Recently Sierra Leone was announced last year by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States Government to be eligible for Compact Programme, having passed twelve out of twenty performance indicators used by the MCC to assess developing countries in the areas of good governance, economic freedom and investment in their citizens.
Under the Compact programme, Sierra Leone stands to benefit up to Six Hundred Million dollars towards projects aimed at stimulating growth and reducing poverty.
Today 29th January 2013, His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma held an inaugural meeting with ministers and members of the MCC Coordinating Office, headed by Mr. Mamoud Idriss to develop a strategic framework for the development of the Compact.
According to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma government must be very clear on the messages sent out to development partners in terms of priority lists for ministries. He urged the ministers to desist from sending out sectorial messages and focus on one message which is the government's key message of energy and continued infrastructural development.
During the presentation, issues like the MCC and Global Poverty Reduction were looked at in respect of how MCC promotes partnership with poorer countries that are committed to the principles of: Good Governance, Economic Freedoms and Investment in Citizens.
Moreover, the journey taken so far to meet the MCC in terms of scorecard performance was also looked at, spanning the period 2008 to 2012 and the number of indicators passed.
In 2008, Sierra Leone passed 7. In 2009, the number of indicators passed was 8, and in 2009, the country passed 9. In 2010, Sierra Leone passed 9, in 2011, we dropped to 7 and went up again to 12, and it is expected that Sierra Leone will pass 13 of the indicators this year.
Furthermore, the MCC Compact and Threshold status were also looked at as the Compact status qualifies Sierra Leone to access an average of $385 million (Three Hundred and Eighty Five Million Dollars), which is a large five-year grant for countries like Sierra Leone that passed the MCC's eligibility criteria.
The average grant given to countries that have Threshold status is $20 million (Twenty Million Dollars). This is for those countries committed to improving their policy performance.
The principles of Compact Development were also analysed as countries developing compacts should definitely keep a number of key principles in mind, such as, Smart Public Policy, Focused Compact Investments, Partnership and Country Ownership, Poverty Reduction through Economic Growth and Achieving Sustainable Results.
The MCC Compact Development Overview was opened up and we are currently at the first phase, which involves initial analysis in terms of naming a Compact Development Coordinator, to constitute core team, carry out constraint analysis and stakeholders consultations.