Liberia Improves Standing on MCC Scorecard -Scores 9% of the Required 10% Benchmark for 2020

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Assistance from the United States Government to other countries often comes with strings attached. Countries seeking US assistance are required to meet certain criteria policies promoting an environment for economic growth and poverty reduction. Every year the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Compact of which Liberia is a part, publishes scorecards for all candidate countries, including countries such as Liberia with already signed, on-going compacts. The scorecard assesses performance in three policy categories: Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom. This year’s MCC scorecard, which will be officially released today Monday, places Liberia in a more favorable light, as the country has achieved nine percent out of the required ten percent benchmark required in awarding second compacts

According to a communication from the US Embassy near Monrovia to President George M. Weah, the US Government has recognized the leadership and collaboration of the Government of Liberia in accomplishing an array of significant results under the five-year Liberia Compact, which will close on January 20, 2021.

“These achievements include the completion of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Project; increased reliability and access to electricity; a trained and skilled energy workforce and stronger management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation; completion of the five kilometer raw water pipeline from MCHPP to White Plains; establishment of the Liberia Energy Regulatory Commission; and creation of systems to more effectively manage the maintenance of Liberia’s roads,” the letter from US Embassy Chargee d’Affaires, a.i., C. Alyson Grunder stated.

In passing nine out of twenty indicators, as opposed to eight of last year, Liberia came closer to the required passage of ten indicators. Newly passed indicators include Gender in the Economy, which improved from 50th percentile to the 81st percentile; and Rule of Law, which improved from the 50th percentile to the 52nd percentile.

Liberia’s score improved significantly in the Control of Corruption indicator (from 0.00 in 2020 to 0.12 in 2021). The MCC Scorecard shows the great progress the Government has made in its fight against corruption.

For the first time in the history of the MCC Scorecard, Liberia passed the Rule of Law indicator.  Liberia also passed the Gender in the Economy Indicator for the first time in 4 years, and since the methodology changed to include more stringent requirements.

“MCC partner countries are expected to maintain compact eligibility criteria throughout the life of the compact, including passing the scorecards, one of the key requirements considered by MCC in awarding second compacts. Sustained and consistent policy performance is critical, given the inherent time lags in the third-party data MCC uses in the scorecards. Regrettably, Liberia did not pass the scorecard for the third consecutive year, though it improved on last year’s performance,” the US Embassy informed President Weah, noting that the country newly failed the Immunization Rate indicator, which declined from the 54th percentile to the 35th percentile.

Despite the setback, the US Government remains upbeat that Liberia will improve its standing on the MCC scorecard given its proactive engagements.

“We appreciate Liberia’s improved standing on the scorecard and applaud the work of the government’s MCC Eligibility Team Steering Committee to strengthen the flow of data to scorecard indicator institutions. We encourage your government to redouble its efforts to concretely address the policy areas the indicators measure and look forward to improvements being reflected in stronger performances by Liberia on future MCC scorecards,” the US acting Ambassador averred, noting that she and MCC Resident Country Director Kateri Clement are ready to discuss this year’s MCC Scorecard results with President Weah and members of his team.

Meanwhile, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has informed this paper that it will publish its annual Scorecard on November 9.  The MCC Scorecard assesses performance in three policy categories:  Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom. For the Fiscal Year 2021 Scorecard, Liberia passed nine indicators and made significant improvements in several policy areas

“Liberia’s score improved significantly in the Control of Corruption indicator (from 0.00 in 2020 to 0.12 in 2021). The MCC Scorecard shows the great progress the Government has made in its fight against corruption. For the first time in the history of the MCC Scorecard, Liberia passed the Rule of Law indicator,” the MCC noted, while confirming that the country passed the Gender in the Economy Indicator for the first time in four years, and since the methodology changed to include more stringent requirements.

While the Government says it is proud of the gains made by Liberia and acknowledged by the MCC, Liberia is confident of significantly more improvements over the next year,” the government further notes that Liberia newly failed the Immunization Rate Indicator because of the difficulty in reaching communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MCC also noted that Liberia has made important regulatory improvements in Land Rights and Access, which were not captured this year due to the IFC’s decision not to publish the Doing Business Report as it reviews irregularities in its data and work to improve the integrity and impartiality of data.

Liberia is working with UNESCO to improve the quality of its data, which will improve Liberia’s score on the Primary Education Expenditure, which Liberia will pass for the 2021 Scorecard, MCC averred.

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