Breaking News:US Tightens MCC Aid Suspension Against Gambia-Citing “gross rights” abuses and lack of political freedom!
US Millennium Challenge Corporation  MCC Tightens Aid Suspension Against
Gambia!

Latest Case Status Says”Gambia Still Remains  Suspended.”

Gambia Government Official says he welcomes MCC’S Latest case update

Corruption and rights abuses continued to go unabated.

By Our Own Diplomatic Correspondent

The impoverished nation of  The Gambia, has a long way to go, as far as meeting the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation Account (MCC’S)  terms and conditions is concerned.The MCC has just released Gambia’s case status, which according to the MCC still remains the same. Due to the growing official corruption,gross rights abuses, characterized by lack of political and media freedoms, the chances of the former British colony, The Gambia of being admitted into the MCC list of countries qualified for the US fund are bleak.The MCC which had its offices in Washington DC, the nation’s capital, in its recent update on Gambia’s case status , released this past January says” the country was once eligible for an MCC aid program, but its performance on our 16 indicators has dramatically changed rendering that country ineligible for any assistance from the MCC for the time being.”  The MCC has designed four status qualifications for member countries trying to secure the US Fund.
The four status levels are:

  • Compact: the country has signed a Compact agreement with the MCC.
  • Eligible: the country is eligible for MCC compact program assistance, but must complete a compact program proposal to be reviewed by MCC’s Board of Directors.
  • Threshold: the country is eligible for Threshold Program assistance from MCC.
  • Suspended: the country was once eligible for an MCC aid program, but its performance on our 16 indicators has dramatically changed rendering that country ineligible for any assistance from the MCC for the time being.

Scorecard

The scorecard shows the country’s current year performance on our 16 policy indicators. Visit Selection Criteria for previous year performance score cards.

Going by the MCC”S  criteria, The Gambian government has failed to meet the said requirements. For the Jammeh government to benefit from such funds, it must cease the ongoing assault on political and media freedoms in that West African country. The MCC says it uses certain indications to measure a country’s eligibility of the said funds.

In a statement issued June 6TH 2006, the MCC says the move to suspend the Gambia from the MCC program was based on documentary and material evidence it gathered from different sources regarding the ongoing rights violations in the Gambia.” The Board based its decision on documented evidence of human rights abuses and increased restrictions on political rights, civil liberties, and press freedom by the government, as well as worsening economic policies and anti-corruption efforts. The Board considered reports from several organizations to support its decision including: Freedom House, the Heritage Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the State Department.”

MCC’S Chief Executive Officer also supported Gambia’s suspend from the global fund.“The Board’s decision was necessary given the disturbing pattern of deteriorating conditions in eight of the 16 policy categories used to evaluate all candidate countries including The Gambia,” said Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer of MCC. “Continued participation in the Millennium Challenge program requires our partner countries to maintain good policies and is contingent upon adherence to fundamental principles necessary to make progress in their own development.  MCC would welcome the opportunity to consider The Gambia’s reinstatement after the government has taken tangible and significant actions to address the areas of decline and embrace political and economic reforms.”

The Board said the MCC”annually selects countries for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) eligibility from a pool of candidate countries based on each country’s demonstrated commitment in three broad policy categories — “ruling justly,” “investing in people,” and “promoting economic freedom”— as measured by performance on 16 independent policy indicators within their income peer group.”

Meanwhile, the MCC Board has approved Kenya, Uganda Threshold programs.Yemen, which was out of the program has been reinstated.”The Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors today reinstated the eligibility of the Republic of Yemen for participation in MCC’s Threshold Program.”said the MCC statement.

According to the MCC, the government of Yemen has been making significant efforts in governance reform.“Since its suspension in 2005, Yemen has undertaken a series of impressive reforms,” said Ambassador John Danilovich, CEO of the MCC. “In addition to what has been accomplished thus far, the Government of Yemen has made a number of important reform commitments.  Looking at the progress we have been able to document, Yemen has demonstrated its commitment to continuing this reform effort.”

The Threshold Program was designed to assist countries that are on the “threshold,” meaning they have not yet qualified for larger Compact grants, but have demonstrated a significant commitment to improve their performance on the eligibility criteria, according to the MCC. The MCC Board of Directors selects countries for the Threshold Program based on overall performance on 16 policy indicators, as well as countries’ demonstrated ability to undertake reforms.” the statement said.

Gambian Official Reacts!

An official of the Gambian government who wished not to be named told the Freedom Newspaper during the weekend that he was not surprised by the MCC’S latest case update.”As a senior staffer of the Department of State For Finance And Economic Affairs, I can tell you that there is no serious economic and political reforms in this country. Our economy is not moving at all. Corruption and rights abuses continued to go unabated. The MCC’S suspension is just the beginning. Other Developmental partners might follow soon.There is no transparency in this government. The President hijacked the system.The Gambia has once again failed to meet the West African Common Currency agreement. The World Bank is also not impressed by the leadership. This I can tell you. The MCC acted right by suspending The Gambia. It’s a patriotic move and should be welcomed by all sincere and patriotic Gambians. It’s a waste to support a corrupt government like that of the Jammeh regime.”said the Finance Ministry official.

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Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, April 25, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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