Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 November 2021:
The US government backed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has published its 2022 Scorecard which assesses the performance of countries that are receiving or expecting to receive financial support for development.
On Monday 8 November 2021, President Dr Julius Maada Bio received his official copy of the 2022 MCC Scorecard from U.S. ambassador David Reimer, which shows Sierra Leone recording its third consecutive pass after its first year of Compact Development.
But for many Sierra Leoneans the report has left many questions unanswered, amid much confusion as to the accuracy of the results.
Established in 2004, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is a US government’s foreign assistance program designed to reduce poverty in developing countries through sustainable economic growth. Every year, the MCC Board of Directors meets to select countries as eligible to develop a proposal for MCA assistance. MCC’s assistance offers selected countries an opportunity to identify their own priorities for achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Once selected as eligible, a country conducts an economic analysis and undertakes the process of developing a proposal for funding in broad consultation with its own citizens.
MCC teams work in partnership with eligible countries to refine their compact proposals in order to ensure the programs’ focus on poverty reduction through sustainable economic growth. Proposed compacts also describe how the country plans to manage and implement its MCA program, including how it will ensure financial accountability, transparency, and fair and open procurement, as well as how it will measure results.
What is the MCC 2022 Country Performance Scorebook?
The 2022 Country Performance Scorebook is the nineteenth publication of country performance data since the establishment of MCC. According to the MCC, the Scorebook presents information on country performance on independent and transparent indicators developed by third-parties that measure countries’ demonstrated commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in the people of a country, and economic freedom. These indicators inform the Board of Directors, MCC staff, Congress, and the Administration of candidate countries’ broad policy framework for encouraging poverty reduction through economic growth.
The MCC says it hopes this can also be a tool for citizens, civil society organizations, journalists, the private sector, and governments around the world to monitor performance and advocate for continued policy reform.
This year’s Scorebook includes data on 81 countries (66 candidates and 15 countries that meet the income parameters for candidacy but are statutorily prohibited from receiving assistance), including countries that were eligible in previous years for compact or threshold assistance. A country is determined to be a candidate for MCA funding if its per capita income falls within predetermined parameters set by Congress and if it is not subject to certain restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance.
In selecting compact and threshold eligible countries, MCC’s Board evaluates: 1) candidate countries’ performance on the policy indicators, 2) the opportunity for economic growth and poverty reduction, and 3) the availability of funds. If MCC has worked with a country on a previous threshold program or compact, MCC’s Board also takes into consideration performance on the initial program.
The 2022 Country Performance Scorebook measures performance on the policy criteria mandated in MCC’s authorizing legislation. By using information collected from independent third-party sources, MCC’s country selection process allows for an objective, comparable analysis across candidate countries.
The following indicators are measured by MCC in the three categories of Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom.
With a population of 7,977,000 and Gross National Income Per Capita of $490, So how well has Sierra Leone performed?
THIS IS SIERRA LEONE’S PERFORMANCE SCORECARD
Encouraging Economic Freedom
These indicators measure the extent to which a government encourages economic freedom, including a demonstrated commitment to economic policies that: encourage individuals and firms to participate in global trade and international capital markets, promote private sector growth and the sustainable management of natural resources, and strengthen market forces s in the economy:
Fiscal Policy Score 27%
Inflation Score 18%
Regulatory Quality Score 44%
Trade Policy Score 51%
Gender in the Economy Score 36%
Land Rights and Access Score 40%
Access to Credit Score 24%
Business Start-Up Score 71%
These indicators measure just and democratic governance, including a country’s demonstrated commitment to promoting political pluralism, equality, and the rule of law; respecting human and civil rights; protecting private property rights; encouraging transparency and accountability of government; and combating corruption:
Political Rights Score 92%
Civil Liberties Score 92%
Government Effectiveness Score 40%
Rule of Law Score 63%
Freedom of Information Score 90%
Control of Corruption Score 83%
Investing in People
These indicators measure investments in the promotion of broad-based primary education, strengthened capacity to provide quality public health, the reduction of child mortality, and the sustainable management of natural resources:
Health Expenditures Score 61%
Primary Education Expenditures Score 92%
Natural Resource Protection Score 58%
Immunization Rates Score 74%
Girls’ Primary Education Completion Rate Score 67%
Child Health Score 17%
SO WHAT OVERALL CONCLUSION CAN BE MADE FROM THOSE MCC SCORES?
President Bio’s SLPP government has been in power since 2018, and there is no doubt there has been some progress in the country, especially in prioritising basic education across the country.
But what many in Sierra Leone would find rather shocking, are the more than average scores given to the government by the MCC for its performance on Political Rights (Score 92%); Civil Liberties (Score 92% ); Rule of Law (Score 63%); Freedom of Information (Score 90%); and Control of Corruption (Score 83%).
Although the MCC quite rightly gave the government a deserving low mark of 40% on “Government Effectiveness”, serious questions are being raised as to how the government could have received those very high Ruling Justly scores, after the government’s appalling display of human rights abuses – the killing of dozens of unarmed prisoners at Pademba Road in Freetown, the killing in cold blood of several protesting youths in Makeni and Tombo, as well as shutting down of the political space by creating political tension in the country.
The government’s appalling performance in administering and delivering justice, its poor performance in enforcing law and order, as well as the massive electoral malpractices seen in Sierra Leone since 2018 which the European Union commented upon recently, should have sounded alarm bells for the MCC to take serious note.
For more information regarding the Millennium Challenge Scorecard please click here: