ISTC will further push Armenian IT development
The opening ceremony of Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC) took place on November 10 at Yerevan State University (YSU). Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies of Armenia Vahan Martirosyan and the US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills conducted the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center is a joint venture of the Armenian Government, USAID, IBM and Enterprise Incubator Foundation. The goals of the ISTC are to develop ICT education at higher educational institutions of Armenia, foster research projects and promote innovative solutions for the companies of the sphere. The center has been operating since 2014, but now it has been equipped with modern equipment and IBM solutions. US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills delivered an opening speech. “I have the honor to be here together with the Embassy stuff to celebrate the opening of the center. This is a result of cooperation and I hold the opinion that the opening of this center is symbolic. It symbolizes the strength of Armenian-US relations, as well as the level of development of the IT sector in Armenia”, “Armenpress” reports the Ambassador saying. Director of Synopsys Armenia Hovik Musayelyan noted that the opening of the center is a serious step for drawing the attention of international corporations to Armenia. “We always say that Armenia has serious aspirations to become a regional ICT hub. The opening of such centers is a supplementary step that enables us to show the world that Armenia has recorded really serious achievements in engineering solutions and training of highly qualified specialists”, the director of the company stated.
World Economic Forum includes Armenia in “most convenient countries for entrepreneurship”
The World Economic Forum has published a top ten list of countries which are the most convenient for business, which includes Armenia in the 9th position. The Forum used the data of Doing Business 2017 of the World Bank. New Zealand, Canada, and Hong Kong are the top three countries respectively.
Providing adequate conditions for entrepreneurship is priority – says Minister of Economic Development and Investments
The Government of Armenia will demonstrate a new approach towards entrepreneurship, Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan said at the parliamentary debates of the 2017 state budget draft, reports “Armenpress”. “The Government in all its steps will pursue exclusively supporting, boosting, consulting, guiding and providing adequate infrastructures goals over that path. Providing adequate conditions for entrepreneurship is the first and mandatory step in terms of attracting investments”, the Minister said. He said the Government in a short run is expecting activation of a stable process of involving investment flows.
7 metric references of regional significance to appear in Armenia
Seven metric references of regional significance will appear in Armenia.
Armenian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments, Emil Tarasyan, told the aforementioned to Armenian News – NEWS.am, commenting on the implementation of the World Bank’s Trade Promotion and Quality Infrastructure program.
The program aims to increase the quality of local production. To this end, among other things, quality benchmarks on a number of key parameters - mass, pressure, temperature, length, etc. - will be obtained.
By contrast, there are two of such references in neighboring Georgia, he noted.
“These devices will help develop our production, including in area of precise engineering. This will be of strategic significance to us both in terms of industry and engineering education,” Tarasyan said.
The overall value of the program, which will be implemented from 2014 to 2020, is $59.5 mln, $50 mln out of which will be contributed by the World Bank.
Smarter Armenia Hackatho 2016
Within the scope of the ISTC Grand Opening on 10 November 2016, Smarter Armenia Hackathon ’16 will be held!
The Smarter Armenia Hackathon ’16 is aimed at creation of innovative solutions with a functional prototype in one of these sectors: Healthcare, Telecommunications and Finance. The teams are challenged to create solutions in corresponding fields and are encouraged to use IBM Bluemix platform and IBM Watson in order to obtain bonus points and special prizes. In each category the problem statement will be finalized with the partners.
- Best Solution in Telecommunications: 1000$ sponsored by Rostelecom Armenia
- Best Solution in Finance: 1000$ sponsored by Ardshinbank
- Special prize for most innovative solution using IBM Bluemix and Watson: 500$ and 3 months of incubation at ISTC Accelerator
- Special prize for best usage of IBM Watson and Bluemix: sponsored by IBM
Armenia improves rank in Doing Business 2017
Armenia has moved up by 5 ranks in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All report, taking the 38th place on the list of 190 countries.Armenia has facilitated business making in two spheres indicated in the report: access to credit and enforcing contracts.
