ANCA: Armenia Eligible for Millennium Challenge Account Funding

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]


May 6, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


— Secretary Powell Announces List of 16 Countries Invited to
Submit Proposals for Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Program

WASHINGTON, DC – The State Department announced today that Armenia
has been chosen to be among a select group of 16 countries eligible
for Millennium Challenge Account funding, a new multi-billion
dollar U.S. program designed to provide assistance to low-income
countries that demonstrate a strong commitment toward good
governance and economic growth and reform, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA.)

“We welcome the State Department’s decision to include Armenia in
the first tier of countries to participate in the MCA,” said ANCA
Chairman Ken Hachikian. “The funds will create important
opportunities for strengthening the Armenian economy and helping
the Armenian people overcome the ongoing, multi-billion dollar
impact of the dual Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades. We look
forward to working with Armenian Government officials and the
Millennium Challenge Corporation to assist in the funding process

The complete list of 16 countries eligible to apply for MCA funds
includes: Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana,
Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique,
Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Vanuatu.

President Bush first announced his intent to create the MCA in
March, 2002. The program is based on the premise that economic
development succeeds best where it is linked to free market
economic and democratic principles and policies. Eligibility under
this program, which is only open to selected low-income countries,
is conditioned upon sound policy performance and accountability by
recipient nations. This performance in measured by sixteen
quantifiable criteria in the areas of 1) ruling justly, 2)
investing in people, and 3) economic freedom.

Overall funding for MCA is will be $1 billion for Fiscal Year 2004,
and is expected to rise to $5 billion by Fiscal Year 2006. Although
there are no guaranties that its grant proposals will be funded,
Armenia’s annual share from this new foreign aid program could be
as much as $75 million a year.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, who serves as chairman of the
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), developed to oversee the
implementation of the Millenium Challenge Account funds, stated,
“This is a historic day for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The President’s vision has come to pass, and today’s decision by
the Board of Directors is a major step in implementing the vision
of the MCC.”

An ANCA study prepared in September of 2003 showed that Armenia was
well-positioned to receive MCA funding based on the 16 criteria set
out by the MCC. The study was distributed widely to Members of
Congress and the Administration as well as to representatives of
the Armenian Government. In the months that followed, the ANCA
tracked Congressional hearings dealing with MCA, where Members of
Congress including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and
Joseph Crowley (D-NY), spoke in support of Armenia’s participation
in the program and questioned early assertions that Armenia may not
receive first tier funding.

Upon learning of the MCC announcement earlier today, Rep. Schiff
stated, “I am delighted to see that Armenia is included in the
first group of nations eligible to receive funding under the
Millennium Challenge Account. As a struggling democracy that is
economically isolated by an injurious blockade, Armenia is a prime
candidate for MCA assistance. This is welcome news for Armenia and
a good judgment by the MCA Board and State Department.”

MCA eligibility was among a series of topics brought up in high
level meetings between Armenian Government officials and an ANCA
delegation including Chairman Ken Hachikian, held in conjunction
with an Armenian Foreign Ministry Armenian Advocacy conference,
held in Yerevan on May 3rd and 4th. The ANCA provided specific
recommendations about the development of grant submissions to the
MCA to ensure that Armenia, if selected, would receive a
significant share of the first year MCA awards.

According to the MCA Website (), eligible countries will
work with the MCC to develop a compact proposal for “achieving
sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.” Succesful
proposals would be designed to:

a) Engage a broad array of its society in coming up with its
development priorities;
b) Identify the measurable objectives that it wants to achieve;
c) Include a plan for achieving those objectives with targets to
assess progress;
d) Develop transparent mechanisms to measure and evaluate whether
targets are being met and to ensure financial accountability; and
e) Provide a plan for sustaining progress after the MCA compact

The extent to which a country’s proposal meets the above
requirements will help determine whether and how much the MCC will
invest in the country.