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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    Armenia To Cut Visa Fees In Bid To Boost Tourism

    By Emil Danielyan

    The government will ask parliament to approve a fivefold reduction in visa fees for foreign citizens making short trips to Armenia as part of its efforts to boost the national tourism industry.

    Foreigners traveling to Armenia currently have to pay a fixed fee of 15,000 drams ($50) for a visa valid for up to 120 days. Under a draft legal amendment approved by the government on Thursday, those of them who plan to stay in the country for up to 21 days would be charged only 3,000 drams. The fee for those planning longer stays would remain unchanged.

    A government statement said the measure is designed to attract more tourists to Armenia. It argued that such travelers typically spend no more than three weeks in a particular country.

    Obtaining an Armenian visa is already quite easy. Foreigners can get it not only at Armenian consulates abroad but at Yerevan airport and the country’s land border crossings. Also, in 2003 Armenia became the second country in the world to issue visas online.

    Armenia’s tourism sector has expanded significantly over the past decade parallel to its economic growth and improving services infrastructure. Successive governments in Yerevan have declared its development a top economic priority.

    The cabinet of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian also approved on Thursday a separate four-year plan of measures which it hopes will spur further growth in tourism. The government statement said they are specifically aimed at “improving the legal framework regulating the sector and developing the tourism infrastructure.” It did not elaborate.

    According to government estimates, a record-high 500,000 foreigners, most of them ethnic Armenians from Europe, the United States and Russia, visited Armenia last year. Tourism officials at the Armenian Ministry of Economy say their number will likely rise to 600,000 this year despite the recent war in neighboring Georgia.

    Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      Cash flows from Armenia’s partner countries reason for pessimistic forecasts, premier saysYEREVAN, October 20. /ARKA/.

      The reason for gloomy forecasts of Armenia’s economy is financial flows from the country’s main trade partners, RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said last week.

      “Since the European Union has 60% share in Armenia’s trade, we depend much on the financial situation in the European trade zone,” the premier said, summing up the Armenian delegation’s visit to Washington on October 9-15.

      Armenia-EU trade turnover totaled $1,219.3mln in January-August 2008 - 20.5% year-on-year increase. The share of EU in Armenia’s trade was 36.8% in the reporting period. European exports to Armenia rose 9.6% to $392mln. Armenian imports to EU increased by 26.4% to $827.3mln.

      “Inflation risks remain high in EU, and the European Central Bank has to lower the interest rate to avoid further economic downturn,” Sargsyan said, stressing the importance of overhauling European and U.S. economies.

      “However, the record-low fuel prices in stock markets have no influence on consumer prices due to considerable economic lags,” the premier was quoted saying.

      He underlined the Washington debates and talks over 2009 fuel price forecasts.

      Sargsyan urged Armenia to keep a vigilant watch over economic developments in Europe, adding setback of import prices will be beneficial for Armenia’s economic programs, as the main reason for this year’s record-high inflation was the hike in import prices.

      “If import prices plummet, Armenia’s harsh monetary and credit policy will help curb inflation and the Central Bank will be able to lower interest rates, covering liquidity needs and boosting economy,” the premier said.

      He is absoutely right. A strict monetary discipline is the key to protecting the economy.


      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        This is beyond awesome. A giant leap forward for technology in Armenia!

        iCON Communications to launch its WiMAX service in Armenia during 2009
        /PanARMENIAN.Net/ iCON Communications, the newest provider of wireless broadband IP based communications services in Armenia, is on track to launch its WiMAX service in Yerevan prior by January 2009, and extending its coverage into major cities in Armenia during 2009, Adam Kablanian, Chief Executive Officer of iCON Communications, told journalists today.

        WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications standard based technology that ensures secure and reliable wireless fixed, nomadic or mobile data transmission. The technology will offer initially high speed internet that is a wireless alternative for cable and DSL, thus allowing users to enjoy an information highway to the world anywhere and anytime. WiMAX extends the range and speed of existing wireless internet technologies by covering an entire geographic area, rather than limited “hot-spots”. In other words, customers of iCON internet will be able to access our network wherever they are in our coverage areas, very similar to cellular telephone coverage. The major advantage of WiMAX over other “wired” technologies is that installation and activation is immediate, and does not require any “last-mile” connection.

        iCON will offer high-speed Wireless broadband internet, Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Voice over IP (VoIP) services to consumer, corporate and governmental customers in Armenia at very competitive prices. “Our corporate philosophy is to leverage global standards of technical performance, customer service and competitive pricing to becoming the connecting force between Armenians of all ages and the global community,” stated Adam Kablanian. “We are excited to participate in the investment required to build the future competitiveness of the Republic of Armenia by providing fast, reliable and affordable internet service.”

