The World Bank Group, in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Good Governance Fund, is launching a new advisory program in Armenia to help the government implement reforms, attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and foster female entrepreneurship to spur business growth and job creation.
Since 2008, attracting FDI to Armenia has been challenging due to the global economic crisis, the recession in Russia—the country’s main trading partner—and regulatory and institutional issues.
Armenia also faces disparities between women and men in entrepreneurship, reducing economic output to an equivalent of 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The two-year program—titled Economic Growth and the Economic Empowerment of Women in Armenia—will be implemented by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The program will work in two directions: it will advise the government on attracting FDI through targeted investment promotion and measures to improve investor confidence; and it will help improve the economic outcomes of women entrepreneurs by improving their business competencies and access to business networks.
Tigran Khachatryan, Armenia's Minister of Economy, said: “I congratulate all of us for the launch of this advisory program in Armenia. We appreciate the support of our international partners in such important areas as the improvement of the business environment and investment promotion, where they can help us formulate the Government’s reform agenda. We are committed to continuing reforms to provide new opportunities for private sector growth in the country.”
Ambassador David Moran, British Chargé d'Affaires to Armenia, said: “The UK is pleased to support this project through our Good Governance Fund. It will help the Armenian Government in its work to improve the enabling environment for business and encourage investment to stimulate economic growth. Particularly important is the focus on the economic empowerment of women—a goal at the heart of the UK’s approach to development.”
IFC’s advice will support the growth of high-potential sectors, including identifying promising sectors for targeted FDI promotion. The project will help strengthen relevant legal and regulatory frameworks and help the government identify export potential for selected products. To ensure that women entrepreneurs can benefit from business environment reforms, the project will also help analyze key constraints for women in business and build capacity of women entrepreneurs.
“Higher private sector productivity boosts growth and job creation. Investment climate reforms are key to encouraging private sector development and empower women entrepreneurs,” said Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus. “We will work with Armenia’s government to help ease doing business here as part of the World Bank Group’s broader effort to help Armenia create a more competitive investment climate.”
Since Armenia became an IFC member and shareholder, IFC has supported projects in the country totaling around $700 million, mainly in energy, the financial sector, property, and manufacturing.