Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:30-12:00
Speaker: Ambassador John Danilovich CEO for MCC
Panelists: Rodney Bent: Deputy CEO
Sherri Kraham: Managing Director for Policy
Jake Stefanik: Director for Legislative Affairs
Ambassador Danilovich began by giving a brief overview of the happenings within the Millennium Challenge Corporation during the last two and one half years by stating that overall he believes that the MCC has met with the goals outlined for it by the President, the Secretary, and Congress. He continued that the corporation has made many changes within the short period of time that it has been established and briefly mentioned that the corporation has approved processes internally, reorganized activities, and has increased its staff as there were only approximately 150 employees at the corporation’s inception and at the end of this year the corporation will have nearly 300 employees. Danilovich also mentioned the Millennium Challenge Corporation University, in which all of MCA’s participating countries have exchanged information with each other in order to improve their status and to let the MCC know what it can do better to achieve mutual goals, has been successfully established. The MCC currently has eight compacts and will have its ninth will be this summer with Ghana becoming a participant on August 1. Danilovich stated that the MCC is gaining credibility both internationally and within the US drawing attention to the support that Jim Kolbe, Senator Lugar, Senator Martinez and Colin Powell, amongst prominent figures, have given.
Danilovich discussed what he expressed as two positive outcomes of the Board meeting, which was the approval of Ukraine and Philippines in the Threshold Program. The Board approved financing the Anti-Corruption Campaign in Ukraine, a two year initiative, and Philippines have passed the corruption indicator. Ambassador Danilovich was pleased with President Arroyo’s matching the MCC’s $21 million with $19 million.
Danilovich then discussed what he expressed as a negative outcome of the Board meeting, which was the decision to suspend Gambia for the second time from the program due to a lack of political will and commitment on their part. The decision came from a unanimous vote at the Board meeting and has the support of those on Capital Hill, including Congressman Kolbe, as well as the South African press. Ambassador Danilovich clarified that the decision was official suspension, not termination and expressed hope to have Gambia join still.
When asked about the MCC creating a way to support small businesses, Danilovich stated that he agrees that it is important and that within the last few weeks there has been discussion on the subject and that while countries are to create the proposals within their government, the MCC is looking into investing in national and international businesses.
When asked on the coherence within the US government on transforming other countries, Danilovich stated that there has been full cooperation and complete transparency.
The issue of corruption within infrastructure projects was also a concern and Danilovich stated that he agreed that this was an area where concern was merited and stated that vigilance in keeping books, records, and guidelines was the MCC’s approach in order to deal with problems earlier rather than later.
A question was also raised about USAID’s role in the threshold programs and Danilovich commended USAID by stating that they have done an excellent job with all six programs.
When asked about the MCC collaborating with other international donors, Danilovich stated that France and other European countries have expressed interest, particularly in Africa, and gave the example of France working with Senegal on certain projects pertaining to its car industry and urban development.
Panelist Rodney Bent gave a brief overview of the threshold program, which he stated focuses largely on corruption and creating norms and prosecution for corruption.
Panelist Sherri Kraham gave a brief overview of the Natural Resources Indicator and discussed the two newly approved indicators, which are the index of natural resource management and access to land indicator. Fertilization was another indicator that was suggested to her at the meeting.
Jake Stefanik briefly discussed the legislative affairs, stating that the House passed the FY07 Appropriations Bill.
by Megan Shaw