        iCON Communications also announced today that it has secured a multi-million dollar investment by a multinational holding company specializing in telecommunication investments. As a result of this investment, iCON is able to significantly accelerate the rollout of its WiMAX network in Yerevan and the rest of the country, and will benefit from the investor’s broad experience in building and managing similar operations around the world.

        iCON Communications is a premier Broadband Internet Service Provider in Armenia, focusing on the highest technical performance and customer service. iCON aims to unleash the creative and economic potential fueled by the recent rise in living standards and growing consumer confidence in Armenia. Established in late 2007, iCON is on track with an aggressive timeline to launch its services and aims at providing high-quality internet, data and VoIP services, covering all major cities, tourist locations and large enterprise locations in Armenia by the end of 2009, with service available in Yerevan by January 2009.

        Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Great news!

          Does this impending WiMax service mean that a person will be able to access the internet wirelessly from anywhere in say Yerevan? Or, will service only be accessable in a more limited area?

          Anyway, this service is taylor made for a city like Yerevan that does not have a cable infrastructure.
          Last edited by crusader1492; 10-20-2008, 05:34 PM.
          ԼՈԼ, Փեփսի Ատտիքթ


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            Great news indeed. Thanks Federate!


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              Global Gold Registers Significant Discovery in Armenia at Toukhmanuk

              Last update: 9:38 a.m. EDT Oct. 17, 2008
              GREENWICH, CT, Oct 17, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Global Gold Corporation (GBGD:global gold corp com new
              News, chart, profile, more
              Last: 0.40-0.05-11.11%

              9:40am 10/22/2008

              Delayed quote dataAdd to portfolio
              Create alertInsider
              Sponsored by:
              GBGD 0.40, -0.05, -11.1%) is pleased to announce that its exploration, test mining, and processing work has uncovered a significant gold and silver discovery in the Central Area of its Toukhmanuk property in the north central mineral belt of Armenia. Results of recent test mining, diamond drilling of over 20,000 meters, surface sampling of the No. 1 and 15 mineralized areas indicate that there are at least eighteen mineralized zones within a 150 m to 200 m wide east-northeast trending alteration zone in the Central Area of the property.
              These mineralized zones are 5 m to 25 m wide, extend more than 300 m along strike, and extend to more than 150 m at depth. Assay results of surface sampling show values ranging from 1 g/t Au to 280 g/t Au, and from 8 g/t to 520 g/t Ag. Gold mineralization is associated with sulphide minerals, in places as distinct veins within the wider alteration zone. To date, Global Gold has tested only approximately 20% of the mineralized trend in the Central Area, which is interpreted to extend to more than 1.5 km along strike. There are other similar target areas which have not yet been tested on the property. The entire Toukhmanuk license area is now 51.5 square kilometers and the Central Area is 2.2 square kilometers.
              Historical GKZ (State Committee on Reserves) records in the C1, C2 and P1 categories indicate 12.1 Million tonnes of mineralization, averaging 6.74 g/t gold and 30.79 g/t silver, including 2.6 million oz/gold and 11.9 million oz./silver, based on vein widths between 1 and 1.5 meters in veins 1 and 15. The new discovery shows much wider veins and areas of mineralization, in areas, at time coincident with the vein 1 and 15 GKZ records but often divergent with those veins. Thus, new resource estimates and mine planning are currently underway. 60,000 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 3.6 g/t has been mined and stockpiled near the plant for processing through the winter; recoveries for both gravitation and flotation concentrate being produced average over 80%.
              Global Gold Chairman and CEO Van Krikorian stated, "We are positively delighted with this new discovery for ourselves and for Armenia. We acquired this property in 2005, and had a long learning curve, requiring us to explore new areas, think outside convention, and experiment with our own lab and processing technologies to get to this point."
              Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsissyan also received the news of the discovery, positively noting, "Armenia has a rich potential for precious metal mining, and I am happy to congratulate Global Gold on this discovery and its plans to continue development. Foreign investors should know that this government is here to help, and we are glad that our own experts have played a role in assisting the company here."
              Global Gold commissioned its upgraded gravitation and flotation gold processing plant in Toukhmanuk, Armenia on December 20, 2007, and is now constructing an additional flotation and enrichment circuit to increase concentrate grades. A new tailings dam was also constructed in 2007. Current plant capacity is 100,000 tonnes per year. Current throughput is approximately 6,000 tonnes per month.
              In addition, the Company received international, ISO, certification for its laboratory at the Toukhmanuk site, and has been providing laboratory services to other companies. More recently, the Armenian Ministry of Economy also accredited Global Gold's laboratory as one of those authorized to provide results for the Armenian government.
              Global Gold Corporation, an international gold mining, development and exploration company with properties in Armenia, Chile and Canada, is committed to building shareholder value and maintaining social and environmental responsibilities. Minera Global Chile Limitada is a subsidiary through which Global Gold does all of its business in Chile. Global Gold Mining LLC operates in Armenia as a subsidiary of Global Gold Corporation.
              More information can be found at
              To the extent that statements in this press release are not strictly historical, including statements as to revenue projections, business strategy, outlook, objectives, future milestones, plans, intentions, goals, future financial conditions, future collaboration agreements, the success of the Company's development, events conditioned on stockholder or other approval, or otherwise as to future events, such statements are forward-looking, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. Gosudarstvenny Komitet Zapasam (GKZ) resource estimates or former Soviet country state committee on reserves are presented for historical reporting and to provide a basis for assessing Global Gold's choices for its business activities and not to be understood as indicating the existence of Mineral Reserves or Mineral Resources.



