MCC’s Investments in Education are Boosting Economic Growth and Changing Lives

4 min readJan 24, 2022
adult literacy program Niger
Participants in an adult literacy program funded under MCC’s Niger Compact

Many young girls in Morocco drop out of school by age 14. Some find school boring or do not see how it would help their future, particularly in the rural parts of the country. After all, girls are expected to get married, have children, and maintain a home.

The Attahadi [“Challenge”] Program — part of MCC’s $450 million Morocco Employability and Land Compact — is working to change that. The Program means big changes for many of the secondary schools girls in Morocco attend, including improved school buildings, updated equipment, better teachers, and a more supportive learning environment overall, with afterschool clubs and summer camps. Many young girls are now making the decision to return to school and are making positive contributions to their classrooms. Their choice is one MCC and the Government of Morocco hope many other young people will also make to obtain the skills and education needed to effectively contribute to their community and to the country’s economy.

Research shows that every dollar invested in education and skills creates $10 of economic growth, and that an additional year of school learning can increase a woman’s earning potential by 10 percent.

Students in the newly-renovated chemistry lab in Georgia
Students in the newly-renovated chemistry lab under the tertiary education program in MCC’s Georgia II Compact.

MCC partners with countries that meet a clear set of criteria and seek financial assistance and technical support to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. We support partner countries’ decisions to develop education projects when they demonstrate a link between weaknesses in their education system and their ability to grow. Such was the case in Morocco, where MCC and the Moroccan government determined that improving quality of secondary education and technical and vocational education and training would better prepare Moroccan youth for jobs. And better prepared workers mean a more productive workforce, which, in turn, spurs economic growth.

Since the agency’s founding, MCC’s education programming has spanned the globe: Establishing partnerships between universities in the Republic of Georgia and the United States to improve STEM tertiary education; building new middle schools in Cote d’Ivoire; improving technical education in Namibia; providing functional literacy classes to farmers and women from agricultural cooperatives in Niger; and training teachers on student-centered pedagogy in El Salvador. MCC’s development specialist are helping to implement programs that have long- term educational and economic benefits.

“Education impacts all sectors of a country’s economy.”

Education and training are fundamental to a country’s economic growth and well-being. Research shows that every dollar invested in education and skills creates $10 of economic growth, and that an additional year of school learning can increase a woman’s earning potential by 10 percent. Other studies reveal that equality in education could increase a country’s per capita income by 23 percent over 40 years. Education impacts all sectors of a country’s economy. Investments in education for girls can boost agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa by 25 percent; and a child whose mother can read is 50 percent more likely to live past the age of five.

MCC has invested more than $970 million in education and training programs around the world, accounting for almost 10 percent of MCC’s overall investments. We have funded the construction of 772 educational facilities, and more than a quarter of a million learners have participated in our programs. Partner countries experience the economic benefits and our returns on investment in education are impressive — consistently coming in well over ten percent. The numbers suggest MCC is making wise decisions regarding how it spends money and that the investments in education are creating economic growth. In Namibia, there was a 21 percent return on a vocational training program for Namibian youth, and in Burkina Faso, an education program resulted in a 13.5 percent increase in primary school completion rate for girls.

MCC believes that each child who leaves school with better literacy, math, life skills and vocational skills has invested in a more prosperous future for themselves, their family and communities. Importantly, it also strengthens human capital and helps their nation advance sustainable economic growth. As MCC celebrates 18 years of reducing poverty and fostering economic growth, we also join students, donor partners, organizations, stakeholders, governments, and others celebrating the International Day of Education, and we recognize those who are working to improve access, governance, and the quality of education around the world.

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MCC — the Millennium Challenge Corporation — is an innovative & independent U.S. Government agency reducing global poverty through economic growth.