By Ester Paulus TSUMEB A consultative meeting on proposals for Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) was held on Tuesday at the Oshikoto Regional Council chambers. The meeting attended by regional councillors, representatives of government ministries and parastatals aimed at receiving proposals from participants to identify specific developmental goals as well as plans to enhance economic growth and reduce poverty in the region. MCC is a USA Government corporation set up to administer the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). According to Penny Akwe-nye, MCA Namibia National Coordinator, the MCA which was set up in 2002 is responsible for providing resources to countries that are taking responsibility for their development. “The Namibian office was established to design and implement the MCA programme in Namibia,” Akwenye noted, adding that the US decided to provide low-income countries with financial assistance to fund economic development programmes through the MCC. The MCC requires a country to identify as part of a proposal, its specific developmental goals as well as plans and strengthening of institutions critical to economic growth to reduce poverty. The Oshikoto Chief Regional Officer (CRO) Tshika-repo Andjamba proposed a chicken community project, where households can breed and formally sell their chickens and make profit. Other proposals made include offering bursaries to students; the setting up of individual agricultural projects; bringing new technologies to people at grassroots level; as well as setting up vocational training schools in Oshikoto. At the meeting, Akwenye pointed out that the key principle of MCA is reducing poverty through economic growth, adding that the MCC will focus specifically on promoting sustainable economic growth that reduces poverty through investments in areas such as agriculture, education, private sector development and capacity building. Countries have been selected to receive assistance based on their performance in governing justly, investing in their citizens and encouraging economic freedom. Namibia became eligible in 2005 to apply for MCA assistance based on positive policy performance in 16 indicators in broad categories: ruling justly, investing in people and promoting economic freedom. The MCC currently operates in 23 countries for a period of five years of implementation, excluding the preparatory year. Akwenye revealed that an amount of US$2 billion has been appropriated for the year 2007, of which up to 25 percent is potentially available to Namibia. On concluding the meeting she mentioned that poverty reduction through growth is a vigorous process which requires commitment and participation of all stakeholders, and that it has no funding limit based on the type and quality of proposal submitted. Similar meetings are expected in all regions countrywide.