              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse


                STEPANAKERT, 29.10.08. DE FACTO. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic government has commissioned to put into operation Stepanakert airport, using small aviation.
                On October 28 NKR Minister of Economic Development Benik Babayan stated it in the course of the NKR government’s sitting, DE FACTO own correspondent in Stepanakert reports. According to Benik Babayan, air connection with Nagorno-Karabakh will stimulate development of the Republic’s economy, in part, open up new perspectives for tourism.
                Helicopters calculated for 10-18 seats are planned to be put into operation at the initial period. Benik Babayan added that it was time to undertake specific measures to construct a railway, which would become an additional means of ensuring the NKR’s security.

                Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  A EurasiaNet Commentary by Haroutiun Khachatrian 10/31/08

                  Armenia may have no energy sources of its own, but the country stands potentially poised to become a major exporter of electricity in the South Caucasus and beyond, analysts say.

                  The role is not entirely novel. In Soviet times, Armenia exported electricity to neighboring Soviet republics and to Turkey, noted Sevak Sarukhanian, an analyst with Noravank, a Yerevan think-tank. After 1991, "the consumption of electricity inside Armenia declined sharply due to the change in industrial capacities, so it is not surprising that Armenia seeks the chance to sell power it its neighbors," Sarukhanian said. Areas of Iran, Turkey and Georgia that border Armenia are all energy-deficient, he maintained.

                  The new Iran-Armenia pipeline has already raised expectations about Armenia’s ability to export consistently high levels of electricity within the region, although details remain outstanding.

                  In recent years, Armenia has exported electricity to two of its neighbors, Iran and Georgia, but these exports were relatively small in volume and irregular in nature. Exports to Georgia have primarily targeted the predominantly ethnic Armenian Samtskhe-Javakhetia region, and could vary from 600 million kilowatt hours in one year to zero in another, according to the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

                  Next year may prove a turning point. A September 15 report from Armenia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources claimed that an agreement on exporting electricity Turkey was reached during Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s September 5 visit to Yerevan. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Armenia’s state-owned power exporting company, and the Belgian company UNIT Group, which is involved in electricity distribution and power generation in Turkey and Romania, signed the deal, according to the ministry. The exports would reportedly start next year.

                  Within Armenia, the main question is whether or not Turkey would allow such imports. Turkey closed its land border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with its ally, Azerbaijan, during that country’s war with Armenia over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

                  Officially, however, no Turkish embargo on Armenian imports exists. But while such a "regulation" does not exist, "[o]n the other hand, ? companies have to get export and import permission, and the general understanding is that they would not be given such permission in [the] case of Armenia," commented Professor Mustafa Aydin, head of the department of International Relations at Ankara’s Tobb University.

                  Aydin believes, however, that the UNIT Group must now be seeking such permission from the Turkish government, in conjunction with the aforementioned export agreement. UNIT Group could not be reached through the company email or phone numbers posted on its website.

                  At a September 24 public discussion on energy issues, Armenia’s energy and natural resources minister, Armen Movsisian, stated that the UNIT Group is working on solving existing problems, and the export deal will be enacted in the coming months. The UNIT Group intends to import at least 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of power next year, and later, even more, the Armenian ministry said in its September 15 report.

                  If this materializes, Armenia would need to increase regular production of electricity by some 25 percent, up from recent annual production levels of 6 billion kilowatt hours per year. That number may increase still further; on October 5, Iran reportedly began importing electricity from Armenia in exchange for natural gas. An affirmation from Armenia’s energy ministry that it "does not yet have a need" for the gas, however, has put a question mark over the extent of any electricity exports to Iran.

