Senate Passes AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, Preparing for Presidential Signature

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SEATTLE — On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act unanimously. This Act will strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two programs that have proven effective in improving the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MCC spurs economic development, allowing developing countries to address deficiencies in communications, transportation and energy networks. AGOA offers duty-free access to the U.S. market for most exports from eligible sub-Saharan African nations; it was enacted in 2000 and has been renewed until 2025. By authorizing the MCC to develop a second, concurrent compact and requiring the promotion of AGOA, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will accelerate the economic growth of developing countries and strengthen the domestic economy and job market.

“It is critical that we do all that we can in Congress to encourage sustainable economic growth in developing countries and expand American businesses’ access to overseas markets,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Chris Coons (D-DE) said. House Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) elaborated on the domestic implications, stating that “expanding these programs advances our position as international leaders, strengthens our domestic job market and economy, while protecting our national security interests.”

The MCC and AGOA programs use metrics such as economic freedom, rule of law and government investment in people to fund developing nations. The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will ensure that only the most qualified countries receive a second compact, protecting U.S. taxpayers from fraud and confirming that funds are allocated to programs with a proven track record.

“This bill ensures that MCC has all the tools it needs to deliver smart, efficient, and effective U.S. development assistance,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) stated. “Compacts that cross borders, expand markets, and strengthen regional growth have the potential to lead to even higher rates of return on investment and larger scale reductions in poverty,” he said.

“Foreign aid is an investment, and investing in programs with a proven track record is crucial in the fight against global poverty,” The Borgen Project president and founder Clint Borgen said. “The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would be a victory for development both at home and abroad.”

During the 114th session, supporters of The Borgen Project held more than 170 meetings with Congress to gain support for the M-CORE Act, which was merged with another bill to create the Senate version of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act. In the current 115th session, Borgen Project supporters have held more than 200 meetings. Collectively, 9,100 emails were sent to Congress from supporters of The Borgen Project requesting support for this bill.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would cost U.S. taxpayers less than $500,000 over a four-year period (2018-2022).

– The Borgen Project

Photo: Flickr

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