Tag Archives: Hoa-Binh Adjemian

The European Union attaches importance to and supports sustainable energy in Armenia. Developing renewable energy, particularly solar energy, is crucial for enhancing energy security and independence, solving communities’ energy sustainability and environmental issues, and increasing energy efficiency to transition to “green cities”. 4-8 June marked Sustainable Energy Week in Armenia, which were organised under the EU4Energy initiative. This year Sustainable Energy week was full of events focused on raising awareness of energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

 Sustainable energy and energy efficiency

ARS_9879On 4 June an open-air exhibition on sustainable energy and energy efficiency was held in Aparan, Aragatsotn marz to mark the start of Sustainable Energy Week. Energy solutions, products and services available in the Armenian market were presented, including sustainable energy projects currently under way in Armenia and useful information on community participation in these projects. Interactive training, educational and awareness-raising sessions for schoolchildren and general public were also organised.

ARS_0058Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, stressed the importance of sustainable energy: ‘The EU will continue to support Armenia’s future. Armenian families spend 20% of their family budget on energy. Studies show that you can save up to a third of these costs by making the right investment to save energy – you save both money and the planet. The responsibility to protect the environment is on all of our shoulders. The EU will help you to learn how to consume less energy and enjoy a better life’.

The venue for the exhibition was carefully chosen to reflect the new phases of the “EU for Armenia’s Sustainable Energy” project, which will focus on renewable energy in Aparan and Artik. These will be implemented by the NGOs “Foundation to Save Energy” (ESF) and the “Union of Communities of Armenia” (UCA). In Aparan, photovoltaic panels will be used on rooftops to connect to the power grid. The community has requested this be implemented in a public building where it will be possible to ensure energy savings for the whole community. In Artik, solar panels and green tariffs will be introduced alongside a large-scale outreach and capacity-building campaign, involving the private sector.

Sustainable energy development prospects in Armenia

On 6 June the “Sustainable energy development prospects in the Armenian communities” conference took place in Yerevan. Conference participants discussed sustainable energy development prospects, legislative and financial frameworks, public-private partnerships, and renewable energy opportunities in Armenia. The results of EU-funded projects were also presented.

ARS_0576Hoa-Binh Adjemian attended the conference and stressed EU commitment to sustainability: ‘Energy efficiency and energy security is one of the four priorities of collaboration between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, Armenia in particular. In the last ten years the EU has invested a lot of money in this, and a wide variety of beneficiaries have benefited. Why are we interested in energy efficiency? Because it contributes to sustainability and rewards investments after 4-7 years’.

Yerevan energy efficiency

Finally, to conclude the full week of outreach events on sustainable energy, on 8 June the European Union, European Investment Bank (EIB), the Eastern European Energy Efficiency and Environmental Partnership (E5P) and the United Nations Development Program/Green Climate Fund (UNDP/GCF) gathered for “One day at Kindergarten” at the municipal kindergarten #110, which is one of the 147 kindergartens that will undergo energy efficiency retrofitting in the next three years, with the first sub-sovereign IFI loan extended by EIB to Yerevan Municipality, and grant co-financing by E5P and UNDP/GCF.

ARS_1204The EIB and E5P marked the SEW2018 with signing of the E5P grant agreement in the amount of €5 million to support the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in combination with renewable energy technologies, enhanced seismic resilience and accessibility of kindergartens. 29 municipal kindergartens will be renovated, and 118 kindergartens will undergo energy-efficiency and seismic-stability checks. This should create safer environments for children, teachers, and other employees. The total cost of the project is €15 million, from which the EIB disburses a loan of €7 million signed on 2017, the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) will provide €5 million in grants, and the Yerevan Municipality will provide €2 million in co-funding. Additionally, the Green Climate Foundation will provide a loan of €1 million.

ARS_1163E5P General Manager Eva Maniko highlighted the key aspects of the project: ‘The contributors have selected this project as it will have a positive environmental effect. Socially, new technologies, such as solar panels, will have an impact. This is not the first project of E5P but it is the largest grant we have given to any project in Armenia. E5P is also financing the Yerevan Solid Waste Project, the Yerevan Street Lighting Project and the Kotayk Solid Waste Management Project’.

