13 February 2013

Liberia: Finance Minister - MCC Compact Would Bring More Investments in Liberia

Finance Minister Amara Konneh has said the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact of the United States Government would bring more investment to Liberia. The MCC is an innovative and independent United States foreign assistance agency that is helping to lead the fight against poverty.

It was created by the U.S Congress in 2004. The MCC forms partnerships with some of the world's poorest countries. It provides countries that are well-performing in the areas of good governance, economic freedom and investment in their citizens a large-scale grant to find solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth.

The MCC comprises of two primary types of grants, including MCC compacts and the Threshold Program. It can be recalled that late year, the Government of Liberia (GOL) announced that it had reached several indicators for eligibility of the MCC Compact funding. Minister Konneh stated that government will ensure that the MCC's investment have a 'maximum impact' on the country's economy.

He spoke on Friday, February 8, 2013 at a news conference marking the climax of the MCC's first mission to Liberia.

He said government would spend the next 18 months "working hard" to ensure that Liberia earns the appropriate and needed investment. The Finance Ministry boss indicated that Liberia passed ten (10) out of twenty (20) indicators to be eligible for the MCC's compact funding.

Before the investment is realized, Minister Konneh pointed out that the Compact exercise is a process that is very difficult. According to him, the Ministry of Finance and the entire taskforce on the Compact Development would immediately commence work in order to develop a compact program with the MCC. Speaking further, Minister Konneh disclosed that the Liberian government has not yet identified any area of specialization for the U.S. government MCC compact funding to Liberia.

He said government would undertake investment projects that would benefit its citizens. "Today, draws a close to the MCC's first mission to Liberia, in developing our compact with them. This mission is important because Liberia, for the first time in December, passed ten out of twenty MCC indicators-showing great progress across economic freedoms, investing in people and ruling justly.

Because of this progress, we are now eligible to develop a compact program with the MCC," he indicated. He continued: "If we get the design right, the MCC will make a significant investment in our country. And so, we have to work hand in hand with the MCC to make sure we do get the design right. We are at the beginning of this process. This is a very difficult process before the investment is realized. It is not a day or year thing; this is a long term relationship."

Minister Konneh added: "It will take time for us to see the investment on the ground. I would therefore like to thank the team from Washington for coming to Monrovia, to get to understand our country and see what progress we have made and the challenges we face." For her part, the Vice President for Policy and Evaluation at the MCC, Madam Sheila Herrling, disclosed that Liberia is among 25 countries eligible for the MCC compact funding. She said the eligibility of the country is "good news that must be embraced by every Liberia."

She stated that it is "not really easy" for a country to qualify for MCC compact and as such, the qualification of Liberia worth commendation. Madam Herrling added that efforts made by government to pass ten (10) indicators of the MCC compact must be congratulated. She, however, expressed the hope that the MCC compact's investment would benefit every Liberian.She reaffirmed her government's commitment to working with the GOL and its citizens.

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