Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Reviewing the Millennium Challenge Account
Hyde’s Wednesday Hearing to Examine the Millennium Challenge Account’s Effectiveness

 BACKGROUND:  Madagascar became the first country to enter into an aid agreement, known as a Compact, with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on April 18, 2005.  MCC manages the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the multibillion dollar U.S. foreign aid initiative announced by President Bush in March 2002.  The concept for the MCA is rooted in the premise that economic development succeeds best where it is linked to free market economic and democratic principles and policies, and where governments are committed to implementing reform measures to achieve such goals.  The MCC also notified Congress that Compact negotiations are underway with Georgia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Cape Verde, and that final agreements could result in the coming weeks.  To encourage non-qualifying countries to improve in weak areas, the United States will help governments that are committed to reform to strengthen performance so they would be more competitive for MCA funding in future years.  Currently, the MCA has approximately $2.5 billion in unspent funds.  The Madagascar Compact is a four-year, $110 million program, focusing on rural agriculture development and poverty reduction.  With only a small fraction of the appropriated funds currently being used, there is concern that the MCC is moving at too slow a pace and not granting enough to effectively aid the development of these nations.  Wednesday’s hearing will examine these concerns and means to increase the MCA’s effectiveness.

WHAT:                  Full Committee Hearing:
                               Millennium Challenge Account:  Does the Program Match the Vision?

                               U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

WHEN:                 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 27, 2005

WHERE:               Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:       Panel I
                              Paul V. Applegarth
, Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation;
                              Panel II
                              Steven Radelet
, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development;
                              David Gootnick, M.D.,
Director, International Affairs and Trade Team, Government Accountability Office

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