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Cablegate: Goc Inquires About Colombia's Mcc Eligibility

VZCZCXRO0893
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHBO #2716/01 2372126
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 252126Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0334
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 002716

SIPDIS

MCC FOR SGAULL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PREL CO
SUBJECT: GOC INQUIRES ABOUT COLOMBIA'S MCC ELIGIBILITY

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 4.

2. (U) Post received a joint letter from Finance Minister
Zuluaga, National Planning Department Director Esteban
Piedrahita, and Presidential Agency for Social Action Acting
Director Alzate inquiring about Colombia's continued MCC
eligibility, given updated World Bank per capita income
figures. A copy of the original letter in Spanish was
e-mailed to MCC, WHA/AND, WHA/EPSC, EEB and USAID/LAC on
August 18.

3. (U) BEGIN TEXT OF INFORMAL TRANSLATION.

GPE - 20098130535371

Bogota, D.C., Tuesday August 4, 2009

The Honorable William Brownfield
Ambassador to Colombia
U.S. Embassy
Cra 45 #22 D 45
Bogota, D.C.

Re: Millennium Challenge Corporation

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

As you know, in December, 2008, Colombia was informed of its
eligibility to receive resources from the Millennium
Challenge Corporation (MCC). For this reason, in May, 2009,
we received a delegation from MCC and in June, Sandra Alzate,
Director of International Cooperation of the Presidential
Agency for Social Action, and Luz Stella Rodriguez,
Coordinator of the Special Programs Group of the National
Planning Department (DNP), attended MCCU in order to gain
greater clarity on the procedures to obtain and apply MCC
resources.

In the last several days, we were informed that because of an
increase in Colombia's per capita income (as reported by the
World Bank) there is uncertainty over Colombia's eligibility
for MCC funds, now that the country exceeds the limits
established for a Low-Middle Income Country.

Nevertheless, we would like to reiterate the Colombian
Government's interest in being able to access MCC resources,
as we consider that they can be used as important leverage in
funding projects focused on reducing poverty and social
exclusion through local economic development.

It is worth noting that Colombia is a country with high
levels of regional and social diversity, which means the
existence of regions of the country have per capita incomes
well below the national average. For this reason, we suggest
exploring the possibility of using MCC resources in those
regions with the greatest inequality: less income; greater
poverty; and greater indices of basic unsatisfied needs,
among other criteria. Similarly, the Government also would
be interested in contributing its funds to those projects
that would be selected to receive MCC funds.

For these reasons, we respectfully request that you take our
suggestions into account and, if possible, organize a new
mission, with which, we would be willing to set up technical
visits to regions, which could benefit from MCC support.

We look forward to your timely response and appreciate any
assistance you can provide.

Cordially,

/s/
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga
Minister of Finance and Public Credit

/s/
Esteban Piedrahita Uribe
Director General
National Planning Department

/s/
Sandra Alzate Cifuentes
Acting Director
Presidential Agency for Social Action and International
Cooperation

cc:
Mr. Darius Teter, Deputy Vice President, Department of
Compact Development MCC
Mr. Stephen Gaull, Sr. Director MCC


BOGOTA 00002716 002 OF 002


END TEXT OF INFORMAL TRANSLATION.

4. (U) ACTION REQUEST. Post requests MCC and Department
guidance on responding to this letter.
Brownfield

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