ArmInfo. The improvement of economic situation in Russia will increase migration from Armenia and migration is expected to considerably grow if Armenia's economy fails to accelerate its growth rates, Chairman of the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia Gagik Makaryan said at a press conference. Makaryan qualified migration as a negative factor but he did not rule out positive trends stemming from it. "From the economic viewpoint, movement of labor force is beneficial to Armenia because we will be unable to reduce unemployment, which has already made up 18% by official data," he stressed, noting that the given indicator in the neighboring countries is much lower: in Turkey - 11.8%, in Iran - 11.3%, in Georgia - 12%, in Azerbaijan - 5%.
The increase in transfers from Russia is also a positive factor. "Nearly 80% of the transfers (by the CBA's data - nearly 60% in 2016 - editor's note) to Armenia come from Russia. The growth of the transfer inflow will have a multiplier effect on the country's economy, which, in turn, will have a favorable effect on the trade sector, small business, private entrepreneurs' activities and other fields," he noted.
The expert told ArmInfo's correspondent that in 2017 transfers from Russia are expected to grow by 25%, which will facilitate poverty reduction in Armenia. He added that today this indicator in Armenia officially makes up 29.8%. The same indicator in Georgia is 15%, in Turkey - 11%, in Iran - 9.8%, in Azerbaijan - 5.3%, in Kazakhstan - 4.9%. According to Makaryan's preliminary estimates, in order to reduce poverty in Armenia twofold, it is necessary to increase the transfers by 40%. "I suppose in 2017 we will manage to reduce poverty by only 3-4% given the improvement of the situation in Russia, which will result in the growth in transfer inflow to Armenia. But even achieving such results, Armenia will still be in the lead in terms of poverty in the region," the economist said.
Makaryan noted that according to the forecasts of international experts and structures for 2017, the Russian economy is expected to grow by 1.1%. However, if the growth trends continue at the same pace and if no problems with new sanctions arise, one should expect higher economic growth in Russia, he said. In this light, Makaryan thinks the Armenia-Russia commodity turnover will grow: the export trade contracts will be concluded at favorable prices and import will be carried out on more affordable terms. He also thinks that intensification of the bilateral economic cooperation will result in investments in Armenia's economy by the Russian private sector, particularly, by the Diaspora. "The recent talks between the Armenian and Russian prime ministers covered issues related to possible creation of a special investment fund, which I think will encourage the Russian business or the Diaspora to invest in Armenian economy, especially in the sectors exporting goods to Russia," he said, pointing at machine building, mining, power engineering, greenhouse facilities, etc.
According to the Central Bank of Armenia, the inflow of transfers from Russia to Armenia dropped by 11.1% to $896.9 mln in 2016, while the outflow grew by 16.5% to $333.4 mln, and the net inflow of transfers from Russia amounted to $563.5 mln (down 22% versus 2015). Russia's share in the inflow and outflow of transfers was the biggest - 58.5% and 40.8% versus 61.8% and 37.6% a year before.