                  Meanwhile, work continues on diversifying Armenia’s power-generating capacity and enhancing its reliability as an exporter. ArmRosgazprom Director Karen Karapetian has announced that the company plans to complete work on the fifth, unfinished section of its Hrazdan thermal power plant, Armenia’s largest such facility, by early 2010. This new section will be more efficient and consume less gas than the existing four sectors, which are more than 30 years old.

                  One specialist, however, has expressed concern about the chances for the plant’s modernization, however. Economist Tatul Manaserian, a former National Assembly deputy, believes that modernization may be delayed as Gazprom, the Russian energy company that is the main shareholder in ArmRosgazprom, struggles to contend with the emerging international financial crisis. "Gazprom has many projects in Russia, and I am not sure that the Armenian station will be given priority, in case of financial problems," Manaserian said.

                  The planned construction of a new nuclear power plant could add to that diversification. Manaserian expressed greater optimism about Russian investor participation in that project, given its strategic importance. The proposed plant, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, is expected to be built in the city of Metsamor, 40 kilometers west of Yerevan. It will have a capacity of at least 1,000 megawatts, as opposed to the 407 megawatts of the existing nuclear power plant, long a target for outside criticism.

                  Editor's Note: Haroutiun Khachatrian is a freelance writer based in Yerevan.

                  Posted October 31, 2008 © Eurasianet

                  Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!


                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    Construction Becomes Largest Sector of Armenian Economy

                    YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--Construction has surpassed industry as the single largest sector of the Armenian economy after years of building boom that has been a key driving force behind the country's double-digit economic growth.

                    According to the latest macroeconomic data released by the National Statistical Service (NSS) on Friday, the total monetary value of construction work carried out in Armenia in the first nine months of this year amounted to 604.3 billion drams ($2 billion), equivalent to 23.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

                    Armenia's industrial output accounted for just under 22 percent of GDP in the same period, down from its dominant share of 23.2 percent reported by the NSS in 2007. The manufacturing sector has been largely stagnant in recent years in sharp contrast to an overall economic growth that has averaged 13 percent per annum since 2001.

                    The NSS data show the Armenian economy expanding by 10.4 percent in January-September 2008 on the back of its booming construction and services sectors. The construction boom, largely concentrated in the center of Yerevan, has in turn been fueled by skyrocketing real estate prices and growing demand in expensive housing and office space.

                    There are growing signs that that boom may be coming to an end, with housing prices stabilizing and, according to some realtors, even falling in the last few months. According to the official statistics, growth in construction slowed from almost 20 percent in 2007 to 12 percent in January-September 2008. GDP growth remained in double digits thanks to a pickup in industrial output recorded by the NSS in the third quarter of this year.

                    Well-to-do Armenians living abroad, notably in Russia, are believed to have been key buyers of luxury apartments built in Yerevan. The global financial crisis is calling into question continued large-scale cash inflows from them as well as migrant workers supporting their relatives in Armenia. The Armenian Central Bank says those remittances continued to rise strongly in the third quarter.

                    Friday, October 31, 2008
                    ԼՈԼ, Փեփսի Ատտիքթ


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      Microsoft to Give Computer Training to Teachers, Students in Armenia

                      YEREVAN (Armenpress)--Microsoft is set to invest roughly $600,000 in Armenia in the next five years as part of an international program aimed at training teachers and students to use computers, recently extended to Armenia, the Education Ministry reported.

                      The Vice President of Microsoft's Central and Eastern European operations, Vahe Torossian, told reporters in Yerevan Friday that Microsoft's goal with the program is to “make new technologies available for Armenian teachers and students.”

                      He was in Yerevan meeting with government officials and finalizing a new cooperation agreement with Armenia's Education Ministry.

                      Torossian said the program will provide some 3,000 teachers and 90,000 students with direct access to the latest computer technologies.

                      According to Armenia's Economy Minister, Nerses Yeritsian, most secondary schools in Armenia will receive computers in the next 2-3 years through Microsoft's new education partnership program with Armenia.

                      Torrosian also met with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan for talks on Microsoft's role in Armenia's IT industry.

                      According to the Government's press office, Torossian and Sargsyan agreed that building Armenia's emerging Information Technology sector was a major priority for Microsoft and the Government.

                      Armenia signed an agreement with Microsoft in January last year to help develop its IT industry through a series of programs that would be spearheaded by Microsoft's Eurasian branch.

                      The “Microsoft Innovation Center” established in Armenia as a result of that agreement was considered by Sargsyan during the meeting as one of Microsoft's flagship programs, spearheading the development of Armenia's technology based economy.

                      Azerbaboon: 9.000 Google hits and counting!