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Archive for April, 2012

MCC’s Inaugural Forum on Global Development

Monday, April 30th, 2012
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On April 25, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) held its inaugural “Forum on Global Development,” at the George Washington University (GWU) Jack Morton Auditorium, featuring an awards presentation that recognized an exemplary partner corporation, partner country, and individual partner. The event also included a brief panel discussion, several short speeches, and video presentations from Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council; Michael Gerson, op-ed columnist for The Washington Post; and Sheila Herrling, MCC’s Vice President for Policy and Evaluation.

In his opening remarks, Daniel Yohannes, CEO of MCC, presented the case for the MCC’s development model, explaining that since it began in 2004, the MCC has been on the cutting edge of development reform insofar as it has always held partner countries to high standards and demanded that its investments show a positive return. Frank Sesno, the moderator of the event and CNN Correspondent, reiterated Yohannes sentiments, claiming that while much of the day’s news is “dominated by backsliding and conflict, the MCC’s efforts represent what’s right about the world.” He emphasized the role of social media and technology, pointing out that the younger generation is capable of informing and mobilizing large groups of people through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He said that the success of development efforts often hinges on what he called “the power of story,” the use of narrative to inspire people to action.

Rep. David Drier (R-CA) spoke on the successes of the House Democracy Partnership, which he has spearheaded since its inception in 2005.  The House Democracy Partnership collaborates with sixteen developing countries to help strengthen democratic institutions.  The Congressman praised the MCC for not being as wasteful as past U.S. foreign aid programs, and said that “international development is one of the most exciting areas of U.S. foreign policy.”  He also mentioned that the Arab Spring could represent a great opportunity for MCC to do more extensive work in the Middle East and North Africa.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wollin presented the MCC’s Corporate Award to Visa Inc. and spoke briefly on the potential of e-banking to drive economic growth in the developing world. Accepting the award, Visa’s Global Head of Corporate Relations, Doug Michelman, styled himself as the “unapologetic capitalist” of the event and explained that Visa’s interest in improving access to financial services in the developing world is both philanthropic and business-minded in nature.  He said that “people have a right to high quality financial tools,” and that Visa is doing its best to extend its services to everyone on the planet, noting that an important aspect of Visa’s development strategy is recognizing that needs and solutions to problems are often local in nature.   

Ritu Sharma, co-founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide and an MFAN Principal, presented the MCC’s Country Commitment Award to representatives of Mongolia. She praised MCC’s focus on gender integration and development, saying that it has already led many nations to focus on promoting gender equality.

Lastly, MCC’s Next Generation Award was presented to Johnny Dorsey, founder of FACE AIDS and the Global Health Corps, by actress Minka Kelly with remarks from Michael Elliott, President and CEO of ONE. Elliot praised Dorsey, saying that his generation is “both terrifying and inspiring.”  He concluded by saying he has tremendous hope in young people to solve issues related to global poverty. Dorsey spoke of the importance of mobilizing today’s youth in order to solve the problems of poverty and disease.  He said that not only are young people doing good work today, but the fact that they are inspired to solve these problems means that as they gradually become the next generation’s leaders, they will remain committed to alleviating poverty and improving health worldwide. He closed by saying that in today’s world it should be considered unacceptable for so many people to die prematurely because of a lack of access to basic medical services.


Mark Your Calendars — Week of April 30, 2012

Friday, April 27th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events:


MFAN and USAID Co-Host Event on Procurement Reform

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
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The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and

the United States Agency for International Development invite you to…

Implementation and Procurement Reform:

The Liberian Perspective


Minister Amara Mohamed Konneh, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning

Steve Radelet, USAID Chief Economist

Introductory remarks by:

George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair

Tuesday, April 24th

2:00 – 3:00 pm

National Press uilding, 529 14th St NW, 7th Floor

Please join MFAN and USAID for a discussion on Implementation and Procurement Reform from a partner country perspective. Given the role of country ownership in current aid reform efforts, this is an opportunity to discuss government-to-government partnerships and IPR-related issues from this important perspective.

