With basic systems firmly in place and increased focus on business development, forming cooperatives, and promoting off-farm employment through 2015, the project’s model predicts that incomes will generally increase in the villages. Higher incomes can in turn raise savings, thus accelerating economic diversification and investments in human capital. The resulting economic growth in the villages will reduce poverty and enable communities to finance a growing share of investments to achieve the MDGs. Over time, these communities will end their dependency on outside assistance, thereby ensuring sustainability.
A central proposition underpinning the Millennium Villages concept, therefore, is that operational sustainability can be achieved in each village before the 2015 deadline, although many villages will still require ongoing but generally declining financial support beyond then. It is crucial for these villages that existing international commitments are met and maintained until the countries where they are based graduate from the need for external support. Critical to the sustainability of the Millennium Villages is the need to empower the entire community by building local technical, administrative, and entrepreneurial capacity. When it phases out, the project will also leave behind infrastructure (roads, clinics, schools, communication towers, etc.) and knowledge networks that will enable communities to press on with their development.