In particular, Armenia strengthened access to credit, adopting new law on transaction security, which established a modern and unified collateral registry, and improved its credit information system by adopting a new law on personal data protection.
Armenia also made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a consolidated chapter regulating voluntary mediation and by establishing financial incentives for the parties to attempt mediation.
Armenia improved its “distance to frontier score” (DTF) score by 1.47 points, moving up to 73.63% from last year’s 72.16%.
DTF shows each economy’s distance to frontier score for regulatory efficiency, which has been included in the report since 2005 as the best score for all indicators of the economies reviewed in the report.
This year’s Doing Business report leaders are New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Four economies of the region – Kazakhstan (on the place 35), Belarus (37), Serbia (47) and Georgia (16) place among top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken.
Russia took the 40th place in the report, and Azerbaijan took the 65th.
“Europe and Central Asia has consistently been the region with the highest average number of reforms per economy and it is moving towards having the same good practices in place as the high-income economies,” noted Rita Ramalho, Manager of the Doing Business project.
For the first time, this year’s report gives prominence to gender equality issues, expanding three indicators—starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts. Europe and Central Asia are the only regions where women face no obstacles in the spheres reviewed by the report – in every economy of the region women can start a business the same as men.
“EU4Business Week in Armenia” has launched
On October 24, the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia Garegin Melkonyan and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia Piotr Antoni Świtalski announced the launch of the “EU4Business Week in Armenia” during the opening of the “Eastern Partnership 8th Business Development Panel” in Yerevan.
Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski said in his speech: “EU4Business Week starting today for the entire week, makes Armenia the centre of various events and activities that highlight EU's role in supporting economic development, innovation and businesses in the entire Eastern Partnership. It is very symbolic to launch the week by the Business Development Panel. SMEs provide the vast majority of the job opportunities, therefore the economic opportunities linked to SMEs should also be significant. This initiative launched is a strong signal for the EU commitment to support businesses, for the direct benefit of real economy and increasing the country’s and the region’s competitiveness’.
The First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments Garegin Melkonyan said in his speech: “On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Economic Development and Investments and myself, I welcome the launch of the “EU4Business Week in Yerevan” and extend my gratitude to our European partners for this outstanding initiative. Armenia attaches great importance to the EU assistance provided to partner countries within the framework of the Eastern Partnership for the implementation of the economic reforms with a special focus on ensuring and deepening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The competitive and effective small and medium-sized enterprises are one of the most important preconditions for the economic development in our country. The panel which has started today is also important in the “EU4Business” initiative implementation context, as the panel will be succeeded by a series of events aimed at the economic development, especially emerging and strengthening SMEs which will include bilateral and regional programs aimed at the development of private sector and SMEs. All these are reflection of our mutual interest and united objective to foster successful implementation of the joint programmes and move forward with enlarging and deepening our cooperation.”
Running from October 24 to 28, the EU4Business Week will highlight the EU support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through series of events and include other activities facilitating private-public dialogue for the benefit of businesses both in the Eastern partner countries and in Armenia.
The 8th Business Development Panel opened today focuses on innovation as an essential tool for boosting competitiveness both on regional and national level. The panel will also officially launch the pilot version of the EU4Business Website aiming at making EU support to Businesses more accessible and visible. Country specific EU4Business webpages in local languages will follow shortly.
After the official opening ceremony of the Panel, the joint press conference of the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia Garegin Melkonyan and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski took place. During the press conference the speakers summed up the results of Armenia-EU economic cooperation, represented further projects and outlined prospects of cooperation.
The workshop on SME finance on 26 October focuses on instruments of creating value for small businesses, as well as providing insights into cash flow analysis, private equity, debt and credit risk analysis as essential tools to mitigate financial risks, attract investment and achieve greater success in SME development.
