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ARMENIA


  
  



In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 2,797 2,367 2,100 139
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 950 790 570 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
29,800

Population
2,991,360

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

Capital
Yerevan

Currency
Dram

President
Robert Kocharian


 


Update No: 296 - (26/08/05)

GDP growing rapidly, drawing Western donors praise 
Western donors recently praised Armenia's economic growth. Officials from International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donor organisations believe Armenia has taken drastic steps to reduce poverty. Armenia's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 10.2 percent year-on-year in January-June 2005. GDP growth has averaged 11 per cent during the previous four years. 
Armenia's foreign trade was up 26.9 per cent for January-June and grew 8.1 per cent year-on-year in June. Armenian GDP grew 10.1 per cent in 2004, industrial output increased 2.1per cent and agricultural production rose 14.5 per cent.
"Armenia is on a promising path toward sustained high growth and the alleviation of poverty," Agustin Carstens, the IMF's deputy managing director, said at the end of a mid-July visit to Yerevan. Household income surveys regularly conducted by the Armenian government show that the proportion of Armenians living below the official poverty line shrunk from 55 per cent in 1999 to just below 43 per cent in 2003. The poverty rate would stand at 32 per cent if it were calculated using World Bank methodology that uses consumption expenditure, as opposed to income. Each income survey is based on data collected from about 5,000 households. Officials said that the results of similar research conducted last year and to be released this autumn will show a further drop in poverty. Carstens said that very few countries have achieved progress within a short duration. In May, the IMF approved of Armenia's economic aid by offering a three-year, 34m Euro loan agreement.
Carstens strongly endorsed the Armenian government's economic strategy. "The IMF stands ready to continue to assist Armenia with policy and technical advice, as well as financial support in implementing its reform agenda," he said. 
Brian Kearney, who runs a US government-funded project to reform Armenia's social security system, said that economic growth has widely improved the living standards. The National Statistical Service of Armenia (NSSA) estimated in a 2003 report that the average Armenian family spent two thirds of its income on food - a telling indicator of persisting hardship." The Armenian government's tax revenues are on track to rise by about 30 per cent this year, but they will still make up a very modest 16 per cent of the GDP. 
However, unemployment is still the major problem. The official unemployment rate, measured by the Armenian ministry of Labor, stands at just over 10 per cent. According to economists, first-half growth in this year appears to be connected with a 43 per cent surge in the construction sector. Another important factor is cash remittances from hundreds of thousands of Armenians working abroad. The Armenian central bank said that remittances jumped 50 per cent to 750m Euro in 2004.

Armenian leaders talk shop with IMF
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director Agustin Carstens arrived in Armenia on July 20th to discuss with the Armenian leadership aspects of cooperation between Yerevan and the IMF as well as economic reforms in the country, the IMF office in Yerevan told Interfax. This was Carstens' first visit to Armenia and he expressed his satisfaction with his visit to Armenia. 
According to him, the aim of his trip was to meet with the Armenian authorities and review the progress they have achieved over the past several years. Carstens held discussions with Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, finance and economy minister, foreign affairs minister and chairman of the central bank of Armenia, as well as representatives of the international community. During a previous meeting in Washington with Armenian ambassador to the US Tatoul Markarian, Carstens praised the economic reforms in Armenia, which according to him had resulted in stable growth in the country's economy, a reduction in the poverty level and the strengthening of the national currency. 
He said, "Most recently, in May the IMF's executive board approved a new 3-year programme under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Arrangement in support of the government's economic programme through 2008. Armenia will be eligible to draw about US$34m under this concessional facility over the next 3 years."

