC's core policies and standards. To the
                greatest extent possible, these factors were assessed using pre-
                existing monitoring and evaluation targets and regular quarterly
                reporting. This information was supplemented with direct surveys and
                consultation with MCC staff responsible for compact implementation,
                monitoring, and evaluation. MCC published a Guide to Supplemental
                Information \2\ and a Guide to the Compact Survey Summary \3\ in order
                to increase transparency about the type of supplemental information the
                Board uses to assess a country's policy performance and compact
                implementation performance. The Board also considered a country's
                commitment to further sector reform, as well as evidence of improved
                scorecard policy performance.
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                 \2\ Available at https://www.mcc.gov/resources/doc/guide-to-supplemental-information-fy20.
                 \3\ Available at https://www.mcc.gov/resources/doc/guide-to-the-compact-survey-summary-fy20.
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                 In addition, this is the fourth year where the Board considered an
                explicit higher bar for those countries close to the upper end of the
                candidate pool, looking closely in such cases at a country's access to
                development
                [[Page 69395]]
                financing, the nature of poverty in the country, and its policy
                performance.
                Countries Newly Selected for Compact Assistance
                 Using the criteria described above, one candidate country under
                section 606(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7705(a) was newly selected for
                assistance under section 607 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7706): Mozambique.
                In accordance with section 609(k) of the Act, no candidate countries
                were newly selected to explore development of a concurrent compact
                program under section 607 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 7706).
                 Mozambique: Mozambique successfully completed its first MCC compact
                in September 2013 and has recently demonstrated encouraging policy
                improvement on the MCC scorecard, passing 13 of 20 indicators, with
                clear improvement on its Control of Corruption score. A new compact
                would build on the country's continued commitment to sector reform and
                MCC's strong relationship with the country developed under the first
                compact partnership. By selecting Mozambique for a compact, MCC will
                support the government's efforts to strengthen economic growth to
                reduce poverty.
                Countries Selected To Continue Compact Development
                 Nine of the countries selected for compact assistance for FY 2020
                were previously selected for FY 2019. Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Lesotho,
                Malawi, Timor-Leste, and Tunisia were selected to continue developing
                bilateral compacts. Benin, Burkina Faso, C[ocirc]te d'Ivoire, and Niger
                were selected to continue developing concurrent compacts for the
                purpose of regional integration. Selection of these countries for FY
                2020 was based on their continued or improved policy performance since
                their prior selection.
                Countries Selected To Receive Threshold Program Assistance
                 The Board selected Kenya to receive threshold program assistance.
                 Kenya: Kenya offers MCC the opportunity to engage with the country
                on policy and institutional reform. Kenya is an important partner in
                East Africa, where MCC's presence is growing. Although Kenya has not
                previously passed the Control of Corruption indicator on the MCC
                scorecard, its performance rose to the 50th percentile this year (a
                country must score above the 50th percentile to pass the indicator).
                More broadly, Kenya passes 15 of 20 indicators overall on the
                scorecard, including the Democratic Rights ``hard hurdle'' indicators.
                Countries Selected To Continue Developing Threshold Programs
                 The Board selected Ethiopia and Solomon Islands to continue
                developing threshold programs. Ethiopia has continued on its reform
                path and saw improvements on the democratic rights ``hard hurdle''
                indicators of political rights and civil liberties this year. Solomon
                Islands held successful elections in April 2019 and continues apace
                with program development.
                Ongoing Review of Partner Countries' Policy Performance
                 The Board emphasized the need for all partner countries to maintain
                or improve their policy performance. If it is determined during compact
                implementation that a country has demonstrated a significant policy
                reversal, MCC can hold it accountable by applying MCC's Suspension and
                Termination Policy.\4\
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                 \4\ Available at https://www.mcc.gov/resources/doc/policy-on-suspension-and-termination.
                [FR Doc. 2019-27284 Filed 12-13-19; 4:15 p.m.]
                BILLING CODE 9211-03-P
                

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