My name is Alicia Phillips Mandaville, and I am the Vice President of Policy and Evaluation at the United States Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, or MCC.
I want to thank President Ghazouani for his hospitality and for what I think was a very productive conversation on the next steps as the U.S. Government, through MCC, pursues a new partnership with Mauritania.
I also would like to take the opportunity to thank Minister of Economic Affairs and Productive Sectors, Ousmane Mamoudou Kane, for all of the support he has and will provide to MCC as we embark on threshold program development.
Since 2004, MCC has partnered with 49 countries around the world, investing roughly $15 billion in grant funding towards programs to boost economic growth and reduce poverty in low and lower-middle income countries. Those investments are expected to benefit nearly 215 million people.
The past December, MCC’s Board of Directors selected Mauritania as eligible for threshold program assistance, noting its positive trajectory of reform on the MCC scorecard and the steps it has started to take to address trafficking in persons and hereditary slavery. MCC looks forward to seeing the government continue its ongoing reform efforts as we begin our partnership through the threshold program.
Threshold programs are grants focused on policy and institutional reform in selected countries that come close to passing MCC’s eligibility criteria and show a firm commitment to improving their policy performance.
This visit is part of our initial engagement with the Government of Mauritania to learn how we can work together to strengthen the country’s policy performance and address development needs for the people of Mauritania by creating the conditions for inclusive, sustained growth.
The next step is a three-to-four-month analysis to identify the binding constraints to economic growth in the country. That analysis will be conducted jointly by MCC and the Government of Mauritania and will seek input from the private sector and civil society groups.
We will be very eager to hear a range of views from across society on what the most binding constraints to growth are in Mauritania. During the upcoming weeks a technical team from MCC will be working with Government, civil society, and the private sector to understand what these constraints are so that together we can build an impactful program for the people of Mauritania.
This visit is one of the first steps in what we hope will be a long and fruitful partnership.
Again, I offer my thanks to President Ghazouani and to the people of Mauritania for your generous hospitality.
Thank you, merci, shukran.