This escalation represents a challenge for U.S. development institutions that have not been built to engage in competition among major powers, said Daniel Round, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Some politicians and civil society groups have linked the gcc pact to other more open security agreements, such as the U.S. Agreement on the Status of the Armed Forces, which sets the framework for the U.S. military`s entry into Sri Lanka, which critics have seen as an attempt to create a U.S. military base, or even a possible base in the country. U.S. officials called the claim “blatant misinformation.” In April 2018, the agoa and MCA modernization laws gave MCC the power to enter into parallel pacts to promote cross-border economic integration, trade and cooperation. In December 2018, the MCC`s Board of Directors selected five West African countries for parallel pacts: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d`Ivoire, Ghana and Niger. In response to the Ghanaian government`s decision to terminate the concession agreement between Electric Company of Ghana Ltd (ECG) to private operator Power Distribution Services Ghana Ltd (PDS), the MCC Board of Directors did not select Ghana for regional investments in 2019. Civil society groups have also criticized that the land component of the project could lead to the eviction of small-scale agricultural producers and land grabbing by export-oriented enterprises. In 2018, agoA and the MCA Modernization Act were signed by President Trump and gave MCC new authority to leverage cross-border regional investment, address economic challenges, expand regional markets to increase the impact on poverty reduction and allow for more trade and investment. MCC signs either a pact or a threshold agreement with a partner country.

A compact is a five-year grant awarded to certain countries, assessing the selection criteria. If a country does not have a passing score, but has a positive upward trend in selection criteria, it may still be eligible for a threshold program. The growth agenda is a small program focused on political and institutional reforms. The government of each partner country of excellence must create a special purpose legal entity responsible for the implementation of the grant program. 32 Wignaraja, G. (2019). The MCC Compact works for Sri Lanka. Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI). [online] Available at: lki.lk/blog/making-the-mcc-compact-work-for-sri-lanka/ [Access August 16, 2019]. Published by the Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka: treasury.gov.lk/article/-/article-viewer-portlet/render/view/mcc-agreement-drafted-with-the-consent-of-ag In recent months, China has made significant and visible efforts to support Sri Lanka – and the response of many other countries – to the COVID 19 pandemic, including a $500 million concession contract signed in March.