Millennium Challenge Corporation partners with government to reduce poverty in Belize

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Posted: Friday, March 18, 2022. 11:03 a.m. CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize has found another source of potential development funds – the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent agency of the US government whose mission is to reduce poverty through economic growth.

His delegation, led by CEO Alice Albright, agreed to an initial analysis of the constraints to Belize’s economic growth and consulted with 30 different groups and agencies virtually and in person.

Over time, fifteen billion dollars have been deployed in twenty-nine countries and have helped approximately two hundred and fifteen million people during this period.

Alice Albright described the next steps: “In terms of timing, compact development typically requires two to three years of development and planning before a formal grant agreement is signed. We will make every effort to try to follow this process quickly. However, commitment to this process helps minimize the risk of limitation. Throughout, we ensure input from all important stakeholders, and in doing so, we will set the program in place for success in the future. »

The money will be in the form of grants rather than loans.

On Wednesday, a first agreement was signed with Prime Minister John Briceño for the initial administrative expenses necessary to facilitate the development of the compact. The one point five million dollar funding will ensure that the GOB and MCC have access to technical expertise to conduct a rigorous assessment of the country’s economic situation. This process began earlier this year when vacancies were advertised.

Jonathan Brooks, Assistant Vice President, Compact Operations, said, “This funding is intended to help support the establishment of the team that is working with MCC on program development. The Government of Belize has been very quick in already starting to hire the team and this funding is helping to sustain the team which will now be expanded with specialists.

Dr Osmond Martinez, CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development, added: “This project would have a program coordinator, an economics, social inclusion and gender mainstreaming specialist, a sector development specialist private sector, an environmental and social performance specialist, a public and stakeholder outreach specialist, an engagement specialist and an administrative assistant Most of you may have seen him in late January and early February, we announced all these messages.

How and why was Belize selected? According to Albright, our name has appeared in regular discussion reviews of countries we already work with, and we scored highly on the democratic characteristics that MCC deems necessary for success. More importantly, in part due to the pandemic, Belize has slipped from the ranks of middle-income countries to the lower tier, bringing it within reach of MCC’s domain of assistance.

But the idea is to reduce the poverty numbers in Belize and, ironically, lift us out of poverty. Chargé d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones spoke of a new phase of partnership between Belize and the United States beyond current security concerns: “…we will be doing very deliberate partnership work on building the prosperity. The U.S. Embassy has been very active in citizen security, the security sector, and the justice sector with a number of news skills and investigative journalism. And so traditionally we have focused on those areas and that with the new frontier of the concerted effort to work through the Millennium Challenge Corporation to identify areas where prosperity can be boosted, where the economy can be lifted to improve inclusive growth.

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