Analysis of Eligibility for New Foreign Aid Program Based on Armenia's Positive Track Record on Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Economic Freedom

September 6, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC – A preliminary analysis of the soon-to-be launched Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a major new foreign policy initiative, has revealed that Armenia is among the most eligible candidates for President Bush’s multi-billion dollar foreign aid program for low-income countries, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Bush Administration has designed the MCA 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. The Congress is currently in the process of finalizing the legislation to authorize the creation of the program. The fundamental principles and structure of the MCA, however, are already fairly clear.

Overall funding for MCA is expected to be roughly $1 billion for Fiscal Year 2004, and to rise to $5 billion by Fiscal Year 2006. If accepted into the program, Armenia could receive as much as $100 million a year in new foreign aid.

“Armenia’s participation in the MCA would have a tremendously positive impact in generating greater economic growth, fostering a better environment for job creation, and helping the Armenian people to overcome the ongoing, multi-billion dollar impact of the dual Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades,” said ANCA Chairman Kenneth Hachikian.

The key findings of the ANCA study were as follows:

* Armenia is at or above the median in 14 of the 15 indicators that apply to Armenia.

* Armenia has the lowest inflation rate among the top qualifying countries, creating a favorable environment for business and investment, and protecting those in poverty from the erosion of their purchasing power.

* Armenia’s trade policy is ranked the best among the top qualifying countries, contributing directly to economic growth and job creation.

* Armenia’s regulatory quality is more than twice the median score and is tied for first among qualifying countries, contributing directly to the rule of law and fostering economic growth.

* Armenia spends more than twice the median level on public health expenditures.

* Armenia’s primary education completion rate of 83% is 38% over the median level of 59%. This high score correlates directly to economic growth through the creation of a highly trained work force.

* With an immunization rate of 93%, Armenia is 28% over the median score of 72%.

The ANCA is working with the Administration and Congress on this matter, and has been in direct consultation with the Armenian government regarding Armenia’s eligibility for the MCA.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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