ArmInfo. An investment fund will be set up in Armenia to support SMEs, Mr. Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Armenia, told reporters in Yerevan on October 28. The EU and EBRD are expected to sign the relevant agreement by the end of 2016 and the investment fund may be launched in summer 2017.
As regards the budget, Mr. Adjemian said that the EU and the EBRD will provide 15 mln EUR and 5 mln EUR, respectively. Private investors are also expected to join the project with up to 5 mln EUR. In the future the capital of the fund will be increased to 50 mln EUR. Mr. Adjemian said that the fund will enhance the SMEs' access to finance.
Mr. Adjemian has told ArmInfo's correspondent that the EU structures actually allocate nearly 1 mln EUR weekly for SME development in Armenia. This year the total amount of support to SMEs will make up 45 mln EUR. In addition, the EU has provided 100 mln EUR for various infrastructure projects in the fields of water supply, power engineering, construction of the North-South corridor. The European Investment Bank is also going to provide low-interest loans to the Central Bank of Armenia for on- lending to SMEs through the commercial banks.
To recall, in an interview with ArmInfo, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia Piotr Switalski has recently said that the EU's financial support to Armenia is record high in 2016. The financial support usually amounts to nearly 50 mln EUR. This year the EU will redouble the amount, he said.
To recall, on October 24, Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, H.E. Piotr Antoni Switalski and the RA First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments, Garegin Melkonyan announced the launch of the EU4Business Week in Armenia during the opening of the Eastern Partnership 8th Business Development Panel in Yerevan. Running from 24 to 28 October 2016, 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 initiative cooperates with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and European Union Education Foundation.
To note, the share of SMEs in Armenia's GDP is 30%. At the yearend of 2015, the share of SMEs in the Armenian state budget revenues was 2.4%.