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armenia

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ARMENIA


  
   

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 2,367 2,100 1,900 135
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 790 570 530 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
29,800

Population
3,326,448

Principal ethnic groups
Armenian 93.3%
Azeri 2.6%
Russian 2%

Capital
Yerevan

Currency
Dram

President
Robert Kocharian
 

Background:
An Orthodox Christian country, Armenia was incorporated into Russia in 1828 and the USSR in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated exclave, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the exclave in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. 

Update No: 281 - (27/05/04)

The Armenians are in a predicament. They have a dictator in charge in Robert Kocharian who is not going to go away easily. He is the victor of a war with the Azeris in the early 1990s over Nagorno-Kharabak, which he once ruled as president. 
Hence his intransigence on the subject of peace negotiations with Azerbaijan, which is, nevertheless, exactly what both sides need. Armenia is being blockaded by both Azerbaijan and Turkey, constraining its trade and development.

Economy booms
The one consolation prize for the Armenians right now is that they have a booming economy. GDP grew by 12.9% in 2002 and by 7.3% in 2003, led by industry, whose output rose by 14.9% in 2003. Foreign trade grew by 30% last year, with exports (34.2%) outstripping imports (28.6%).
All this may be just a bit too good to be true. The use of decimal points is a trifle suspect. Even in the West the statistical figures come with an admitted large margin of error. Moreover, it is all from a very low base

Russia and Georgia in the CIS
The Armenians are naturally cultivating their other neighbours within the CIS, namely Russia and Georgia. The Russians are the eternal ally, fellow Orthodox Christian and former Soviet. So for that matter are the Georgians, who have just had a revolution in which a dictator or two has bitten the dust.
That is naturally not the subject of diplomatic discourse. Premier Andranik Markaryan recently met his counterpart, Premier Mikhail Fradkov in the Kyrgyz city of Cholpon-Ata within the framework of the CIS. Armenia is to join the 'North-South' transport corridor, linking itself, Russia, India and Iran with Kazakstan, Oman and Tajikistan. There is to be an improvement of the railways between Russia and Armenia via Abkhazia, the secessionist province of Georgia.
But the best export Armenia could acquire from Georgia is democracy! It remains to be seen whether that will happen!

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FOREIGN LOANS

Armenia set to benefit from World Bank loans

Three new credit programs approved for Armenia by the World Bank board of directors will be realized in four to five years, the head of the World Bank's office in Yerevan, Roger Robinson, said, Mediamax News Agency reported. 
He said that the World Bank's board of directors made a decision to allocate three credits to Armenia amounting to US$35m, US$23m of which will be used for the municipal water and wastewater project; US$10.15m for the public sector modernization project and US$1.75m for the agricultural reform support project.

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MINERALS & METALS

Armenia determined to sell copper mine by December


Armenia plans to sell the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine by the end of this year, Ashot Shakhnazarian, a first deputy trade and economic development minister, said, Interfax News Agency reported recently. 
Shakhnazarian said the deadline for submitting bids would be in September. Although Armenia is offering up to 75% of the Zangezur plant's shares at the tender, the government will agree to sell all of the stock to an investor that makes the right offer, the ministry official said.
The Zangezur combine is profitable; last year its net profits topped the 7m mark. A tender called in March has drawn interest from leading international companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Glencore Interm, and Russia's RusA1 and Norilsk Nickel. The government expects to raise at least 130m from the sale of the shares and licences to the Kadjaran field, which contains the FSUTs biggest molybdenum reserves.
The price was not considered too high according to Shakhnazarian. The government will require the Zangezur plant's new owner to triple or even quintuple output to 30-40m tonnes of ore per year and to implement new, more environmentally-friendly mining technology. Zangezur obtained 6,300 tonnes of molybdenum concentrate and 11,000 tonnes of copper in copper concentrate from 8.1m tonnes of ore in 2003.

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TRANSPORT

Armenia joins agreement on construction of Asian highways

Armenia, along with 32 other countries, has joined an agreement on construction of a network of the Asian highways. The press service of the Ministry of Transport and Communications said that the agreement was signed in Shanghai on 27th April, Noyan Tapan News Agency reported. 
Armenian Minister of Labour and Social Security, Agvan Vardanyan, signed the agreement on behalf of Armenia. 
The agreement has been prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. This is the largest agreement within the framework of the commission's activity. Until this agreement, Armenia was a member of only two out of 60 international agreements in this sphere. The main aim of this agreement is the development and harmonization of the Asian regional roads' network and infrastructures, ensuring road security and strengthening of the economic relations between the sides of the agreement. The agreement confirms a map of the Asian highways: the most important Armenian highways which are of international importance are included in the map, although, considering Turkey's stout resistance, the sections, Kars-Gyumri and Ashtarak-Dogytbayzet have not been indicated on the map. The criteria for engineering, construction and classification of the highways have also been established.

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