Helping Armenia reduce poverty and improve lives of people through job creation
WASHINGTON, November 7, 2013 – A new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Republic of Armenia for 2014-2017 was discussed today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors. The four-year strategy is a framework document outlining the World Bank Group’s support to the country.
The strategy is anchored in the Armenia Development Strategy 2025 and places private sector-led job creation at the center of the World Bank Group’s response. It also stresses the improvement of labor productivity in agricultural sector that supports the livelihood of over one million of the rural population, and would lead to higher economic growth, shared prosperity, and faster poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas. The strategy proposes financial support of US$ 843 million over the next four years, with access to the International Development Association (IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and International Finance Corporation (IFC) funding.
”This Country Partnership Strategy seeks to catalyze bigger volumes of resources to support Armenia’s development”, said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. ”It aims to address Armenia’s vulnerability to external shocks and strengthen competitiveness for post-crisis growth by supporting critical reforms that will help boost job creation accompanied by more efficient and equitable social services delivery.”
The strategy will support Armenia across two main engagement areas:
- Supporting competitiveness and job creation by improving the ease of doing business, promoting exports and tourism, and improving SME access to finance; and
- Improving efficiency and equity in social services delivery by ensuring access of all, especially women, to quality health and education services, and strengthening the social protection system.
Improving governance and anti-corruption measures in public services is a cross-cutting focus. The strategy will help revamp the existing anti-corruption framework, improve efficiency of the public administration, and deepen public finance management reform.
"The World Bank Group’s support through its focus on jobs aims to harness the synergies of different sectors by introducing the necessary reforms, leading to robust and sustained growth, and benefitting the people of Armenia”, said Jean-Michel Happi, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia. “We will also aim to support business creation, innovation and accessibility of economic infrastructures, along with improved education and health service delivery.”
IFC, which is the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, will continue supporting the real sector through investments in competitive sectors such as mining and agribusiness. IFC will also deepen its advisory services operations in order to improve the investment climate with a focus on the agribusiness sector, strengthen the financial sector, and develop the market for investment in renewable energy.
“The private sector is critical to economic growth,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus. “IFC, with its focus on private sector development, plans to leverage the power of entrepreneurs to create jobs and support sustainable economic growth in Armenia. We will continue to seek investment opportunities and provide advice in the areas where those are needed most.”
Since Armenia joined the World Bank in 1992, US$1,746 million has been allocated to different operations in the country. Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 14 active projects with total commitments of US$445.4 million. Areas of support include five investment lending operations in infrastructure, four in social sectors, three in public sector, and two in ICT and agriculture. With Armenia becoming a member and a shareholder of IFC in 1995, the organization has invested US$271.5 million in the country. Those investments covered 44 projects across a range of sectors, including financial markets, manufacturing, and mining. IFC has also mobilized nearly US$9 million from other lenders. IFC’s Advisory Services group provides advice through projects focusing on the financial sector, sustainable energy, regulatory simplification, and food safety.