The East Invest 2nd Annual Partner Conference on 27 October will highlight public-private dialogue as a vehicle for business reforms. The EU4Business week concludes with an official launch of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Armenia (SMEDA) on 28 October. All events will be attended by Armenia’s development partners, international organizations and representatives of the EU-funded projects.
On October 26-27, for the first time in Armenia, a high level international conference “Fostering Sustainable Development in Eastern Partnership countries” will take place. Representatives of central, regional and local authorities will gather in Yerevan to discuss new EU initiatives and instruments for sustainable urban development and best practices for successful modernisation of urban infrastructure in the Eastern Partnership countries.
The conference will feature a signing ceremony with 25 Mayors of new signatory cities from EaP countries to join the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy including 4 from Armenia.
Over 100 international investors take part in “Armenia: Investment Forum” in New York
Armenia Investment Forum started in New York with participation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on October 10, with the main aim of introducing foreign investors to investment opportunities in Armenia, press service of the Development Foundation of Armenia informed “Armenpress”.
The Development Foundation of Armenia organized the two-day forum where representatives of leading companies from various sectors and international finance organizations, experts, and around one hundred international investors are participating.
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan gave a speech highlighting current geopolitical and economic priorities, achievements since the quarter-century of independence, the country’s competitive advantages, investment opportunities, implemented reforms, the favorable business environment, easy access to regional markets through Armenia and a stable macroeconomic environment. The President suggested investors use Armenia's assets as a gateway to the region's major markets.
Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan, Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank Wencai Zhang, Executive Director of the World Bank Group Frank Heemskerk, and US Congress Representative Frank Pallone delivered speeches at the forum.
The bridging role of Armenia between Europe and Asia, east and west, in the context of global developments was presented to potential investors during the forum. This bridge offers international investors a favorable alternative considering Armenia’s membership to various international unions and free trade agreements. Speakers emphasized that Armenia is a member of the EEU, with a market of 180 million people; it has signed a free trade agreement with all the CIS countries, with a total of 230 million customers; and benefits from the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) that gives privileges for the export of 6,400 product items. Armenia also has a GSP trade regime with the USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. Additionally, traditional trade and economic relations with Iran are now opening links for other economies to the Iranian market. Presentations also covered the competitive advantages in Armenia such as ease of entrance to strategic markets, educated and inexpensive workforce, and the safe and reforming business environment. These advantages make Armenia an attractive country for investment and bestow an edge over other markets of the region.
Over the course of the forum, representatives of the Armenian government provided firsthand information about the potential for innovation in the IT, mining, agro-food, telecommunication, transport, pharmaceutical, tourism, and financial sectors to potential investors during ten panel sessions of the forum. A large report about private investment support tools by international finance institutions were also covered during the forum.
Representatives of foreign investors such as Armenia Marriott Yerevan, Contour Global, Azad Pharma AG, National Instruments, Synopsis, Armenia International Airports, Coca Cola Hellenic Armenia presented present their investment success stories to the participants of the forum. Various meetings and a memorandum signing in the IT sector took place at the forum.
More detailed information is available at the official web page of the Armenia Investment Forum at http://investarmenia.com. An information package with the agenda, session participants and work covered over the first day is attached to the press release.
