Saturday, September 21 2019 14:17
Alina Hovhannisyan

Start of work of the first investment fund in Armenia

Start of work of the first investment fund in Armenia

ArmInfo.  The start of the  activity of the first unit investment fund (UIF) Amber Capital  <EU-Armenia-SME>, which was created on the initiative of the EU,  European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and  investment company AmberCapital, was launched in Armenia.

The corresponding memorandum was signed on September 20 by the Deputy  Directorate General for Neighborhood, Enlargement and Negotiations of  the European Commission Katarina Maternova, EBRD Coordinating  Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Matteo Patrone and the  head of Amber Capital Camilio Azzouz.

The EU, together with the EBRD, will contribute ? 16 million to the  fund. In total, the Fund intends to attract 70 million euros, which  will be invested in the SME sector of Armenia. The fund will be  managed by the international investment company AmberCapital, which  has an office and a team of specialists in Armenia.

The activities of the fund will contribute to increasing the  competitiveness of SMEs, improving corporate governance, increasing  transparency and recognition of Armenian enterprises in the  international arena. At the same time, within the framework of the  EBRD <Small Business Consulting> program, SMEs will receive the  necessary advice.

During a short briefing, Katarina Maternova noted that the mutual  fund format was chosen taking into account the potential of the  powerful Armenian diaspora. <This is an unprecedented case when the  EU, together with its partner in this region, managed to launch such  a mutual fund. I hope the fund will be successful and will serve as  an example for the implementation of such initiatives in the future>,  she said.  In turn, Matteo Patrone noted that the mutual fund  provides not only a financial component, but also an advisory one  aimed at improving the business skills of SMEs. <The main goal of the  EU and the EBRD is to create for investors in Armenia a sufficiently  strong and stable platform for investment, to improve corporate  governance, in particular in terms of fiscal processes. And in total,  we want to create leaders in this field, who will demonstrate by  their example how to improve the business and investment environment  in Armenia>, he noted. Coming to what was said, Patrone emphasized  that such a format corresponds to the EBRD working style, in  particular in Armenia. According to him, 85% of the EBRD's program  portfolio in Armenia is represented by the private sector, of which  the lion's share falls on SMEs.

Answering a question from ArmInfo correspondent, he noted that the  main emphasis will be placed on the development of the SME sector,  which operates in the field of renewable energy, agriculture,  manufacturing, IT, tourism, and logistics. "I would like to see  institutional investors as partners of the Fund, in particular in the  person of diaspora organizations," he added.

The signing ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan,  Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, newly appointed EU Ambassador  to Armenia Andrea Victorin and other officials. It should be noted  that since 2014, the EU has provided Armenia with loans and grants in  total amounting to more than 1 billion euros in the field of energy,  agriculture, and transport infrastructures.

Since the beginning of its activity in Armenia, the EBRD has  allocated ? 1.36 billion to Armenia to implement 178 programs in the  energy, infrastructure, financial and corporate sectors. 90% of the  Bank's investments are in the private sector.

Recall that the volume of total foreign investments in the real  sector of the Armenian economy grew by 7.9% in 2018, amounting to $  2.5 billion, while a year earlier the growth was higher - 14.8%. In  their structure, the volume of FDI declined in 2018. by 11.2%,  amounting to $ 607.7 million, against a more modest decline of 4.7%  in 2017. 

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