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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    WORLD BANK APPROVES US$21 MILLION LOAN FOR ARMENIA'S PUBLIC SECTOR MODERNIZATION

    10:52, 01 Oct 2015
    Siranush Ghazanchyan

    The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$21
    million loan for theThird Public Sector Modernization Project (PSMP
    III) for Armenia. This project will further assist the Government
    of Armenia in its on-going efforts to improve quality of the public
    financial reporting and to improve access to selected enhanced
    e-government services.

    PSMP III supports three main components: (i) Public Financial
    Management Information Systems; (ii) e-Governance Solutions for
    Improved Service Delivery; and (iii) Capacity Building and Small
    Capacity Building Interventions.

    The first component will assist the Government to improve the
    efficiency, effectiveness and comprehensiveness of its financial
    management and accounting through the development of a Government
    Financial Management Information System (GFMIS). The proposed GFMIS
    modules will include improvement, among others, in budget planning,
    budget execution, public procurement, debt management, accounting,
    budget reporting, and the general ledger.

    "Strengthening governance through improved public service delivery is
    among the priorities for Bank support," said Laura E. Bailey, World
    Bank Country Manager for Armenia. "I will particularly highlight
    the proposed Citizen-Government Interface for Accountability under
    the second project component. This will support the establishment
    of feedback mechanisms to facilitate citizen and business access
    to government services, address grievances, and monitor client
    satisfaction."

    The second component will support the implementation of select
    priorities as identified in Armenia's e-Governance Strategy. Key
    elements will include: development of the enabling environment by
    strengthening policy, regulatory frameworks and building institutions
    and capacity within the government to undertake introduction of
    e-governance platforms, and introduction of foundational platforms
    and infrastructure necessary for government-wide e-services.

    Other sub-components are focused on developing:e-Transport modules
    to improve efficiency and the quality of transportation services in
    Yerevan; additional modules to the current e-Consular system, including
    a consular registration process for travelers and issuing e-visas;
    and upgrading the current e-Licensing system through automation of the
    simplified procedure of licenses issued on behalf of the Ministry of
    Finance, management of electronic license registry, and streamlined
    reports and notifications.

    The third component seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Civil
    Service Council and Armenian Academy of Public Administration to
    modernize the training system for public servants and raise the
    quality of trainings.

    PSMP III continues the reforms supported under PSMP I and PSMP II
    (on-going). PSMP-I, implemented between 2004 and 2011, supported
    institutional reforms in the areas of policy formulation, local
    government and civil service, together with Public Financial Management
    interventions in the areas of public procurement and external and
    internal audit.

    The World Bank will provide a US$21 million IBRD fixed spread loan
    with a 14.5-year grace period and a total repayment term of 25 years.

    Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, the commitments
    to Armenia total approximately US$2,179.730 million.

    http://www.armradio.am/en/2015/10/01...modernization/
    Hayastan or Bust.

    Comment


    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      The Silk Road takes a new fork
      http://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-bus...a-link-europe/


      As China continues to attempt to spread its soft power across developing countries in East Europe, Armenia has become a focus as direct way for Beijing to spread its links to Europe directly.

      The most compelling element about Armenia over its counterparts is its favorable geography, which would allow it to function as a unique connecting link not only to Europe but to the Middle East and Asia as China spreads its Silk Road plans across the world.

      The country historically was on the original so-called “Silk Road,” the network of roads, trails and tracks for a cavalcade of traders who took silks, spices and other Asian goods over the thousands of kilometers that stretched across Asia and Eurasia eventually to Europe and even London, trading as they went in both directions.

      Today the projected revival of the Silk Road put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 has motivated the two countries to deepen bilateral relationships. Over the past decade, much of Central Asia has grown from a marginal position in Beijing’s strategic calculus to the top of its diplomatic priorities: China is fast emerging as a vital economic and political player in this strategically located and resource-rich region. In 2013, Xi visited several Central Asian countries bringing billions in investment.

      One of the major projects said to have caught China’s attention is an Armenian-Iran railroad, ostensibly to be funded by the Chinese government. Such an agreement gained credibility after a visit by the Prime Minister of Armenia, Hovik Abrahamyan, to Beijing last week. Abrahamyan came at the invitation of China’s premier, Li Keqiang, to participate in the Euro-Asia Economic Forum taking place September 24-26, in Xi’an, the capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

      Although Armenia and Iran have different religions and controversial general histories stretching back to the Middle Ages and even before, they have been considered to be loyal neighbors for decades. The new railroad between the two countries could increase trade turnover and would have a great impact on their economies as well as China’s.

