IILJ Emerging Scholars Paper 12 (2008)

A New Approach to Foreign Aid: A Case Study of the Millennium Challenge Account

Margaret Dennis

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Established in 2002, the Millennium Challenge Account was created to address a distressing paradox in foreign aid – that despite 50 years and many trillions of dollars in support to developing countries, these efforts appear to have provided few or no benefits to the intended aid recipients, but have generously lined the pockets of corrupt government officials. To counteract these concerns, the Millennium Challenge Account has adopted an approach that emphasizes the careful selection of aid recipients, rather than the imposition of restrictive conditions on how the aid may be used; and that bases its selection criteria upon publicly accessible, objective criteria, rather than a subjective or secretive process. Although the use of either of these elements alone is not unique, their combination provides a hopeful and novel approach to foreign aid.