The MCC was founded in 2004 by the U.S. Congress and is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency (1). Since its inception, the MCC has signed 37 pacts with 29 countries, with an expected benefit for approximately 175 million people (2). These countries must meet strict eligibility criteria in order to qualify for a CCC grant, since funding depends on governments demonstrating their commitment to democracy, investment in their citizens and economic freedom. The MCC describes its selection process as “competitive” with a clear selection process that selects recipient countries. Candidate countries are selected on the basis of the World Bank`s classification of countries on the basis of per capita income. Country selection criteria and methods are published and the performance of these indicators is evaluated and published in a dashboard. It is based on these country scorecards, the ability to reduce poverty and generate growth in a country, and the availability of funds for a final decision to be made. In addition, the MCC focuses on country-led work, which means that the Sri Lankan government identifies its growth priorities and develops GCC proposals (3). Sri Lanka opened negotiations with the GCC in 2001 and was selected by the Organization as eligible for the development of a pact in 2016 (4).
The draft proposals for this pact were submitted to the GCC Board of Directors in November 2017 and the Sri Lanka Pact was approved by the GCC Board of Directors in April 2019 (5). However, the agreement has since been frozen (6). Since the organization traditionally only funds low- and low-middle-income countries, Sri Lanka`s recent graduation of middle income status jeopardized the eligibility of the MCC grant, unless the agreement is signed before 2020, as the country is not on the organization`s 2020 scorecard (7). Sri Lanka is the 17th country to receive this grant. Under the agreement, Sri Lanka will receive $480 million for two development projects: a traffic management project and an agricultural project. Of the 16 previous countries that received this grant, most have successfully concluded the MCC agreement, although some countries have subsequently withdrawn from the agreement.