Program Goal / Need:
The Niger Governance Threshold Country Program (NGTCP) was a major governance and anti-corruption program funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation under its Threshold Country Program, managed by and contracted ($4.9 million) by USAID with Millennium Partners under its Building Recovery and Reform through Democratic Governance IQC prime contract with USAID.

Program Description:
The NGTCP program sought to improve governance by developing the capability of procurement regulatory bodies and inspectors generals within the Government of Niger (GON), complemented by a broad-based public education and civil society program. The program provided technical assistance to the GON to reduce the time and cost to register a business and to streamline the process of land registration. Millennium Partners focused on two priority areas: Procurement Reform and Civil Society and Public Education, and Business Registration and Land Registration.

Program Results:
Millennium Partners provided capacity-building to develop procurement audit skills and technical assistance to the public procurement regulatory body and inspectors general in the Ministries of Health and Education. Training focused primarily on the development of procurement audit skills and procurement audit planning of inspectors general staff in the two ministries. This involved pre- and post- procurement planning and auditing. The technical assistance provided advice on changing the business processes in the ministries and in the public procurement regulatory body to improve efficiency as well as to undertake feasibility studies on information technology to make these entities more efficient. The goal was to reduce corruption in these two target ministries through better public procurement processes and auditing. Millennium Partners also worked with key civil society group such as the Association of Journalists and Transparency International to provide training and technical assistance to journalists and others to become more effective watchdogs of government corruption in public procurement and other areas.

Millennium Partners, together with the local stakeholders, successfully reduced the number of days and cost of business registration. Millennium Partners also provided assistance to the GON’s land committees to develop a more streamlined process for land registration. The advice focused on how to make the land registration process more efficient.

Millennium Partners implemented an outstanding performance monitoring and evaluation plan establishing baseline date and collecting and analyzing both outputs and outcomes as the program evolved. In addition to a highly complex PMEP for a multi-sector program Millennium Partners additionally reported to the MCC using its results reporting table format over the life of the contract.

The NGTCP Program was terminated early due to force majeure in December 2009 and was finally closed in April 2010. The U.S. State Department issued this statement on December 23, 2009: “In response to President Tandja’s refusal to relinquish his mandate, the United States is suspending its non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of Niger. The Secretary of State has imposed travel restrictions on certain members of the Government of Niger, as well as other individuals who support policies or actions that undermine Niger’s return to constitutional rule. We continue to extend our support and friendship to the people of Niger, and look forward to resuming all forms of assistance following Niger’s return to constitutional rule.” Millennium Partners demobilized and left Niger on April 15, 2010. On June 22, 2011 the Millennium Challenge Corporation reinstated Niger’s Threshold program following the full restoration of democratic rule. In December 2012 MCC named Niger as a compact eligible country. Millennium Partners remains in close contact with its principal counterparts at MCA Niger who are moving ahead with a compact proposal to the MCC.