Armenia to host international conference on IT industry
An International conference entitled "Information Science and Information Technologies (CSIT 2005) will be held in Yerevan from September 19-23, a member of the RA National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Mariam Harutyunian told Interfax recently. The RA NAS and the institute of informatics and automation problems initiated the event. Harutyunian said that scientists from the United States, France, Switzerland, India, Russia, Georgia, Canada, Australia, Finland and Ukraine would participate in the conference. 
The purpose of the conference is the exchange of scientific and technological information between the scientists engaged in information science and technology. The reports will be made on algorithms-automates and logic, discrete mathematics and combinatory analysis, information theory and encoding theory, artificial intelligence and management systems, database, scientific calculations, telecommunication, computer network design, information technologies and their application.

Armenia plans to build new nuclear power units 
Armenian Prime Minister, Andranik Margaryan, met with the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Muhammad El-Baradei, during the latter's visit to Yerevan on July 29. During the meeting, Margaryan said that the government of Armenia believed the construction of new nuclear power units is a strategic goal to maintain and enhance the republic's energy security and independence, Interfax News Agency reported.
Margaryan said Armenia was committed to using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only and pursuing a nuclear non-proliferation policy. The Armenian nuclear power station was launched in 1980, but its operations were suspended in March 1989 for political reasons, given the earthquake that had just taken place. It restarted operations in November 1995 due to a severe energy crisis in the republic.
The station's second unit is equipped with Russia's first-generation VVER-440 reactor and generates an average of 30-40 per cent of all electric power in the republic. For his part, El-Baradei said the IAEA could assist Armenia in conducting feasibility studies for the construction of a new nuclear power station.
He praised Armenia's progress in enhancing the safety of the country's nuclear power station, but still much was left to be done. He suggested the drafting of a systematised plan with an outline of the project's timeframe and financial breakdown to simplify creditors' efforts. According to experts, the nuclear power station can operate until 2016.
In September 2003, the nuclear power station was transferred to a subsidiary of Russia's electricity monopoly RAO UES and Rosenergoatom Corporation for five years of trust management. 
The European Union insisted that Armenia's nuclear power station be deactivated and is ready to allocate 100m Euro for this purpose. However, Armenian experts said that the creation of alternative energy capacities in the mountainous republic would require almost 1bn Euro.

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FOREIGN COOPERATION

Iran, Armenia discuss stronger bilateral ties 


Armenian Prime Minister, Andranik Margaryan, and the visiting Governor General of Iranian southern province Hormuzgan, Ebrahim Derazgisou, discussed ways of expanding bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields at a recent meeting in Yerevan, New Europe reported. 
Margaryan said Armenia is interested in promoting ties with Iran. He added that strategic projects now implemented jointly by Iran and Armenia would further consolidate mutual cooperation. Derazgisou, for his part, said that Hormuzgan province which is located at the beginning of North-South corridor played a crucial role in transit of goods in the region. 
Margaryan expressed his congratulations to Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his landslide victory in the ninth presidential election and hoped bilateral ties would receive further boost with the coming to power of the new government in Iran. Meanwhile, Derazgisou also met with head of the Armenian presidential administration, Artashes Tumanian. During the talks, Derazgisou voiced Iran's readiness to expand economic cooperation with Armenia. Tumanian stressed the need to make use of bilateral potentials by tradesmen and economic and industrial officials considering the important role Hormuzgan province plays in trade exchanges.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Japanese interest grows in Armenian market 

Armenian Deputy Trade and Economic Development Minister, Tigran Davtian, recently announced that Japanese entrepreneurs are showing increasing interest in Armenia and are sure to enter its market, Interfax News Agency reported. 
An Armenian-Japanese business conference was held in Moscow in late June. "At any rate, the Moscow conference was the first and serious step as a follow-up to Prime Minister Margaryn's visit to Japan," the deputy minister said, adding also that Japanese businessmen's impression about Armenia from the conference was very positive. He said leading Japanese companies, however, before deciding to enter a market usually weigh all possible positive and negative consequences According to him, the next such conference is likely to take place in Yerevan. Davtian said the Japanese are interested specially in Armenia's tourist sector, electronics and trade. Armenians presented to the Japanese up to 24 programmes, encompassing food, light industry, tools building and high technology sectors.

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