Please RSVP by Monday, April 25th to

*Space is limited*

About Minister Amara Mohamed Konneh: In 2008, Amara Mohamed Konneh was sworn in as the 16th Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs of the Republic of Liberia. He joined the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MPEA) after serving as Deputy Minister of State for Policy and Communications. Before that, Minister Konneh spent more than a decade working with development foundations and as a policy and financial systems analyst at the Vanguard Group of Investment Companies in Pennsylvania, United States. Minister Konneh is a core member of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Economic Management Team and is the coordinator of Liberia’s development strategy.


Mark Your Calendars — Week of April 23, 2012

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
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Every Thursday, MFAN will post a list of upcoming events for the following week. For more information about each event and to RSVP, click on the links below. If your organization is hosting an event next week and you don’t see yourself on the list, please email

See below for a list of MFAN Partner events:


How to Keep Score when Donors Make Promises

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
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This blog post was written by MFAN Partner Gregory Adams, director of aid effectiveness at Oxfam America. The post originally appeared on Oxfam America’s Politics of Poverty blog.

Last November, in Busan, Korea, donors reaffirmed their past promises to make their aid more useful to people developing countries. They also agreed to measure themselves so the world could track how well they were implementing these promises. But the debate over *how* they are willing to be measured is still raging—and won’t be decided until June. At the World Bank on Friday, Oxfam will be hosting an event to talk about progress towards implementing the Busan PartnershipNew research by Oxfam and others provides new data as to how important keeping score is for driving political change—as well as suggesting how to best measure the promises made at Busan.

Bureaucracies are hard to move; they seldom ever move when bureaucrats feel comfortable. So, one of the key components of forcing political change is being able to make policymakers uncomfortable enough with the status quo that they make hard changes.

One thing that gets policymakers’ attention is being compared to one another. A government that is shown to be falling behind its peers can be shamed into making changes to catch up. But that shaming requires good, comparable data that governments cannot hide from. Naturally, governments are often reluctant to endorse effective scorecards because it shines a light on their behavior.

This new research affirms that keeping score on implementation of the Paris Declaration helped push implementation of Paris principles. Signatories to Paris instituted a global monitoring framework to measure and account for how well governments were living up to their promises. A review of donor peer reviews conducted by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee indicates that the global monitoring system was a success in incentivizing policy changes in donor capitals.

The Busan Outcome Document emphasizes that the focus of work to make aid more effective should be “global-light, country heavy”; in other words, the emphasis should be on progress made at the country level. And development progress indeed happens at the country level. Nonetheless, accountability for such progress requires comparing the progress of different countries against one another. In fact, the research shows that Global Monitoring is a huge guiding factor in determining the strength of national results frameworks. To quote one partner country respondent, “The Paris framework was crucial to getting donors to agree that they should be monitored.”

Of partner countries who are successfully implementing National Monitoring Frameworks (NMFs):

Some research respondents went so far as to argue that the biggest constraint to a national framework was the lack of political commitment on the part of their donor partners. In fact, some respondents said most donors were not willing to increase their national level obligations beyond what Paris called for.

So from this evidence, what conclusions can we draw about what the Busan monitoring system look like? Here are some thoughts:

  • You need globally comparable indicators to drive country level change. A key feature of the Paris monitoring framework was the ability to hold stakeholders accountable by comparing them with their peers.
  • The framework needs to monitor all major Paris, Accra, and Busan commitments, in line with the Busan Partnership Declaration. Rule #1 of development strategy is, “what’s measured is meaningful.” If any particular commitment is left out of the final monitoring framework, it will inevitably be deprioritized by stakeholders.
  • Civil society stakeholders should be included in the design, implementation and accountability of the global monitoring framework through a transparent and representative process. If civil society isn’t actively engaged and does not have the space to hold their government accountable, the monitoring framework won’t push those changes that poor people most need.
  • The new monitoring framework must integrate cross-cutting gender equality and women’s empowerment targets in all commitments measured, as stated in the Busan Partnership Declaration. Again, without measuring against these criteria, gender issues could be neglected.