Read more on the EU Delegation’s webpage: https://goo.gl/QX75cQ 

On 17 November Gyumri hosted the two-day “Empowering Regions through High Tech” conference. The conference was organised by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Gyumri Technology Centre in partnership with the Armenian government, Shirak Governor, Gyumri Municipality, and the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project. SMEDA is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in the South Caucasus Programme. SMEDA is part of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives of the European Union.
150 young people from across Armenia with an interest in technological education, engineering, programming and innovation participated in the conference. There were 3 panel discussions: “Business Environment Support”, “Business Mindset Development in the Regions” and “Education Advancement as a Base for the Future of Armenia”. Different IT workshops were also conducted by international and local experts.
The Gyumri Technology Centre, which opened in 2014, aims to increase opportunities for employment through technological education. The main goal is to stop brain drain from Shirak marz to Yerevan and thus boost regional development through technology. The conference organisers believe that other Armenian marzes also have the potential to be stronger and more sustainable through technological empowerment. Using Shirak marz and Gyumri as an example, the conference gave a space to exchange experience with other marzes and motivate young people to get involved in technology. It is hoped that these young people will be inspired to be part of positive change in their own marz instead of migrating to Yerevan, create jobs in the regions, and support the decentralisation of high tech.

ARS_8381Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, spoke of the importance of regional development: ‘It is an honour for me to be in this beautiful city again to confirm the EU’s commitment to equal growth in Armenia. Equal growth means growth in both Yerevan and the regions. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a month ago, Lawrence Meredith, the Director of “Neighbourhood East” in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a week ago, and we had a very close discussion with the government to concentrate on and to increase support to the Armenian marzes. We are waiting for the guidance from the government to identify marzes for pilot activities’.

ARS_8237Karen Karapetyan, the Armenian Prime Minister, welcomed students and congratulated them on the occasion of International Students’ Day: ‘In Armenia, we have a goal to develop the high-tech field as one of the priorities of our economy; it has great potential for attracting and exporting investments. At the same time, regional and community development is key to Armenia’s economic development vision. The combination of these two can provide the desired result. The Gyumri Technology Centre is a good example of how to establish and develop a company in the marzes that promotes the development of technical and business skills, innovative research and development in the high-tech field, commercialises talent, and transforms it into successful businesses. Over 3 years the Technology Centre has already created about 200 jobs, has about 100 beneficiaries, and is preparing more than 500 specialists annually. There are 25 local and foreign organisations in the centre. Many of them are exporting their solutions outside Armenia. Our citizens, the city and marz benefit from all this, and this process is having a positive effect on the development of our country’s economy’.

On 1 September, the EU-funded “Biomass Heating Solutions for Rural Development – BioRuralHeating” project came to an end with a discussion of the project outcomes and perspectives at the Barva Innovation Centre in Talin, Aragatsotn marz. The “Green Energy Association” implemented the project from September 2015 until September 2017. The Barva Innovation Centre was the main industrial partner of the project.

ARS_2242The overall objective of BioRuralHeating was to promote biomass as a source of thermal energy in rural communities, create biomass-processing markets, create jobs, and provide new income sources. The specific objectives were: to build strategic partnerships between farmers, research and development centres, the public and private sectors; to strengthen capacity among these stakeholders; to raise the level of local public awareness and promote biomass for domestic heating and to develop a set of decision-making tools for social enterprises to produce and use biomass in heating applications in rural areas. Beneficiary and target groups of the project included state and local self-governing bodies, farmers, and other individuals and organisations engaged in biosynthesis for energy generation.
The Barva Innovation Centre was established in 2005, and its operations involve: high-quality technological manufacturing; device building; information technologies. The centre has the most up-to-date equipment for biomass processing. In the framework of the project 6 communities have been provided with devices producing energy with the help of biomass.

