Millennium Challenge Account Approves $236 Million Grant to Armenia

–Funds to target reducing rural poverty

WASHINGTON–DC–The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a five-year–$235.65 million dollar grant Monday to help reduce rural poverty in Armenia. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed the American government’s move to reduce rural poverty in Armenia.

"This important milestone in the growing partnership between the US and Armenian governmen’s reflects the shared values–enduring ties–and unshakable friendship between the American and Armenian peoples," said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.

The agreement between the Armenian government and the MCC is designed to accomplish one goal–reducing rural poverty through a sustainable increase in the economic performance of the agricultural sector.

The MCC explained that "the compact consists of two investmen’s: a Rural Road Rehabilitation Project and an Irrigated Agriculture Project. The program will directly impact 75% of the rural population and is expected to increase annual incomes by $36 million in 2010 and over $113 million in 2015."

Commenting on the grant–MCC Chief Executive Officer–Ambassador John Danilovich–offered "congratulations to the people and Government of Armenia for this great achievement. They have developed an integrated–results-oriented program that will provide rural residents better access to jobs–social services–and markets and increase the productivity of farmers."

In a letter to the President of Armenia–Robert Kocharian–Danilovich stressed the commitment of the US to the people of Armenia and praised the work of Armenia’s MCC management team–but also expressed concern regarding shortcomings in the recent constitutional referendum and–more broadly–Armenia’s adherence to the MCC eligibility criteria of "ruling justly."

Launched by President Bush–the MCA is a different approach to development assistance that recognizes sound policies and good governance–which are critical to poverty reduction and economic growth in developing countries. Since its establishment last year–MCC has signed compacts totaling more than $900 million with five nations–Madagascar–Honduras–Cape Verde–Nicaragua–and Georgia. MCC is also actively engaging with other MCA-eligible countries in compact negotiations.

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