Stable (if slow) recovery from the crisis, fewer barriers to business, and more private sector participation: these were Armenia’s achievements in the last three years since the EBRD adopted its previous strategy for the country.
Armenia held more transparent and competitive parliamentary elections in 2012, but continues to face challenges in consolidating its democratic institutions and the rule of law. Transition challenges remain in its economy as well. Taking these into account in the new three-year strategy for Armenia approved by the EBRD Board of Directors, the Bank has set the following priorities:
- developing the financial sector and improve access to finance
- improving municipal and urban transport infrastructure
- developing agribusiness and high value-added, export-oriented industrial companies
- improving the regulatory and institutional framework for sustainable energy and increase added value in the mining sector.
In the last three years, Armenia has had to deal with the global economic and financial crisis, drought and currency depreciation, among other challenges. The EBRD responded by increasing funding for the corporate sector, especially to agribusiness companies, expanding its cooperation with commercial banks, supporting private operators of key infrastructure and stepping up small business support.
Armenia became the first country to achieve financing in local currency under the Bank’s new Early Transition Countries Local Currency Initiative. The EBRD is continuing its dialogue with the authorities aimed at the development of local money and capital markets in the country where dollarisation – and with it the foreign exchange risk – surged during the crisis.
Through the Bank-funded Business Support Office, the EBRD continues to work on improving the business environment in Armenia. The Bank’s transactions there have been supported and complemented through extensive technical assistance and grants financed by donors.
Since the beginning of its operations in Armenia in 1994, the EBRD has invested over €553 million in the country in over 105 projects. About 94 per cent of the EBRD’s portfolio in Armenia is in the private sector, which is well above the Bank’s average level.