Armenia is presented by diversified tourism in international exhibitions
Armenia will take part in “World Travel Market” international tourism exhibition in London on November 7-9. More than 50.000 world tourism representatives from 182 countries are going to take part in the exhibition. Head of the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments Mekhak Apresyan told “Armenpress” in recent years Armenia is presented by diversified tourism in exhibitions of this field. “We are presenting our entire potential at international tourism exhibitions. We have a lot to present winter, eco, rural, agro tourisms, recently we have started to present adventure tourism. We pay a special place to cuisine, we have a wonderful cuisine, our guests are very impressed and cannot find words to describe it. Event tourism is also very famous as a separate product”, Mekhak Apresyan said. He said the tourists are very impressed with Armenia’s history, culture, churches, the opportunities for religious tourism. He informed that recently the tourists visited monasteries in Armenia, they just didn’t want to leave. “Moreover, we have a significant potential for religious tourism development, putting an emphasis on pilgrimage. Works are also being carried out towards that path. Pope Francis when arrived in Armenia said this is not an official visit, rather it is a pilgrimage to the first Christian nation. This proves that in reality we have that potential. According to this year’s state program a meeting is planned with stakeholders to discuss the prerequisites which put the further steps for tourism development on a productive basis”, he said. Works are carried out aimed at forming regional tourism packages. Mekhak Apresyan said there is already an agreement with Iran on this issue. This year it is already planned to organize a familiarization trip for journalists from Iran to Armenia. In addition, it is planned to organize Iran-Armenia familiarization trip for foreign tourists. The tourism agencies are already working on it. Armenia annually participates at least 5 international tourism exhibitions. Mekhak Apresyan said Nagorno Karabakh is also taking part.
UNWTO Affiliated Members 38th session launched in Armenia
UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai has arrived in Armenia with a delegation to take part in the 38th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Affiliated Members. Opening remarks were delivered by Economy Minister Suren Karayan at the beginning of the session. “Armenia attaches importance to similar formats and events, because the session allows our guests – who have arrived from numerous countries – to get to know the historical-cultural values of our country, steps undertaken in tourism sector, which in its turn will allow our partners to help and assist the development of this sector in a faster pace”, the minister said. According to UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, Armenia must become an important tourism destination for representatives of various countries. “The main goal of the meetings is increasing visibility in the region. This is a very important region, which has many values and many important locations. And Armenia is the destination which must be famous for the whole world”, he said. The session will focus on tourism development, preservation of cultural heritage, strengthening of state – private sector cooperation etc. The delegation will visit Mother See of Holy Etchmiatsin, Garni Temple, Khor Virap and Geghard Monastery, Areni 1 cave and other locations. Mr. Rifai will have meetings with President Sargsyan and Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.
The Prime Minister of RA Karen Karapetyan introduced the newly appointed Minister of Economy of RA Suren Karayan
By the decree NH-1055-A of September 27 of the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, Suren Karayan was appointed as the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia.
On September 28, the Prime Minister of RA Karen Karapetyan introduced the newly appointed Minister of Economy of RA Suren Karayan to the Staff of the Ministry.
Appreciating the work done by the former Minister Artsvik Minasyan and congratulating him for the new position, the Prime Minister introduced the newly appointed Minister of Economy of RA Suren Karayan to the Staff of the Ministry.
“I stress the importance of the Ministry of Economy. We need to declare and provide all necessary evidence that we are supporting our consumers, investor and businessmen. We shall review the legislative framework that shapes the business environment, and if we have obstacles, we shall eliminate them. Ministry is supposed to set an example with its high-quality management,” said the Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.
Artsvik Minasyan expressed gratitude to the Staff of the Ministry of Economy for joint activity and wished good luck to the newly appointed Minister of Economy Suren Karayan in the implementation of new projects and expressed willingness to cooperate.
At the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister one more time stressed the importance of initiatives aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the activity of the Ministry.
“Made in Armenia-2016” Exhibition was held
On September 19, the official opening ceremony of “Made in Armenia-2016” exhibition was held in Meridian Exhibition Center, which will be opened till September 22.
The official opening ceremony of the exhibition was attended by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.
Acting Minister of Economy of RA Artsvik Minasyan and Executive Director of the Development Foundation of Armenia Garen Mikirditsian delivered welcoming speeches during the opening ceremony.
“On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence, this is the parade of our economy. With this exhibition, we are able to send some precise messages. First of all, no matter what external or internal challenges are formed, our manufacturers are able to create goods. They are able to give not just products, but products that meet international competitiveness. The second message is for all of us, for the Armenians around the world. The use of high-quality Armenian products gives the opportunity to strengthen our economy. The third message is for foreign or domestic investors who will be able to multiply profit by making investments in Armenia,” mentioned Acting Minister of Economy of RA Artsvik Minasyan in his speech.
