YEREVAN, ARMENIA (13 June 2018) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao met with President of Armenia Mr. Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister of Armenia Mr. Nikol Pashinyan, and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Mher Grigoryan. He also met Minister of Finance Mr. Atom Janjughazyan and Minister of Agriculture Mr. Arthur Khachatryan. During a 2-day visit, his first to the country, Mr. Nakao reaffirmed ADB’s partnership with Armenia.
Mr. Nakao congratulated Mr. Pashinyan, who recently assumed the office of Prime Minister, noting his popular mandate to introduce greater competition in the economy and strengthen confidence in the efficiency of public spending. “The government’s commitment toward greater market orientation and transparent governance will help build trust that Armenia’s economy is headed in the right direction,” said Mr. Nakao.
Mr. Nakao commended Armenia’s impressive economic resilience in recent years despite unfavorable external conditions. Economic growth accelerated to 7.5% in 2017 and to 9.6% in the first quarter of 2018, sharply rebounding from the 0.2% recorded in 2016. The government has made a commitment to macroeconomic stability and led successful efforts to stabilize the ratio of external public debt to GDP. “Sound macroeconomic management, smart investments in the country’s infrastructure, and the government’s commitment to root out corruption will lay a foundation for future growth and benefit all Armenians,” he said.
ADB’s next Country Partnership Strategy with Armenia for 2019–2023 will align with Armenia’s goals of improving regional connectivity, making public services more efficient, and increasing the share of private investment in a competitive economy. ADB’s nonsovereign financing already comprises about half of new lending, evidence that the partnership is quickly evolving to address the needs of a middle-income country.
Mr. Nakao said, “Due to its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Armenia is poised to play an important role in the global economy. ADB will help the country realize its development priorities through transformative projects in economic corridors, urban transport and energy, and expanding ADB assistance in education and health.”
ADB will support Armenia with accelerated implementation of the North South Road Corridor project, and step up support for a transformation in the quality of education and health services through a sector development program. ADB will also increase support for private sector operations to help small and medium-sized enterprises, especially export-oriented firms.
Mr. Nakao visited several ADB-assisted projects during his stay. He visited the future greenhouse facilities of the Spayka company outside Yerevan, which received $32 million nonsovereign loan this year. Over 275 full-time jobs are being created as part of the expansion of production of vegetables destined for the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Nakao also visited Mushegh Mkhoyan School No. 68 in Yerevan, which will be upgraded in 2019 under the Seismic Safety Improvement Program. The $88.5 million program is financed by a results-based loan from ADB that disburses financing on the basis of verifiable results. Out of 46 schools supported under the program, six schools are already under construction, with 12 more due to start in 2019. Innovative designs are being used to improve efficiency, reduce recurrent costs, and provide a modern learning environment.
Since joining ADB in 2005, Armenia has received over $1.5 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance, of which $1.1 billion is for the public sector and $400 million is nonsovereign.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.