ArmInfo.On November 23, Deputy Ministers of Economy of Armenia Arman Khojoyan and Rafael Gevorgyan received the delegation led by Barbara Boeni Slaats, Regional Head of Cooperation South Caucasus at Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The interlocutors discussed the current state and prospects for the development of SMEs and agriculture in Armenia. In this regard, the parties exchanged views on the "Modernization of Vocational Education and Training in Agriculture" (MAVETA) and Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Mountainous Armenia (SIGMA) projects implemented in Armenia with funding from the Swiss government.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Economy, issues of cooperation in the fields of tourism, agriculture and vocational education, as well as the involvement of forcibly displaced citizens from Nagorno-Karabakh within the framework of cooperation were separately raised The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland's international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In operating with other federal offices concerned, SDC is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation. The goal of development cooperation is that of reducing poverty. It is meant to foster economic self- reliance and state autonomy, to contribute to the improvement of production conditions, to help in finding solutions to environmental problems, and to provide better access to education and basic healthcare services.
In May 2022, SDC approved a grant of $12.5 million under the SIGMA program, which is implemented to reduce poverty in mountainous Armenia in an inclusive, innovative and climate-sensitive manner. The department announced an international tender to identify an implementing partner. Within the framework of the project, such sectors as agriculture, agrotourism, agrotechnology, etc. will be consistently developed. The geographical focus of the project will be on the poorest regions of Northern Armenia, namely Tavush, Gegharkunik, Lori and Shirak. The tender process will have a preparatory phase of 17 months, starting on May 23, 2022. After this, the implementation phase will last at least 10 years (December 2023-2033). In the first phase (2023-2026), SIGMA will cover at least 3,000 households and will increase to 10,000 households by the end of the second phase.