The exhibition gathers nearly 320 companies from a wide variety of industrial sectors of Armenia and Artsakh, including food processing, textile, brandy and winemaking, jewelry and watch production, construction materials, pharmaceuticals, precision engineering, tourism and IT. “Made in Armenia” will host visitors and participants from governmental and private entities, distributors, buyers and investors from foreign countries and Armenia. The exhibition is attended also by the business delegations from the countries which can be perspective for the Armenian economy.
The President of the Republic of Armenia, accompanied by the Acting Minister of Economy of RA and other officials, toured the exhibition and inquired about the products and services of the companies represented at the exhibition and spoke with the representatives of the companies about their problems and development programs.
Acting Minister of Economy of RA Artsvik Minasyan and Executive Director of the Development Foundation of Armenia Garen Mikirditsian had a briefing with mass media representatives.
“As a Minister, I am proud to see Armenian goods in all the pavilions including technological and food products. This is the parade of our economy and now we can proudly say that we have the potential and by carrying out certain positive changes in the economy, we will be able to restore our economic potential,” said Artsvik Minasyan.
Acting Minister added that economy of each country is based on three main directions – investments, technologies and professional skills.
The main goal of the exhibition “Made in Armenia 2016” is to present Armenia’s existing industrial potential, opportunities for development and assist in entering new markets.
The event is organized by the Development Foundation of Armenia with the support of the Government of Armenia.
On October 5-8 "Armenia EXPO 2016" exhibition will be held in Tehran
October 5-8 to strengthen economic ties between Armenia and Iran "Armenia EXPO 2016" exhibition will be held in International Exhibition Complex in Tehran.
This was announced on September 16 during the press conference at the Ministry of Economy of RA.
The speakers of the press conference were Deputy Minister of Economy of RA Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of RA Robert Harutyunyan, Executive Director of the Development Foundation of Armenia Karen Mkrtchian.
During "Armenia Expo 2016" will be presented products and services over 70 companies from following spheres: food industry, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, light industry, jewelry, precise engineering, information technologies, banking, insurance, transportation of goods etc.
A similar exhibition will be held in Yerevan. During the exhibition will be presented products and services from Iranian companies.
"Armenia EXPO 2016" exhibition to be held on October 5-8 in Tehran is organized by Development Foundation of Armenia with the assistance of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia and Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Inspection Reform Coordination Council Holds Regular Meeting
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan chaired a regular meeting of the Inspection Reform Coordinating Council, which was held in the Office of Government.
The meeting first approved a draft government decree on “Approval by the Ministry of Economy-affiliated Market Surveillance Inspection Agency of checklists for non-food products and services,” which specifically cover the following areas: minimum requirements for CNG compressor stations (stations) operations, toy safety, automotive and aviation gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel for ships, fuel for jet engines and fuel-oil sampling, lubricants, oils and special fluids and measurements unity assurance inspection.
The meeting next approved a draft government decree on “Approval of methodology and standards for Market Surveillance Inspection Agency-implemented risk-based inspections. In particular, the bill stipulates that the risk related to those economic agents involved in the production and circulation of non-food products is a sum of sector-specific and individual risks, that can have a maximum score of 150 (total risk).
As the next item on the agenda, the Council approved a draft government decision on “Amendments to Government Decree N 1063-N of September 10, 2015.” The draft specifically states that the Council will henceforth have the authority to endorse all decisions relating to personnel nomination, civil service passports and the nomination of a deputy head for the Inspection Agency.
The draft also stipulates that the head of the Inspection Agency shall present to the Prime Minister the names of candidates to the post of deputy heads of the Inspection Agency and make appointments to such positions, including the civil service ones, as may fall under his jurisdiction.
