Washington briefing: MCC: Armenia “in red” in 8 of 17 performance indicators

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Friday November 13, 2009

Washington - Armenia ranks below average in nearly half of the indicators used by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to determine countries' eligibility for its assistance programs, according to an annual scorecard released on November 9.

Eight ratings shown to be in the red included political rights, civil liberties, control of corruption, rule of law, voice and accountability, immunization rates, health expenditures, and fiscal policy. At the same time, Armenia was ranked above average in most economic freedom ratings, as well as natural resource management and government effectiveness.

It was unclear whether the determination would have further impact on the roughly $180 million aid program aimed at facilitating economic growth in Armenia's rural areas.

Last June, MCC reduced the original compact amount from $234 million after its board, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, determined that Armenia had not effectively addressed U.S. concerns over the aftermath of the February 2008 elections.

Additionally, because of its improved economic performance Armenia, was last year reclassified as a lower-middle income country (LMIC) and is now compared with countries that on average have better indicators, also resulting in worse performance scores.

Fellow LMIC countries Georgia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan were shown to be failing in 6, 8, and 11 categories, respectively. Following its war with Russia last year, Georgia saw its MCC compact increased from $295 to $395 million. MCC aid to Ukraine has been limited to a $45 million anticorruption grant. Azerbaijan has not been found eligible for MCC aid.

MCC uses the data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Freedom House, Transparency International, the Heritage Foundation, and other entities to compile its scorecards.

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