By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Dan Barnes, Managing Director for Selection, Eligibility and Policy Performance at the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) has disclosed to newsmen that the scoreboard is an important tool that MCC’s Board uses to asses a country’s commitment to statutory criteria, but it is not the only aspect the Board considers.
Barnes said the Board also considers a country’s broader, ongoing commitment to the principles of democratic governance that underpin the scorecard, which include combatting corruption, protecting democratic rights, holding peace, free and fair elections, fostering economic opportunities and investing in health, education, and the environment.
Barnes was making his statement during a Media Round Table date on MCC’s engagement in Sierra Leone and the publication of the latest scorecard for the 2023 financial year. The Media Round Table date was held on Friday, November 4th, 2022 at the United States Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He however mentioned that MCC was pleased to see Sierra Leone continue to pass the MCC scorecard this year, maintaining that it was a testament to years of sustained work across multiple administrations to strengthen Sierra Leone’s performance on the MCC Scorecard.
Director Barnes noted that when determining a country’s eligibility for an MCC grant, MCC Board of Directors is required to access country’s commitment of principles of economic growth, poverty reduction through the MCC Scorecard – a report from 20 policy indicators from independent, third party institutions to transparently and objectively measures a country’s commitment to good governance, social investment and economic freedom.
“This year, MCC revised two indicators. It was done as part of an annual review process to review the scorecard indicators and ensure we are using the highest quality data and methodologies available. Specifically we replaced the previous Business Start-Up indicator with a new indicator called Employment Opportunity, which measure disability rights, forced labour, workplace discrimination, and the ability of Civil Society Organizations to start up”.
Barnes said they also revised the data source and methodology for the Natural Resource Protection indicator. He said using new data sources for the two indicators means that this year’s scorecard is not directly comparable to last year’s scorecard.
He acknowledged that when technical changes occur, they impact all countries that receive MCC scorecards and may cause some countries to newly pass or fail indicators due to those technical changes. “MCC’s Board is aware of this dynamic and takes it into account for all countries when determining country selection.
Ambassador Reimer said MCC compacts are partnership, noting that to be eligible for the compact Sierra Leone must continue to meet their obligations as partners. “One of those obligations is to maintain high scores across a minimum number of categories of the Scorecard.
He intimated that the MCC has already completed a successful $44.4 million programmee in Sierra Leone, which focused on delivering water and electricity services more effectively and more transparently in the Freetown area.
Jason Small, MCC Africa Director revealed that MCC and the Government of Sierra Leone are partnering to design a potential compact that directly addresses the lack of affordable and reliable electricity among household, businesses, and social institution nationwide – a major constraint to growth.
“We are pleased that the compact development process is going well and we are currently on track for a compact signing in late 2023 – a testament of the good work of the Sierra Leone Compact Development Unit as well as the strength of our partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone”.