WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, Senate Foreign Relations Committee members U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have introduced the Millennium Compacts for Regional Economic Integration Act (The M-CORE Act), legislation that enables the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to address regional development challenges and enhance trans-border economic growth opportunities in the developing world.
The bill, S.1605, allows for the establishment of concurrent compacts in eligible developing countries, providing MCC with the flexibility it needs to promote economic growth and cross-border engagement between and among nations.
“Never before has United States faced such a complex set of global challenges – from global food insecurity and mounting humanitarian crises, pandemics to the rise of extremism, crippling poverty to the consequences of climate change. This legislation will strengthen MCC’s ability to build upon an already impressive track record of cost-effective, long-term economic solutions in developing countries,” Senator Cardin said. “Compacts that span borders, expand markets, and strengthen regional growth demand U.S. support and this bill best positions MCC to achieve this necessary goal while also promoting efficient and effective development assistance.”
“We should be doing everything we can do to help facilitate cross-border trade among the countries of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Senator Flake.
“Granting this authority to the Millennium Challenge Corporation will kick start economic growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” said Senator Coons. “In this interconnected world, economies are no longer isolated, and regional integration can overcome binding constraints to growth. This bill recognizes that addressing trans-border economic issues like infrastructure is fundamental to getting growth right in the developing world. I am excited to co-sponsor this bill, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this into law.”
“The Millennium Challenge Corporation gives the United States the opportunity to make strategic investments in developing countries that are not only focused on growth, but are also focused on critical political and economic reforms,” said Senator Isakson. “Allowing Millennium Challenge to work regionally will strengthen the efforts these countries are making themselves, and will bolster regional growth, reduce threats to our national security and foster economic opportunity.”
“In a global economy, people, goods and services move across borders. MCC’s investments should follow suit. This legislation will allow MCC to help countries collaborate to build and grow regional markets, capture more economies of scale and facilitate increased trade and investment. That’s good for the countries we work with and for U.S. companies doing business abroad,” MCC CEO Dana J. Hyde said.
Over the last fifty years, economies around the world have experienced significant and sustained growth that has been fueled by support to regional infrastructure and integrated trade agreements. Developing nations, international organizations and regional economic bodies, have increasingly realized that key drivers to economic growth must involve greater cross-border collaboration and regional economic integration. Through greater regional economic collaboration countries can address deficiencies in communications, transport, and energy networks and have a targeted impact on infrastructure deficiencies, unemployment, and poverty reduction.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency leading the fight against global poverty and was established by the U.S. Congress in 2004. MCC forms partnerships with developing countries committed to good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens.