“Poverty Reduction In Rural Areas” Program To Start In Armenia InSep

“POVERTY REDUCTION IN RURAL AREAS” PROGRAM TO START IN ARMENIA IN SEPTEMBER 2006

ARKA News Agency, Armenia
March 28 2006

YEREVAN, March 28. /ARKA/. “Poverty Reduction In Rural Areas” program
will start in Armenia in September, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan
Oskanyan stated during his talk before representation of the Armenian
Diaspora in Washington.

According to him, presentation of the program is to be made on the
following forum Armenia-Diaspora.

“Not all Armenian citizens could take use of advanced economic growth
indicators that we are proud of. The actual statistical account is
seen outside Yerevan: every second Armenian still lives in poverty,
especially in rural areas. And the income of more than half of the
population standing on the brink of poverty is less than $1 per day,”
Oskanyan said.

“We do not want that Armenian rural areas keep staying in a stagnated
situation of poverty. Even given the similar rapid economic growth,
achievement of the standard of average European’s welfare will take
decades. To bring Armenian rural areas to the average living standard
practical steps need to be taken,” the Foreign Minister said.

He pointed out that the country’s two large infrastructures will be
restored: community roads and irrigation systems. However, problems
with gas supply, power, education, healthcare and establishment of
telecommunications are still urgent.

According to the minister, if the Armenian Government, the country’s
business community, the international community and the Diaspora
unites, the entire complex of existing problems can be solved.

“Investments and economic growth are observed only in Yerevan. This
program will attempt to coordinate the information on projects
implemented in rural areas. The program provides for elimination of
artificial obstacles impeding the increase of efficiency and will
help to specify ways of entering markets and sources of funding for
restoration of economic stability in rural areas,” Oskanyan said.

He pointed out that the program inspires a new hope for every village
community of Armenia, beginning from borderline villages.

“To put it simply, by eradicating poverty, we eradicate hopelessness.

You will open a perspective and opportunities for most vulnerable
sections of our society; hope, trust and confidence transform
economically unsecured citizens and them politically strong,”
Oskanyan said.

The third forum Armenia-Diaspora is scheduled for September 17-24,
2006 as part of the 15th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence.

“Armenian Minister of Finance and Economy Vardan Khachatryan and
Executive Director of ‘Millennium Challenge Account’ corporation John
Danilovich signed the agreement in Washington on March 27th, 2006”.

According to the agreement the corporation will give Armenia $235.65mln
during a 5-year period for implementation of projects on restoration
of irrigation systems and community roads.

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