MCC blow for Lesotho

MCC blow for Lesotho

Staff Reporter

MASERU – THE Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has deferred its vote on the reselection of Lesotho for a new compact.
The board made the decision at its quarterly meeting on Tuesday, according to a statement released yesterday.
It said the reselection vote has been deferred until “governance concerns have been addressed”.
The United States has raised concerns about governance and rule of law in Lesotho.

It has also said it is apprehensive about the slow pace of constitutional, security, legislative and judicial reforms recommended by the SADC.
The deferment of the reselection vote is a sign that the US remains unconvinced that there has been any significant changes to the political situation in Lesotho.
This is despite this month’s removal of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli as army commander.
The decision could also be an ominous sign that Lesotho’s eligibility of Agoa might be jeopardy.

The conditions for qualification to MCC are almost similar to those of eligibility for Agoa.
The US Trade Department is expected to announce its decision on Lesotho’s eligibility to Agoa in the next few weeks.
The first US$363 million MCC compact which was signed in 2008 and ended in 2013 invested in health, water and private sector development.  It built hospitals, roads and improved the water system.

Its impact has been most transformative to the lives of the 1.2 million Basotho who live in the rural areas.
At its December 13 meeting the MCC board selected Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka and Tunisia for new MCC compacts. It said the five-year grants are meant to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty.

“For a country to be selected as eligible for MCC assistance, it must demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people, and economic freedom, as measured by third-party policy indicators on MCC’s annual scorecard,” the board said.

“By partnering with developing countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting the rights of women and the rule of law, we are maximizing our ability to fight poverty and transform people’s lives,” MCC Chief Executive Officer Dana J. Hyde said.
“We are pleased to announce the selection of Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka, and Tunisia for new compact partnerships to advance widespread economic growth for the people and communities in these countries.”
The board said Burkina Faso which successfully completed its first MCC compact in July 2014 “has demonstrated clear policy improvement on its scorecard since the election of its new government in 2015”.

“Sri Lanka, which was selected in December 2015 for a threshold program, will now transition into the compact program after showing continued improvement on its scorecard, including demonstrated progress on democratic rights.”
“Tunisia is a new compact partner for MCC. The Board noted Tunisia’s strong scorecard performance and the opportunity to work with the country as it consolidates its recent democratic gains, takes on a significant policy reform agenda, and combats poverty and inequality challenges.”
The board also reselected Cote d’Ivoire, Mongolia, Nepal, and Senegal to continue to continue developing their compacts.

The Board noted that it expects Mongolia to demonstrate improved performance in combatting corruption, and deferred a vote on the reselection of Lesotho for compact development until governance concerns have been addressed. The Board also deferred a vote on the reselection of the Philippines for compact development, subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties.

Kosovo and Timor-Leste were selected to develop MCC threshold programs. Togo was reselected Togo to continue developing its threshold program.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent US government agency working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created in 2004, the MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to poor countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting democratic rights.

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