Sierra Leone improves its 2020 MCC performance by two scores 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 November 2020:

The United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Maria Brewer, today called on President Dr Julius Maada Bio, to congratulate his government after passing thirteen out of the twenty Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard indicators for 2020.

In 2019 the Bio-led government passed eleven of the twenty indicators, still a long way to achieving the performance of other African countries that are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in MCC funding support.

Addressing President Bio, Maria Brewer said: “Thank you, Mr President, for seeing us this morning and I have the honour and privilege to formally hand over to you the scorecard and to congratulate the government and people of Sierra Leone for passing not just the scorecard but actually passing 13 of the indicators.

“By passing two additional indicators from last year as well as increasing your control of corruption score to 81% from 79% last year, you do us proud. So, congratulations Mr President,” she said.

This is the best performance Sierra Leone has ever scored on the MCC scorecard since it was created sixteen years ago.

Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who supervises the activities of the Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit in the country, said the MCC team have worked very hard in the last twelve months to achieve this performance.

Receiving the scorecard, President Bio thanked the American Ambassador and the MCC for what he called a more objective evaluation of his government’s performance.

“As a country, we are happy for this progress, especially as it relates to energy and water, which are very important components. The threshold programme of the MCC has been of great help and we hope that the foundation laid by this programme will actually help us in those two sectors,” President Bio said.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent US foreign assistance agency established in 2004 to work towards alleviating poverty. Its core principles include: competitive selection, country led solutions, country led implementation and a focus on results.

Since 2016, Sierra Leone has been implementing a $44.4 million Threshold Programme to improve the financial viability of the electricity and water sectors in Sierra Leone. The programme will conclude on 31st March 2021.

Understanding the MCC Scorecard

The scorecard is made up of 20 indicators in 3 broad categories: economic freedom, investing in people and ruling justly. The scorecard is compiled annually using data from third party assessing institutions such as UNESCO, World Bank, Freedom House, WHO and Heritage Foundation. The Government does not submit any information directly to MCC that affects the outcome of the scorecard.

In the case of indicators like Control of Corruption, Rule of Law, and Government Effectiveness, these are based on aggregated data compiled by the World Bank- World Governance Indicators (WGI) which includes a combination of household surveys, desk reviews and perception surveys. For instance to use an example we are familiar with in Sierra Leone,  in the Afrobarometer Report (a sub-source for the World Bank World Governance Indicators)  there is a survey question  titled “trust in the presidency,”  this is an input for the Control of Corruption indicator following a rationalization of the response to ensure comparability.

Not every question asked in the survey is considered by WGI, including questions like the overall perception of corruption in the country. The point is, there are many parameters, many sub sources that are used to calculate an indicator like control of corruption. In the case of Sierra Leone, there are about 12 sub sources used with over 50 questions considered.

The year when the data is collected is reflected in the scorecard for each indicator. For a country to pass the scorecard, they must meet the following minimum criteria:

Pass at least half of the indicators (10); pass the hard hurdle of control of corruption; pass the hard hurdle of democratic rights (must pass either civil liberties or political rights); pass at least one indicator in each category.

To pass most indicators, a country should perform above the median, which is established within their income category. In the case of Sierra Leone, the income category is Lower Income category. To pass an indicator, you have to perform above the median.

There are other indicators like inflation that have a maximum score. A country must perform below that maximum score of 15% in this case in order to pass the inflation indicator.

Essentially, this suggests that performance on the scorecard is relative, depending on how other countries score, the median may go up or down from year to year.  This also implies that the median moves from year to year, so it is incumbent on the Government to set targets that ensure that they will comparatively continue to perform better than other countries.

Analysis on the FY2021 scorecard

The scorecard that will be released on 9th November 2020 is entitled “FY 2021” scorecard. This year, Sierra Leone passed an additional two indicators, passing a total of 13 indicators on the scorecard. The two new additions include immunization rates and inflation. 13 passed indicators is the highest Sierra Leone has ever scored on the MCC scorecard since the scorecard was created.

This is also the first time that Sierra Leone has passed the scorecard for two years in a row. Further, in the Mano River Union, Sierra Leone is the second best performer, with Cote d’Ivoire passing only one more indicator than Sierra Leone has.

In the case of Control of Corruption, Sierra Leone has not only passed this indicator for the past three years, it has also made steady progress. In 2017, Sierra Leone was at the 49th percentile (failing the indicator), then started to pass; 71st percentile in 2018, 79th percentile in 2019 and 81st percentile in 2020.

Sierra Leone is amongst the top 10 performers on control of corruption in its income category.

In the area of education, Sierra Leone has made great progress on primary education expenditure from spending less than 1% in 2017. After the F&Q education initiative was launched, Sierra Leone has improved by more than 200% on this indicator, with current expenditure at 2.99% of GDP.