      A preliminary estimate of the expense of building the railroad is approximately US$3 billion. Analysts assigned by Li Keqiang is reportedly now researching projected returns of the project, according to Karen Chshmarityan, Armenia’s Economics Minister, who joined Prime Minister Abrahamyan during his visit to China.

      China has its own special economic-political interests in an Armenian-Iran railroad given its ties to Iran in addition to providing a direct rail path to Europe. As for Armenia, it would give the country immediate access to Central Asia and China.

      Chinese organizations are also considering involvement in an ongoing Armenian project, the ”North-West road corridor,’ 556 km of freeway which will stretch to the Iranian border. The freeway is designed to deliver goods to the Georgian border, then to Black Sea ports. The budget of the project is estimated at US$1.5 billion. The deadline for completion is 2019. The Armenian government believes the project will improve European-Caucasus-Asian road communication, at the intersection of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Armenia has been cooperating with the Asian Development Bank. China is not only interested in launching a smooth way for future trading opportunities, but also is motivated in spreading Chinese culture and language in East Europe, especially in Armenia. After ongoing layout process, during this autumn, the construction of the first Chinese school in the region, in Yerevan, is expected to kick off.

      The school is designed for 600 students. The school will cost about 8 million USD according to the Minister of Education Armen Ashotyan briefed last year. It will be provided by a hall, museum, theater, and dormitory. In the future, Chinese language may also be on the schedule of secondary school program as a selective foreign language.

      China assists also Armenian military field. Based on the memorandum signed by Armenian and Chinese Defense Ministers, in 2013, Republic of China provides Armenia with annual military assistance for 5 million Chinese Yuan.

      In the recent years, Chinese government has assisted the economic and social development of Armenia in equipping buses and ambulances, as well as lent one hundred million Yuan financial aid. Overall, as reports armenpress.am, a state news-agency, from 2012 to 2014 Chinese government has donated Armenia 230 million Yuan assistance.

      And also, both countries have confirmed their attitude towards each other’s national sensitive issues. Two presidents have announced it during the visit of Serj Sargsyan, President of Armenia, in China,in March, this year. Summarizing the visit, President.am particularly, reported that two sides will not participate in any alliances or coalitions that focus on either the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of China or Armenia.

      Comment


      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        Originally posted by Zeytun View Post
        The Silk Road takes a new fork
        http://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-bus...a-link-europe/


        As China continues to attempt to spread its soft power across developing countries in East Europe, Armenia has become a focus as direct way for Beijing to spread its links to Europe directly.

        The most compelling element about Armenia over its counterparts is its favorable geography, which would allow it to function as a unique connecting link not only to Europe but to the Middle East and Asia as China spreads its Silk Road plans across the world.

        The country historically was on the original so-called “Silk Road,” the network of roads, trails and tracks for a cavalcade of traders who took silks, spices and other Asian goods over the thousands of kilometers that stretched across Asia and Eurasia eventually to Europe and even London, trading as they went in both directions.

        Today the projected revival of the Silk Road put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 has motivated the two countries to deepen bilateral relationships. Over the past decade, much of Central Asia has grown from a marginal position in Beijing’s strategic calculus to the top of its diplomatic priorities: China is fast emerging as a vital economic and political player in this strategically located and resource-rich region. In 2013, Xi visited several Central Asian countries bringing billions in investment.

        One of the major projects said to have caught China’s attention is an Armenian-Iran railroad, ostensibly to be funded by the Chinese government. Such an agreement gained credibility after a visit by the Prime Minister of Armenia, Hovik Abrahamyan, to Beijing last week. Abrahamyan came at the invitation of China’s premier, Li Keqiang, to participate in the Euro-Asia Economic Forum taking place September 24-26, in Xi’an, the capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

        Although Armenia and Iran have different religions and controversial general histories stretching back to the Middle Ages and even before, they have been considered to be loyal neighbors for decades. The new railroad between the two countries could increase trade turnover and would have a great impact on their economies as well as China’s.

        A preliminary estimate of the expense of building the railroad is approximately US$3 billion. Analysts assigned by Li Keqiang is reportedly now researching projected returns of the project, according to Karen Chshmarityan, Armenia’s Economics Minister, who joined Prime Minister Abrahamyan during his visit to China.

