MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed trade finance agreements with six banks in Armenia, a move that is expected to further bolster the country's trade sector and help ensure sustainable economic growth in the Central Asian country.
The trade finance agreements, the first signed by Armenia's banks with ADB, were signed with Ameriabank CJSC, Anelik Bank CJSC, Ardshininvestbank CJSC, Armeconombank OJSC, Converse Bank CJSC, and Unibank Armenia CJSC.
All the agreements were made under ADB's Trade Finance Program which provides guarantees and loans through banks to facilitate international trade in ADB's developing member countries.
"The trade finance agreements are expected to promote the continued expansion of the trade sector, which is a key component of Armenia's economy, and this should translate to more jobs and steady economic expansion," said Lakshmi Venkatachalam, ADB's Vice-President for Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations who attended the signing ceremony.
Armenia has emerged from the slump caused by the global financial crisis, with contributions from major exports such as copper, chemicals, and jewelry, and improved gains made by industry, construction, services, and remittances aiding the country's recovery last year.
ADB is forecasting a gross domestic product growth of 4.0% this year, according to its flagship Asian Development Outlook 2011 report released in early April. In 2010, the economy expanded 2.1% after contracting 14.2% in 2009.
From the time it was launched in 2004 up to the end of 2010, the Trade Finance Program has supported 2,433 international trade transactions worth $5.2 billion in 14 Asian countries.
In 2010 alone, the program supported 783 transactions. Out of the trade deals supported last year, 277 were conducted by small- and medium-sized enterprises.
ADB — rated at triple A — plans to further expand the reach of the Trade Finance Program in 2011 and 2012.