SRI LANKA AMONG THE FIRST SIXTEEN COUNTRIES SELECTED TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE UNDER THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT

MCC CEO Paul Applegarth says countries selected are identified as good partners of the U.S. who had performed
best against the selection criteria

Ambassador Subasinghe says Sri Lanka’s selection bears testimony to the country’s good policy environment and the concerted and consistent economic reform programs undertaken by its Governments with a focus on poverty reduction

The Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selected the first set of countries eligible for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA ) assistance in Financial Year 2004. Sri Lanka is among the 16 countries selected for funding in US FY 2004. The countries selected are Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu.

Sri Lanka’s success at qualifying for MCC assistance is a reflection of the country having invested in its people with a consistent method of defining its national priorities and formulating policy with clear objectives. The MCC Board had considered the past and current policy performance of the country in the areas of governing justly, investing in her people and promoting economic freedom, including trends of policy improvement. According to official MCC data, Sri Lanka passes all six of the Governance indicators, two of the four “investing in People” indicators (minimum necessary) and, five of the six “Economic Freedom” indicators.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Devinda R. Subasinghe said, “the MCA will be a useful catalyst for further policy reforms in Sri Lanka that will lead to economic growth and poverty reduction. The Mission actively focused on promoting Sri Lanka as an eligible candidate for assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account. Sri Lanka’s selection bears testimony to the country’s good policy environment and the concerted and consistent economic reform programs undertaken by its Governments with a focus on poverty reduction.”

Mr. Paul Applegarth, CEO of the MCC said, “countries selected are identified as good partners of the US who had performed best against the selection criteria.” The MCC focus is, “Investing in growth- [in ]what works.”

MCA has been conceived with bipartisan support by the US Administration as an innovative foreign aid program, predicated on several principles such as, country ownership, inclusiveness (country stakeholders), accountability and emphasis on policy outcomes in the development and implementation of MCA programs. The MCA assistance calls for greater responsibility from developing countries in the implementation of programs and the MCC’s mission is to focus on assisting emerging market countries to escape their dependency status through self-sustaining economic growth. The US congress approved the MCA in January 2004 and allocated a budget of US$1 billion for the first year. President Bush has asked for an additional US$2.5 billion to ramp up the MCA budget for FY 2005.

The MCA is administered by the Millennium Challenge Corporation which is managed by Mr. Paul Applegarth, Chief Executive Officer, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and, overseen by a Board of Directors comprising the Secretary of State (Chairman of the Board), the Secretary of Treasury, the US Trade Representative and the Administrator of USAID and four members to be appointed by the President on the advice and consent of the Senate.

The MCA implementation process will commence with a formal invitation to the Heads of Governments of the 16 selected countries, inviting each to propose a country program for MCA assistance. Following country selection, the MCC will enter into compacts with qualifying countries that focus on outcomes, outline concrete objectives, benchmarks and responsibilities for meeting their development goals. The level of funding for country programs will be determined on the basis of the quality and the needs of the program. Programs must have a minimum three year commitment. The MCC is planning country Missions to brief Governments on the program and make preliminary country assessments towards end of May 2004 or early June 2004. The MCC will also assist countries with capacity building in the areas of program and benchmark evaluation, among other areas.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC
USA

06 May 2004

 

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