Sierra Leone is amongst the three highest investors in primary education in West Africa. Sierra Leone has also moved from scoring about 80-84% on immunization rates over the last five years to reaching 94% immunization rates this year for measles and DPT 3 (Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus).

Selection process

Based on performance on the scorecard, a country can either be selected for a threshold program or compact program. Sierra Leone is currently implementing a Threshold program. Even though a country passes the scorecard, it does not necessarily mean that they will be selected for a compact. Other factors such as performance on previous programs with MCC, available funds and the pool of other countries that pass the scorecard all impact MCC’s selection process. Further, selection is made by the MCC Board which is chaired by the US Secretary of State.  MCC is a member of the Board.

13 Comments

  1. As a Sierra Leonean I find the whole idea of being judged by outsiders a diabolical national disgrace, it means we cannot set our own progressive standards and adhere to them. It is an emphatic statement that we never gained our independence almost sixty years ago, and by the look of things we may still be told by foreigners how to run our affairs forty years hence. My poor arithmetic tells me that that will bring us to a century without any sense of direction – a complete lack of national pride.

    The most depressing thing about it all is that we seem to have gone so backward in our thinking that we now see the very ills which keep us down as normal. What else can explain why official corruption, the main source of our predicament, is just as potent now as it was under Earnest Koroma? Nearly every other day we hear about billions of Leones going missing in government departments under the nose of Maada Bio. Belatedly the Bio government refused to allow an audit of Covid-19 accounts. When The Right Honourable Ngevao accused Parliament of being corrupt the well known corrupt Abass Bundu, speaker of the house, suspended him. What has Maada Bio and his ACC done about it?

    For as long as we continue to behave so stupidly, foreigners and foreign institutions will continue to tell us what to do – making infants out of us. Will any leader ever emerge to stem the tide of our stupidity for as long as we keep alternating APC and SLPP in power?

  2. It’s rather unfortunate that some destructive and delusional APC supporters are now attacking the integrity of our esteemed USA Ambassador Mrs Maria Brewer. She is just presenting the facts based on data from different international organizations which supposed to lift the sprint of all patriotic Sierra Leoneans around the world. She has nothing to gain or lose by stating the reality, because the only benefactors are our citizens because finally there is light at the end of the tunnel which is a morale and self esteem booster.

    I understand that this wonderful news has wreacked havoc on the shattered spines of most of the destructive APC propagandists , but I will advise them to crawl back with their running nose and do some thumb sucking and sobbing just to pacify themselves instead of attacking our first Krio speaking American Ambassador. May the Almighty continue to bless our president and our citizens for their hard work.

  3. Did the Bio SLPP kakistocracy scored on “Politcal Rights”? That is an insult to many Sierra Leoneans including myself. What a messed up and ridiculous MCC scorecard. Botched up stuff indeed. Ladies and Gentlemen read this – https://www.mcc.gov/who-we-select/scorecard/fy-2020/SL.

    Is the ambassador truly resident in the country? Has she been following the barbarity and gross human rights violations on the vulnerable. marginalized and opposition parties and their supporters happening in the country, since the Bio SLPP kakistocracy came to power? Frankly speaking, it’s all optics without substance by the U.S. Ambassador. Anyway, we live in an era of alternative facts instead of the reality, which will end very soon. God bless Democracy, the Republic of Sierra Leone and America.

  4. “Inflation under control”? Really? What are you talking about Mr vic? Please explain to me Mr Vic what that means. Again, you mean selective justice on corruption? Reply to my questions as quickly as you possibly can Mr Vic. You don’t just pop in and say all sorts of things on this glorious platform. You will be confronted with fact checking if other forumites find your points a bit blurred. I want us to go in front of the debate panel and discuss your points. God bless Mr Vic.

  5. No, I do not read too much into the show of the MCC scorecard. In my view the celebrated occasion is symbolic of the thoughtful school teacher in a classroom lacking behavior, Maria Brewer being the teacher and the government of Sierra Leone being the classroom. The teacher came up one day with a model to begin to praise the students whose behaviors need to be corrected. Two students are selected to be praised. The teacher invited the Parents, guardians and friends to assemble in the school’s auditorium to present a certificate.

    Sierra Leone is a failed state. The US ambassador knows that fact. Believe you me, they know what’s up, speaking of not only Maria, but the entire diplomatic missions do not want to engage in beating a dead horse. They’ve carefully chosen this psychological model of positive reinforcements, such like it’s done in western schools, to transform students noticed with behavior problems to approach failed governments.

    The MCC score card is a symbol along the lines, a shout out for the repealing of the seditious criminal libel laws, maybe, the free education, to do more and better. It’s letting the Bio government to know that the international community is watching them and clearly identifying specific behaviors. In my opinion.