        China has its own special economic-political interests in an Armenian-Iran railroad given its ties to Iran in addition to providing a direct rail path to Europe. As for Armenia, it would give the country immediate access to Central Asia and China.

        Chinese organizations are also considering involvement in an ongoing Armenian project, the ”North-West road corridor,’ 556 km of freeway which will stretch to the Iranian border. The freeway is designed to deliver goods to the Georgian border, then to Black Sea ports. The budget of the project is estimated at US$1.5 billion. The deadline for completion is 2019. The Armenian government believes the project will improve European-Caucasus-Asian road communication, at the intersection of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Armenia has been cooperating with the Asian Development Bank. China is not only interested in launching a smooth way for future trading opportunities, but also is motivated in spreading Chinese culture and language in East Europe, especially in Armenia. After ongoing layout process, during this autumn, the construction of the first Chinese school in the region, in Yerevan, is expected to kick off.

        The school is designed for 600 students. The school will cost about 8 million USD according to the Minister of Education Armen Ashotyan briefed last year. It will be provided by a hall, museum, theater, and dormitory. In the future, Chinese language may also be on the schedule of secondary school program as a selective foreign language.

        China assists also Armenian military field. Based on the memorandum signed by Armenian and Chinese Defense Ministers, in 2013, Republic of China provides Armenia with annual military assistance for 5 million Chinese Yuan.

        In the recent years, Chinese government has assisted the economic and social development of Armenia in equipping buses and ambulances, as well as lent one hundred million Yuan financial aid. Overall, as reports armenpress.am, a state news-agency, from 2012 to 2014 Chinese government has donated Armenia 230 million Yuan assistance.

        And also, both countries have confirmed their attitude towards each other’s national sensitive issues. Two presidents have announced it during the visit of Serj Sargsyan, President of Armenia, in China,in March, this year. Summarizing the visit, President.am particularly, reported that two sides will not participate in any alliances or coalitions that focus on either the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of China or Armenia.
        This is good news, however one should realize that large infrastructure projects like this do not really benefit the average Armenian. There isn't enough cargo going into and out of Armenia to justify rail. Politically however, it is absolutely necessary to be part of as many big projects that link us to the global supply chain and strengthen our position as a transit country. Partnering with China, Russia, India, the ME, and the EU as an air, rail, and road hub is part of building stronger ties with the International Community. If possible, we should let these countries foot the bill for as many projects as they can.

        Comment


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Digitec 2015 Set To Attract Record Number of Participants

          YEREVAN (ARKA)—The 11th Digitec technology exhibition, which will take place in Yerevan on October 2-4, is expected to bring together a record number of participants, Karen Vardanyan, the executive director of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), the organizer of the annual event, said today.

          Speaking at a news conference, Vardanyan said that 170 companies have confirmed their participation in the exhibition to showcase their products and services. The number is 70% higher from last year’s figure, he said, adding that they expect 40,000 visitors.

          “This year we have companies from the U.S., China, Taiwan, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Iran,” said Vardanyan.

          Vardanyan said that Armenia’s technological progress has consolidated ethnic Armenians across the globe as well as ethnic Armenian technological leaders. He said that a group of Armenians from the U.S. who will participate in Digitec have already arrived in Yerevan.

          Director of Ucom, Hayk Yesayan, said his company, which is a platinum sponsor of Digitec, has prepared surprises for visitors, which they will reveal tomorrow. Yesayan said Ucom has participated in six Digitec exhibitions and believes the event is important as a good platform to speak with Ucom subscribers, understand their problems, and provide them with new ideas and solutions.

          The Union of Information Technology Enterprises of Armenia was founded in 2000 to protect the economic interests of information technology companies, to stimulate business development, and promote research in the field of information technology.

          Ucom (Universal Communications) founded in 2007, is engaged in providing telecommunications services. With assistance from Ericsson, the company has created a broadband access network, providing Internet services, IP-TV, and fixed telephone services.

          http://asbarez.com/140379/digitec-20...-participants/

          MICE tourism and Entertainment tourism (concerts, sporting events like marathons and bike races, theater) are definitely the direction Armenian tourism should go in. They attract larger number of people, higher caliber people, for positive causes. Being in the center of the Eurasian continent, there is a competitive advantage.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meetin...g,_exhibitions

          Comment


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            ARMENIA: LIKE GREECE, TOO MUCH FOREIGN DEBT?

