MCC Index: Bangladesh Falls Within 'Red Zone' In 17 Criteria

Bangladesh has been unable to join the MCC fund despite several years of efforts || Photo: Collected

Bangladesh has been unable to join the MCC fund despite several years of efforts || Photo: Collected

Bangladesh falls within the 'red zone' category in 17 out of the 20 criteria including political rights, civil liberties, control of corruption, rule of law, government effectiveness, and freedom of information assessed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States foreign aid agency.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) prepares the index to provide substantial financial support for poverty alleviation. However, Bangladesh has not been receiving their financial support due to its performance in this index. This situation has persisted for several years.

According to the index for the 2024 fiscal year published on Tuesday, Bangladesh has received a passing score in only three criteria, which the MCC categorizes as green zones. The remaining 17 indicators fall into the red zone. This reflects a consistent trend, as the overall index for the previous year was identical. In 2022, however, there were 16 indicators in the red zone, indicating a decline in performance. The MCC, based in Washington, compiles this list using data from various renowned international organizations.

The aid agency asserts that the index plays a pivotal role in the competitive country selection process, as it is instrumental in determining the eligibility of countries for an aid agreement spanning five years from 2024. Out of the 80 countries assessed this time, 25 countries successfully met the criteria, while 55 countries did not. To qualify for MCC funding, a country must pass a minimum of 10 indicators from each category. The most critical of these categories include political rights, civil liberties, and control of corruption.

Bangladesh did not meet the criteria for any of the six indicators in the ‘Ruling Justly’ category. Specifically, it scored 15 out of 40 in the political rights index, 25 out of 60 in civil liberties, -0.53 out of 1.5 in control of corruption, -0.34 out of 1.5 in government effectiveness, and 0 out of 1.5 in the rule of law. Additionally, Bangladesh received a score of 32.3 out of 95 in the freedom of information index, marking a notable decline of 8 points in this index over the past year. 

Likewise, Bangladesh falls within the red zone in various indicators related to health and education expenditures, natural resources protection, girls' lower secondary education completion rate, child health, gender in the economy, land rights and access, employment opportunity, and access to credit. 

In contrast, Bangladesh is put in the green zone only in terms of fiscal policy and inflation within ‘the economic freedom’ list, as well as the immunization rates within the ‘investing in people’ category.

It is known that Bangladesh has been unable to join the MCC fund despite several years of efforts by the country's Economic Relations Division (ERD). The officials of ERD said that the MCC conducts its evaluation process through a third party and does not rely on the Bangladesh government's information. Grants under this program typically range from $10 million to $500 million or more.

Bangladesh has been steadily deteriorating in the MCC rankings over the past few years. In 2022, there were 16 indicators in the red zone, compared to 13 in 2021, 12 in 2020, 11 in 2019, 7 in 2018, and 10 in 2017. In earlier years, there were 9 indicators in the red zone for 2016, 2015, and 2014.

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