    • I honestly think if these western governments want to help us develop our countries, they will encourage private businesses to invest in Africa, which is the only sure way to lift people out of poverty . I mean education and transfer of technology. And offering scholarships for young people to study abroad, that will eventually come back and impart their knowledge to local communities. President Trump has been in office for four years, but never once thought of visiting an African country. When Western leaders visit countries they take with them business leaders to make a sales pitch for their companies.

      Until and unless our leaders realised we have to work hard to improve our lot and no one will come to our aid, our future will always depend on the goodwill of others like the IMF. The future of our country is in our hands. One of the ways we can do that is by, respecting the rule of law, human rights, property rights, a free press, an independent judiciary, respecting the norms of democratic values, like elections results, tackling corruption and tribalism, investing in education, health care, infrastructure, power supply, and above all else guarantee security for everyone.

  6. Thanks Mr Vic for pointing out my ignorance about what this Bio government has done for our country since coming to power. My ignorance of what the Bio government is doing to improve the quality of life for citizens of our country are informed by facts not fiction. For all I can see is political vendetta, and tribal division in the country is rife. You got one half of the population thinking government is not working for them, and the other half basking in glory and heaping praise on the president and his incompetent government ministers. I respect your point of view, and the point of view of every Sierra Leonean.

    I suppose we all want long term, and tangible developments take place in our country. We might be looking at the same lens about this government performance, but we have different interpretation. I respect that. Sometimes we Sierra Leoneans have to learn to agree to disagree. But that doesn’t invalidate your point of view, it contributes to the ongoing national debate, on how to develop our country, that is blessed with vast human and natural resources, yet infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. It’s good like you, many parents have benefited from the flagship free education.

    You should count your lucky stars. The vast majority of people are not so lucky. Our roads are diabolical. Everyday people die from them. Electricity, health care, human rights, respect for the rule of law and free press is in a state of flux. If you read my previous postings, you will notice I always welcome the president on his flagship free education for our children. Sometimes where the government get things right, you should accord them praise. Just before I go further, I will just caution you, on your posting asking whether I am blessed with children? On that point, I want to remind you never to ask a Fulani, or your fellow African man if they have children. That’s a none starter.

  7. Congratulations Mr Bio, some of us are very greatful for your wonderful works in the country. God bless you sir.

  8. This is a disgrece to the so-called international partners who presented the messed up MCC scorecard to president Bio when we the masses are undergoing complete suffering due to the poor leadership strategies of maada Bio. How can you rate such a government to pass MCC scorecard under a situation wherein journalists were beaten at national stadium in the watch of the president. Police brutality to the citizens, rampart arrests of opposition leaders, killings at mile 91, tonko limba, pandemba road maximum prison, lunsarr town, tombo town, makeni city for generator and so many more.

    The government refusal to account for the covid-19 funds entrusted to them on behalf of we the masses. So under which parameters you rated such failing government? So those that are party to provoke us Sierra Leoneans by giving such scores to an undeserving government will face punishment by the Almighty Allah one day.

    Those who brought that provocative MCC scorecard to us Sierra Leoneans, you are very insincere, dishonest to the highest degree. God will surely punish you all.

  9. Congratulations to you His Excellency and your team also to the people of Sierra Leone for this great achievement. Really we want to see corruption and poverty to be a thing of the past.

  10. This is wonderful news for Sierra Leone. The new direction government is focused on transforming our country and by the grace of the Almighty, our country will continue to rise again.

  11. We can’t read too much into this score card. It’s a shame our international development partners are treating our government like primary school children learning their alphabets. Can you imagine a world, where the Sierra Leonean ambassador to Washington, presenting the Sierra Leone government score card assessment of Trump’s presidency in the last four years? Tweeter will have to expand its characters with an explicit warning.

    Although the MCC is independent of the American government, they set this good governance bench marks for reason. And it only applies to countries where corruption, and nepotism is rife. And to be honest Bio and his government deserve all the disrespect they get from our willing international helpers with a broad smile. There is a long way to go to meet the challenges facing us under Bio. Youth unemployment, health, education, good roads, corruption, supply of electricity, respect for the rule of law, an independent judiciary and respect for a FREE PRESS.

    These are all issues that have taken a nose dive under president Bio. To make a clear judgement, ask yourself has your life improved under Bio, or you are still waiting for the broken promises he will never deliver. If you want to know the answer, just look at your neighbours and see what have changed for them.

    • Mr Jalloh,i don’t think you are familiar with the various government programs going on the country right now.This government has worked on corruption so much than the previous APC.Maybe you dont have children or children you are taking care of.But for some of us free education implemented by this current administration has helped a lot.Electricity is better than 2 years back.Inflation is under control. criminal libel squashed as was promised. Now the biggest thing that this government has done for me personally and for many others is the publication of the NEW SERVICE GAZETTE for us in the INGO sector.So don’t be surprised if you see me writing such beautiful piece,praising this government.

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