            EurasiaNet.org
            Oct 6 2015

            October 6, 2015 - 11:41am, by Gayane Abrahamyan

            Some economic experts in Armenia are starting to worry: they believe
            the Armenian government is taking on too much foreign debt without
            clear means to finance it.

            For some, Armenia's debt picture is conjuring up images of Greece,
            though admittedly on a much smaller scale. The tiny South Caucasus
            country's $4.6 billion in foreign debt is just a sliver of that which
            EU-member Greece ran up (360 billion euros, or just over $400 billion,
            at its height), and Yerevan's predicament has far fewer potential
            implications for the international financial system. But on a basic
            level, some observers in Yerevan are questioning whether the Armenian
            government is following a Greek pattern by using infusions of outside
            cash to cover fiscal gaps and postpone economic reforms.

            Armenia's foreign debts have increased by roughly 300 percent over
            the past seven years, and now account for 46.6 percent of its 2015
            Gross Domestic Product of over 4.5 trillion drams ($9.63 billion),
            according to the country's Central Bank. The International Monetary
            Fund already has expressed concern about that debt load.

            "We think that Armenia's external debt is now in the discomfort
            range, and the ... government needs to take measures so that the debt
            against the GDP index begins to fall," the International Monetary
            Fund representative in Armenia, Teresa Sanchez, said in a July 20
            interview with the local daily Haykakan Zhamanak.

            At nearly $1.6 billion, the World Bank holds roughly 40 percent of
            Armenia's foreign debt, the highest portion, the Central Bank states.

            The IMF ranks as a distant second, with over $442 million, or about
            12 percent of the official total. The Asian Development Bank has
            provided $300.6 million, or nearly 8 percent of the load.

            Exact figures for all of Armenia's annual interest payments and other
            obligations could not be immediately defined. Experts' estimates of
            interest payments range from $80 million to $200 million per year.

            As was the case in Greece, foreign debt is growing at a faster rate in
            Armenia than economic growth. In 2015, debt increased by 10.58 percent,
            while export rates have decreased by more than 15.7 percent since 2014,
            official statistics show.

            The IMF in late September estimated that Armenia's economy will expand
            this year by 2.5 percent. Unemployment stands at 18.2 percent of the
            estimated working-age population of roughly 2.18 million; unofficial
            numbers peg the rate much higher. Nearly a third of Armenia's roughly
            3 million inhabitants live in poverty.

            Foreign debt, which now outstrips Armenia's state budget by $1.6
            billion, according to the Central Bank, was supposed to help put the
            country on a sustainable development path, but, so far, the country
            has little to show for it, said economist Artak Manukian of the
            anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Armenia.

            "The borrowed funds have not boosted the economy at all, not
            contributed to the development of promising economic sectors, have not
            diversified the economy; hence, there is no stable income," he said.

            Only "shopping malls and casinos," rather than "new factories,"
            have opened recently.

            "The issue is not so much about the size of the debt, as it is
            about ...

            development opportunities," agreed economist Vilen Khachatrian, a
            professor at the Armenian State University of Economics in Yerevan,
            the Armenian capital. "Such a speedy increase in foreign debt is a
            reason for concern because those funds are used for eliminating the
            budget deficit and have become an additional burden unfavorable for
            economic growth."

            Some observers also voice worry about the way loan money is used. For
            instance, a 2014 investigation by the Control Chamber, which monitors
            government spending, found that a $13 million World-Bank-financed
            project to develop 700 hectares of apricot, peach and walnut orchards
            resulted in only four hectares of crops planted. An inquiry into the
            use of the loan money remains ongoing.

            Beyond the IMF's comments on the debt in July, representatives of
            the international financial community have not publicly criticized
            the government on the issue.

            The World Bank's Yerevan office previously has declined to speak on
            topics not covered by its usual scope of research. When queried about
            the debt level by EurasiaNet.org at a September 25 news conference,
            an IMF representative declined to offer additional comment, and the
            IMF did not respond to follow-up inquiries.

            The Central Bank did not respond to a request for comment.

            Estimates vary about the actual size of Armenia's foreign debt. Former
            Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian, an economist and former World Bank
            advisor, claims the actual foreign debt is higher than the officially
            reported $4.6 billion. Multiple government guarantees for corporate
            debt, such as Soviet-era chemical plant Nairit's $450 million
            guarantee, add to the debt level, he alleged.