During an exchange of opinions that followed, the Prime Minister highlighting the implementation of inspection reforms and instructed the relevant departments to complete the process as soon as possible.
PM: “Shifting from consumption-based to export-driven economic growth”
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan chaired a consultative meeting, which discussed the economic results recorded in the first half of 2016 and outlined future action.
Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister stated in part, “Early this year, Armenia had to face several challenges arising from the socio-economic situation and national security threats. Exasperated by adverse economic pressures that emerged in the main partner countries in 2015, the external logistics bottlenecks and the economic slowdown around the world had been putting threats to the prospects for economic growth in Armenia.
However, based on the results of the first half-year, we can state some progress even against the background of falling prices: 4.4% economic growth was achieved in the first quarter of this year, while the index of economic activity rose to 4.8% in January-June as compared to the same period last year.
In 2015, owing to the Government’s anti-cycling policy and quick-responsiveness to emerging challenges, the negative shocks were completely absorbed by the economy and were thereby prevented from continuing into 2016. According to experts, the population’s real incomes might have fallen by 20-30% due to external shocks if it were not for the Government’s well-advised policy.”
The Premier underscored that the impact of the Government’s export-oriented policy could be seen already. In his words, the Government was seeking to boost economic growth through enhanced exports by coupling it with efforts aimed at curbing the negative balance of trade. Hovik Abrahamyan added that foreign trade turnover revitalization was triggered by increased real output, which in the first half of 2016 amounted to 8.9%, where manufacturing industry grew by 105.1%, while mining industry and opencast mining increased by 118.8 %.
“Armenia’s negative balance of trade continues to decline. Note that unlike 2015, when the trade deficit shrank due to low imports, it has been tending down owing to increased exports in 2016.
Thus, according to the first 6 months’ data of 2016, commodity exports boasted a 16.7% growth, while imports started to recover with only 3.7 percent fall recorded in the same period. Actual exports increased by about USD116.6 million, while imports decreased by some 56 million dollars. During the first 5 months of 2016, a sharp increase in exports was stated in precious and semi-precious stones, finished food products, textiles and products of vegetable origin.
It can be stated that notwithstanding Armenia’s downturn in domestic consumption, economic growth was fostered by foreign trade over the past one and a half years, which means a qualitatively new type of economic growth: we are shifting from the consumption-based to export-driven economic growth,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the aforementioned changes may usher in long-term transformations in the economy.
“Efforts need to be made so that the possibility of such transformations could be translated into reality. At the same time, I must underscore that the above positive changes do not mean at all that we should stop there.
There are numerous problems requiring urgent solution. The present achievements should only serve as a basis for further reform and a comprehensive development policy.
Today of paramount importance are the business environment, the reduction of corruption risks as far as possible, the identification and development of new competitive advantages, as well as the mastering of new sales markets for Armenian products and the strengthening of our positions on the existing markets.
In conclusion, I can state that notwithstanding the risks still available, economic developments seem to be quite favorable, and our key medium-term objectives should be as follows: build on the current achievements, consistently monitor and eliminate risks, as well as ensure the most inclusive economic growth,” Hovik Abrahamyan emphasized.
Stressing the need for a joint effort aimed at solving the existing problems, the Premier noted that the Government will continue to cooperate with political forces, civil society taking note of public proposal and approaches.
During the consultation, there has been a keen exchange of views, during which the heads and representatives of relevant ministries and government agencies came up with recommendations concerning the development of various sectors of the economy, trade turnover, including the growth in exports and investments, the further improvement of the business environment. Dwelling on the existing problems, the speakers discussed ways of finding possible solutions.
The press conference of the Minister of Economy of RA was held
On July 15, the press conference of the Minister of Economy of RA Artsvik Minasyan was held at the Ministry of Economy.
During the press conference Artsvik Minasyan spoke about 30 sectors of economy of Armenia, introduced some economic monitoring indicators implemented by the Ministry of Economy, answered to the questions of mass media representatives.