YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia celebrated the opening of its new Yerevan office Monday with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Ambassador John J. Danilovich, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Vartan Khachatrian, Minister of Finance and Economy of Armenia, Ara Hovsepian, CEO of MCA-Armenia and Mr. Alex Russin, Resident Country Director for MCC Armenia.
At the event, Ambassador Danilovich, said, "The Compact is progressing well. We have begun training farmers to improve their profitability with the Water to Market Activity and design of the first phase of the Rural Roads Rehabilitation Project is nearing completion. Additionally, the early design phase of the Irrigated Agriculture Project is out for competitive bids, with first construction expected to begin this autumn.
"Also, we welcomed the Armenian parliamentary elections and congratulate the Armenian people on a more successful poll than previous elections. It appears that this election was an improvement toward international standards, but we continue to closely watch the process of investigating allegations of irregularities. As with all MCA countries, the MCC Board at its annual selection meeting in December will make a decision on Armenia’s continued eligibility."
The Compact, signed on March 27, 2006, with Entry into Force on September 29, 2006, aims to reduce rural poverty through a sustainable increase in the economic performance of the agricultural sector. Armenia plans to achieve this goal through a five-year program of strategic investmen’s in rural roads, irrigation infrastructure and technical and financial assistance to improve the supply of water and to support farmers and agribusinesses. The program will directly impact approximately 750,000 people, or an estimated 75 percent of the rural population, and is expected to reduce the rural poverty rate and boost annual incomes.
The Compact includes a $67 million project to rehabilitate up to 943 kilometers of rural roads, more than a third of Armenia’s proposed "Lifeline Road Network." When complete, the road network will ensure that every rural community has road access to markets, services, and the main road network. Under the Compact, the Government of Armenia will be required to commit additional resources for maintenance of the road network. The Compact also includes a $146 million project to increase the productivity of approximately 250,000 farm households (34 percent of which are headed by women) through improved water supply, higher yields, higher-value crops, and a more competitive agricultural sector.
Danilovich began his duties as Chief Executive Officer for the Millennium Challenge Corporation on November 7, 2005, continuing a distinguished career of more than thirty years in both the public and private sectors.
Prior to his appointment by President Bush as CEO, Ambassador Danilovich served as the American Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica from 2001 to 2004, and then Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil.
Ambassador Danilovich is a businessman and private investor with a strong background in foreign affairs. A native Californian and resident of London for many years, he was active in the international shipping business for over two decades and served as director of companies in the shipping, property, publishing and investment fields.
Ambassador Danilovich served on the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Commission from 1991 though 1996 and chaired the Commission’s Transition Committee prior to the transfer of the Canal to the Panamanians. Ambassador Danilovich has been a Director of the Stanford University Trust, a Trustee of the American Museum in Britain, a Director of the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, and has served in leadership positions for several charitable organizations.
The Ambassador graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and received a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California (London). Ambassador Danilovich is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an Associate Fellow of Pierson College (Yale University), a Knight of Malta and the recipient of several national and international awards including the Choate Alumni Seal Prize. Now residents of Washington, DC, Ambassador Danilovich and his wife, Irene, have three children.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investmen’s in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty.
Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia, a State Non Commercial Organization established by the Government of Armenia, is responsible for overseeing the transparent implementation of the Compact signed between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Armenia.