            "We have no precise knowledge of the amount of companies' and banks'
            foreign debts, which also has to be keyed into the grand total,"
            said Bagratian, now an opposition MP.

            Officials and governing party politicians downplay the notion that
            that Armenia faces any problems from its foreign debt. Gagik Minasian,
            the chair of parliament's Standing Committee on Financial Credit
            and Budget Affairs, told EurasiaNet.org that the $4.6 billion debt
            was a "moderate, manageable amount." In 2015, Armenia will use "only
            about 4 percent of its revenues" to meet obligations on that debt,
            he estimated.

            Editor's note: Gayane Abrahamyan is a freelance reporter and editor
            in Yerevan.

            http://www.eurasianet.org/node/75421
            Hayastan or Bust.

            Comment


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              METSAMOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANT TO SHUT DOWN IN TWO PHASES

              12:22, 7 October, 2015

              YEREVAN, OCTOBER 7, ARMENPRESS. The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant
              will shut down for 3-4 months in 2017 and 2018 aimed at extending
              the exploitation of the plant's second unit. "Armenpress" reports
              that Yervand Zakharyan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of
              the Republic of Armenia said the aforementioned during his briefing
              with the journalists noting that it had been decided earlier to shut
              down the nuclear power plant for 6-7 months but later the decision
              was changed.

              "Taking into account the situation connected with electricity prices
              in Armenia after serious studies we came to the conclusion that the
              operation of the Nuclear Power Plant could be stopped in 2 phases
              with a duration of 3-4 months. The first 3 months - in 2017 and the
              3-4 months - in 2018 thus alleviating its influence on the prices,"
              Minister said.

              According to him, serious preparatory activities have been carried
              out and a joint coordinating committee has been created which studied
              and evaluated current activities.
              Hayastan or Bust.

              Comment


              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                ARMENIA: LIKE GREECE, TOO MUCH FOREIGN DEBT?


                http://www.eurasianet.org/node/75421
                Well the Title of the article is misleading
                Lets assume Armenia's external debt-to-gdp is around 50%
                Greece's external debt-to-gdp is around 170%.
                So comparing Armenia's debt to greece's debt is inaccurate.

                Comment


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  Eurasianet's Armenian writers are trashy sellouts, the entire rag is one big anti-Russian and Turkish-friendly circle jerk. Gayane's not even the worst, someone called Marianna Grigoryan once wrote "ALLEGED GENOCIDE" when mentioning the genocide on Eurasianet. I wish I was kidding...

                  But many Armenians aren’t buying it. Families are arguably the most sacred of social institutions in this tiny country of just under three million people. That status exists elsewhere in the region, too, but in Armenia, the tough-knocks survivor of war, alleged genocide and vast migration, it exercises a particular pull.

                  http://www.eurasianet.org/node/71666
                  Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!

                  Comment


                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    Originally posted by Federate View Post
                    Eurasianet's Armenian writers are trashy sellouts, the entire rag is one big anti-Russian and Turkish-friendly circle jerk. Gayane's not even the worst, someone called Marianna Grigoryan once wrote "ALLEGED GENOCIDE" when mentioning the genocide on Eurasianet. I wish I was kidding...
                    Money makes for a lot of xxxxxs.
                    Hayastan or Bust.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      Originally posted by Federate View Post
                      Eurasianet's Armenian writers are trashy sellouts, the entire rag is one big anti-Russian and Turkish-friendly circle jerk. Gayane's not even the worst, someone called Marianna Grigoryan once wrote "ALLEGED GENOCIDE" when mentioning the genocide on Eurasianet. I wish I was kidding...
                      I deleted my original response because I actually thought the article was from Marianna Grigoryan. That woman is the most repulsive treasonous wh0re living in this country. The articles she puts out on a monthly basis defaming our country for money from Open Society should be considered treason by any definition of the word.
                      http://www.eurasianet.org/taxonomy/term/2614

                      Same goes for this article. The shameless author, who I'm sure herself has no understand of economics or basic statistics, just throws a bunch of irrelevant data hoping it sound intelligent enough to pass this garbage off as an article. Armenia's debt is in a manageable area. It was higher five years ago after the global recession. Some debt had to be taken on to get through this unexpected regional economic crisis.
                      <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

                      Comment

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