ArmInfo. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan received a delegation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) led by the president of the bank Suma Chakrabarty.
The press service of the Armenian leader told ArmInfo that Sargsyan highly appreciated the long-term effective cooperation of Armenia with the EBRD, which, according to him, had indispensable assistance to the development of the Armenian economy and the implementation of reforms for more than two decades.
The interlocutors agreed that the Armenia-EBRD cooperation is of a strategic nature and congratulated each other on the 25th anniversary of Armenia's membership in the EBRD. The sides also expressed hope that the quarter-century successful Armenia-EBRD cooperation will continue to develop in the same vein, and the visit of the bank's president will give a new impetus to bilateral relations. Chakrabarty confirmed the readiness of the EBRD to continue assistance to Armenia, stressing that the country's economic policy and ongoing reforms are consonant with the bank's programs. He noted with satisfaction that the partnership is expanding and deepening from year to year, involving different sectors of the economy. The sides also touched on the forthcoming EBRD programs in Armenia, the country's economic development potential and prospects.
On the same day, the President of the EBRD held talks with the Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. The prime minister highly appreciated the interaction between the government and the EBRD, and noted that the partnership package comprises 158 programs worth about 1.1 billion euros. According to him, EBRD programs are of great importance for the reforms initiated by the government and the agenda of economic development. Karapetyan stressed that the current strategy for cooperation with the bank for 2015-2019 includes three extremely important areas, in particular, stimulating private sector competitiveness, developing capital markets, developing sustainable and commercialized public services. The prime minister also noted that with the assistance of the EBRD, the program for managing solid waste, improving the water supply system, upgrading the metropolitan metro, and urban lighting have been implemented and are in the process of implementation. He also expressed gratitude to EBRD management for assistance in making a decision on the establishment of the office of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges in Armenia. The prime minister also stressed the importance of the EBRD's assistance to the government's program, such as the development of a mechanism for cooperation between the state and the private sector, reform of the tax code. From the point of view of further cooperation, Karapetyan also stressed the importance of maximizing the use of sovereign credit mechanisms, giving priority to the format of state-private sector cooperation and the opportunities for direct lending to communities. From this point of view, Karapetyan suggested that the EBRD consider options for the formation of investment mechanisms for start-ups in the sphere of information technology and high technologies.
In his turn, the head of the Bank noted that the EBRD wants to invest more actively in a greater number of programs, including those based onon the principle of public-private partnership and in the development of SMEs. According to him, the EBRD has a new agenda for Armenia in terms of "quantity and quality" and the bank is ready to continue assistance on the envisaged projects and reforms in different spheres.The meeting also discussed the introduction of the institution of the business ombudsman, the development of the corporate governance system, the implementation of the agenda Digital Armenia and a number of other issues.It should be noted that the EBRD (EBRD) being an institutional investor in Armenia has invested more than 1.1 billion euros in implementation of 158 programs in the financial, corporate, infrastructure, energy sectors since the launch of activities since 1992 to this day. Moreover, 88% of these investments were directed to the development of private entrepreneurship.It should be noted that within the visit of the EDB head to Armenia, a new agreement was signed with ARARATBANK to provide $ 10 million for the development of women's entrepreneurship and SMEs.