AAA: MCC Selects Armenia for Direct Grant Program

Armenian Assembly of America
122 C Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-3434
Fax: 202-638-4904
Email: [email protected]

May 10, 2004
Contact: David Zenian
E-mail: [email protected]


Washington, DC – Armenia and 15 other countries were recognized by the
United States as “good partners” who can apply for financial assistance
through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) created by the U.S.
government to help select countries of the world, MCC Chief Executive
Officer Paul V. Applegarth said at a news conference last week.

“Being selected as a country eligible for funding through the MCC’s
Millennium Challenge Account means that the United States considers the
selected country a good partner and that it clearly deserves further
encouragement. But this partnership is based on accountability,” Applegarth
told reporters.

“The Armenian Assembly welcomes the U.S. decision which is yet another
window of opportunity for Armenia to reinforce sound political, economic and
social policies that promote economic growth. We congratulate the
government and people of Armenia for winning this global competition for
additional American support,” Assembly Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair
Hovnanian said.

In making its determination, the Board of Directors of the MCC considered
both the past and current policy performance of the candidate countries in
the areas of “governing justly, investing in their own people and promoting
economic freedom.”

“It is very encouraging to see that Armenia has cleared the first major
hurdle and is now eligible to apply for funding through the billion dollar
MCC aid program set up by the Bush Administration to support policies that
promote good government. Assuming that Armenia’s proposals are ultimately
funded, this will mark the first direct grant from the U.S. to the
government of Armenia,” Hovnanian said.

The other selected countries are: Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia,
Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua,
Senegal, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu.

Applegarth, who was nominated to the post as MCC Chief Executive Officer,
and confirmed by the Senate this week, said:
“Our mission – encouraging and rewarding good policies that produce
sustainable economic growth – holds profound implications for freedom and
security across the globe. Today’s decision demonstrates the clear
commitment of the U.S. to reducing poverty and human suffering. This is a
new approach to foreign aid. We want to encourage partnership, and we want
to promote good government.”

Applegarth said it was now up to the selected countries, including Armenia,
to present their “specific plans and proposals” for further scrutiny and
evaluation before any determination is made on the amount of aid each
country will get.

“Let us not take anything for granted. Being on the list of selected
countries does not mean an automatic qualification for assistance from
Millennium Challenge Account,” he said.

Applegarth said the next and more important step now included a hands-on
evaluation by an MCC technical group to each of the selected countries and
the submission of specific and compact proposals by the countries

“The money is in place, and it is up to the selected countries to move fast
and get their specific requests in. But we have to underline one important
factor: We expect accountability and there is no such thing as a perpetual
qualification. Any country could be dropped if it fails to meet
expectations,” Applegarth said.

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian
issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.