Tag Archives: Davit Lokyan

On 25 October the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, was in Gyumri, Shirak marz, on a working visit. In the morning the Ambassador met the Governor of Shirak, Arthur Khachatryan.

ARS_6983After the meeting, the Ambassador participated in the opening ceremony of an IT incubation laboratory at Gyumri Technology Centre. Microsoft Innovation Centre Armenia opened the IT incubation laboratory as part of the “Boosting Technological Developments in Shirak Marz” project, funded by the European Union and the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. The project aims to support Shirak’s economic development by enrichment of unemployed youth and business development of IT community. This two-year project was launched in December 2016 and has a budget of €750,000.
The incubation laboratory will provide a 5-month coding boot camp in information technologies for unemployed 17- to 35-year-olds living in Shirak. The project will collaborates with local IT companies to identify human resource demands and train junior developers. It will include nearly 200 participants. The first round of training has already been completed, and more than 50 people have sat an intensive training course on programming. Starting from November, they will be sent on coding boot camps by potential employers. The programme expects to have newly trained 90 IT professionals employed at local companies.

ARS_6729Ambassador Świtalski spoke about the importance of informational technologies: ‘There are many reasons to feel happy for this event. Firstly, this is the first and one of the most important projects that we are doing together with the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. It is a part of our joint effort to boost regional development – I am happy to see the results. Secondly, this project is about IT technology, a digital Armenia. We believe that Armenia has big potential, particularly in this field. The EU wants to support all the efforts of the Armenian government and stakeholders. Thirdly, it’s not only about capacity building, it’s about job creation. We hope very much that sub-granting employers could benefit from this lab. Fourthly, it’s about the new generation. We believe in Armenian youth; we want to develop their abilities and to fulfil their aspirations in Armenia itself. Finally, this project is important for its regional focus in Gyumri, Shirak. We want to do more projects in this city and the whole marz’.

ARS_6768The Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Davit Lokyan, highlighted the importance of the laboratory: ‘Through this project, we are trying to reduce youth unemployment in Shirak and improve young people’s knowledge and skills in IT, a priority for Armenia today. In Shirak, GDP per capita is the lowest in Armenia and the government has set itself a task to improve the situation by 2025’.

ARS_6752The Director of the Microsoft Innovation Centre Armenia, Artashes Vardanyan, noted that Shirak has huge potential: ‘Shirak has huge human resource potential. The project aims to both expand IT companies and create new workplaces through buildings skills and knowledge among unemployed youth and better positioning in local and international markets’.

After the tour, the project announced the results of a sub-grant opportunity. 7 local IT companies will receive sub-grants of €5000-€10,000 to expand their activities and create new workplaces for project trainees.
Ambassador Świtalski concluded the day by visiting the Emili Aregak Support and Resource Centre for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Gyumri.

Seven new projects financed through the Pilot Regional Development Programme (PRDP) will help to create more economic opportunities in Armenian marzes. On 13 December, during the “Armenian Regions Benefiting from Strategic Planning and Comprehensive RD Projects” regional development conference, 7 PRDP grant contracts were signed and over €9 million in support funds were allocated to different sectors in the target marzes of Shirak, Lori, Syunik, Armavir, Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik, and Tavush.
Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Davit Lokyan, the Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development (MTAD), and the heads of those organisations which were awarded grants all attended the contract signing event.

3The Ambassador welcomed PRDP’s focus on regional development: ‘This is an important moment for the EU, because we believe that our future strategy should be based on promoting sustainable regional development in Armenia. Armenia’s economic resilience hinges on overcoming the gap that exists between Yerevan and the marzes. This gap is significant. Cooperation with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development towards this end has long been very constructive. For us, it’s a long-term choice to focus more on cooperation in the marzes, especially where the gap is most explicit’.

2Lokyan said the EU’s support could have multiple benefits: ‘GDP per capita is 2.5 times less in many marzes,than in Yerevan. Programmes like PRDP will help to overcome poverty in Armenia’s regions. There should be no GDP gap between Yerevan and other marzes’.
The successful grantees will begin to implement their projects in early 2017. The expected outputs are different: the projects will support 2,200 persons to increase their employability through skills development, more than 700 enterprises to increase competitiveness, and 500 new jobs will be directly created, more than 320 enterprises will increase their competitiveness measured in increased turnover or employment.

The PRDP call for proposals opened on 14 September 2015, and welcomed project ideas from all over the country, albeit those which focused on regional development.
PRDP’s total budget is almost €10 million, of which €7 million was provided by the European Union and €1.75 million by the Armenian government. Grant applicants were required to co-finance their proposals by a minimum of 10% co-financing themselves.
A second call for proposals will be opened by the EU and MTAD in January 2017. It will aim to select one o two additional regional projects to be financed from remaining PRPD funds. Project ideas for Shirak marz in the cultural and creative sectors will be invited.