24 November 2011

New MCC scorecard shows mixed results

The United States government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) calculates a scorecard every year to determine which countries are eligible for its foreign assistance agreements, called Compacts. For the last three years, Timor-Leste has failed the test, but the changes in scores from year to year are interesting. For Timor-Leste, they show how slowly our country is improving; in some cases things are getting worse.

Due to confusion about whether Timor-Leste is a "Low Income Country" or a "Low-Middle Income Country," MCC's new scorecard for Fiscal Year 2012 cannot be compared with the past two years. However, La'o Hamutuk has recalculated it to produce the graph at right and the scorecard at left. Our website describes the original and revised calculations, with links to documents and details on the indicators, methodology and history.

Like all such rating systems, the MCC scorecard is flawed and sometimes fails to capture the reality of Timor-Leste, which is the second most petroleum-export-dependent country in the world, with the second-fastest-growing state expenditures. Nevertheless, La'o Hamutuk believes that indicators like this can help us understand how our economy, governance and social welfare are going, especially in comparison with other countries. We should be doing better.

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