Millennium Challenges Account executive officer arrives in Armenia


May 31 2004

YEREVAN, MAY 31, ARMENPRESS: Armenian prime minister Andranik Margarian
received today, Paul Applegarth, a senior US official, who heads the
executive committee for supervising the Millennium Challenges Account
(MCA) program of $1 billion this year as part of a new U.S. policy
to help some countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the former
Soviet Union to continue their political and economic reforms. The
MCA was unveiled by President George W. Bush in 2002. Armenia is among
16 developing countries selected by the United States to benefit from
the program.

Only two former Soviet republics, Armenia and neighboring Georgia,
were picked by the board administering the MCA. The other chosen states
are Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique,
Senegal, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Applegarth will also mee with President Kocharian, government
officials, and with representatives of other sectors of Armenian
society, including the media, NGOs, and the business sector. Their
visit has a two-fold purpose: to acquaint themselves with the current
situation in Armenia, and to inform the various sectors in Armenia
about the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Paul Applegarth, MCC CEO,
says that although the government of an MCC-eligible country will
eventually be responsible for submitting a project proposal for an
MCA compact to the MCC, the proposal will also be evaluated for its
“inclusiveness,” among other criteria. “Inclusiveness” in this case
means that the proposal is the result of wide discussions among the
sectors of society, leading to consensus on the top priorities for
promoting development in a country.

According to some reports, the Armenian government will request $40
million for the current U.S. fiscal year which ends on September 30,
to spend the money on improving education standards, healthcare and
water supplies.