MCC’s Alice Albright Discusses the Power of Sustainable International Development at Meridian

CEO of MCC The Honorable Alice Albright greets His Excellency Isilio Coelho da Silva (Ambassador of Timor-Leste) after an Insights program at Meridian program on July 7, 2022. Photo by Jess Latos.

International development is at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy today through government agencies like the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

CEO of MCC The Honorable Alice Albright participated in an Insights@Meridian moderated by Alonzo Fulgham, Interim Managing Partner for the Americas at The Palladium Group on July 7, 2022, on Meridian’s campus. Albright discussed the role MCC serves to reduce poverty through investments in developing countries who are committed to good governance, economic freedom and investing in their citizens. MCC provides compacts and threshold agreements to developing countries that meet qualifying scores on political and economic freedom standards on the MCC Scorecard, which is derived from third party entities such as the World Bank, Freedom House, and the United Nations.

1. Helping Democracies Deliver

MCC supports democracy through encouraging developing nations to reform policies in nations that remain steadfast to increasing political freedom and economic growth. MCC provides compact and threshold funding to nations committed to increasing transparency, fighting corruption, and investing in their people. Countries that seek eligibility for an MCC compact or threshold agreement are encouraged to strengthen the accountability of their legislative systems by putting policies in place that promote key freedoms for their citizens. Economic growth is a byproduct of increased democratic standards.

2. The Power of the Private Sector

The private sector plays a vital role in international development that drives sustainable economic growth. The private sector is equipped to support efforts to tackle key constraints to growth such as a lack of water, electricity, and sanitation. It also plays a role in addressing humanitarian crises in MCC partner countries. The private sector, in partnership with the MCC, provides valuable resources to infrastructure projects spearheaded by MCC partner countries.

3. Local Ownership Leads to Sustainable Growth

MCC encourages local ownership in developing compacts and thresholds. This includes building local capacities, identifying and adjusting national policies or laws, and boosting the local economy. MCC’s approach includes is not to “parachute in” with foreign companies and staff to support on projects, rather it aims to hire local companies and staff to develop their skills so that MCC is no longer needed in country. MCC’s Albright highlighted that nations benefit most from this sustainable development approach.

4. Empowering Women and Vulnerable Groups

Women and vulnerable groups are most at risk in developing nations. MCC factors in the rural and urban divide, language differences, people with disabilities, and women when developing compacts and thresholds. MCC’s focus on gender includes using analytics to determine where women are excluded and how to address this issue in a country. These policies are promoted in government and included in MCC compacts and thresholds. A large part of MCC’s mission to help democracies deliver is undertaking reforms that promote inclusionary policy so that women and vulnerable groups can play a larger role in society.

5. MCC at 20

MCC turns 20 years old in 2024. While the first 20 years of MCC have been successful, the look ahead to the future is evolving three areas: 1.) where it works 2.) how it works and 3.) adjusting to modern programming needs. MCC currently partners with 81 countries but aims to increase this number to 125. MCC aims to support nations more quickly as the geopolitical landscape changes. Responding to candidate nations local needs will drive the compacts and thresholds MCC offers. MCC seeks to help democracies deliver through public and private partnerships to reduce poverty around the world.


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