ARS_2358Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation, attended the project closing event. He toured the facility and spoke of his satisfaction with the project’s achievements: ‘I came here 3 years ago, and it was a completely different experience – there was nothing like this! It is very good to come back and see the project’s results. What is more important, however, is the pilot nature of the project – we have many lessons to learn. If a pilot project is successful, this needs to be shared, particularly with Government agencies to expand the project. But it’s not just as simple as that – we need to make sure that the financial business model is working as well. A third, impartial set of eyes is necessary to confirm this. With biomass, there is a marketing issue because politicians prefer solar and wind energy, as they are easier to sell. Therefore, for biomass, more active work must be done with investors and government representatives’.

ARS_2389Aram Vardanyan, the CEO of Barva Innovation Centre, spoke of his hopes for the future: ‘In our opinion, the project has been quite successful. I recently had the opportunity to present our project at the 25th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden. Our project received good feedback. Giuliano Grassi, the Secretary General of European Biomass Industry Association, highly appreciated our achievements and is going to send a representative to Armenia at the end of this month to discuss how we can integrate into other EU programmes. Through the project we have also published 2 books on the use of biomass in Armenia. The conclusion is that Armenia has so much renewable biomass waste, enough to produce three times the current energy demand of the entire country – this is highly promising. This waste can be obtained from sanitary cleaning of forests, agricultural waste, and the gathering and harvesting of wild plants’.

On 5 September, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme welcomed the “One Step Ahead” which is an all-girls team from Karbi community in Aragatsotn marz. The team won the People’s Choice Award at the Global Technovation Challenge 2017, which took place from 7-11 August in San Francisco, USA. Since 2010, more than 10,000 girls from 78 countries have participated in the Global Technovation Challenge. Every year the competition invites girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenge them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by the programme’s methodology.

ARS_4573“One Step Ahead” created a bilingual sign-language app for Android. They won the Armenian heat before being invited to San Francisco. The Armenian stage of the competition was organised by Technovation regional ambassador “Women and Information Society’’ NGO. AGBU’s EU-funded three-year “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme empowers local initiatives by meaningfully engaging diaspora professionals and providing beneficiaries with access to AGBU’s global network. Yervant Zorian, AGBU General Board Member and President of Synopsys Armenia and the Chief Architect of Synopsys Corporation, has been announced as the first Goodwill Ambassador of the Technovation Initiative.

ARS_4491Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation, attended the event with “One Step Ahead” and congratulated the team: ‘It is a pleasure to be here. I am very impressed by your victory. You have achieved something great which shows this sphere’s potential. Also, this achievement confirms the willingness of the EU to invest in youth, girls and the future. It confirms that Armenia can be prosperous, peaceful and growing nation alongside the EU’.

ARS_4517Zorian was honoured to become the first Goodwill Ambassador of the Technovation Initiative: “I am proud of the team’s success. These achievements were not surprising to me, as I am aware of the potential that exists in Armenia. It is very important to keep momentum and implement what you have already done. It is great that this programme encourages girls to be active in the sphere of technology. I will be very happy if you can continue making contributions for years to come. I will do my best to support you as Goodwill Ambassador”.

On 3 May a foreign direct investment conference marked the official closing of the EU’s “Strengthening the Investment Promotion and Investment Policy Institutional Framework of Armenia’’ twinning project. This project between Armenia and France started on 15 October 2015 with a budget of €810,000, and was fully funded by the EU. Twinning is an EU instrument for institutional cooperation between the public administrations of EU member states and selected beneficiary countries in the European Neighbourhood.
Business France, the French government agency for foreign investment and export development, was the project implementer. The Armenian Ministry of Economic Development and Investments and the Development Foundation of Armenia (DFA) were also involved in the project.

ARS_4887During the project Armenian professionals were introduced to the best European practices; twenty European experts presented effective business tools, approved by Business France, for attracting investment to specialists from the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments and DFA. Activities emphasised the promotion of investment in Armenia, such as the establishment of country branches of foreign companies, job creation and economic development – a model followed by investment promotion agencies in developed countries. The project has had significant achievements: sectorial investment strategies were created and developed; promotional materials about Armenia were created; a database of potential investors was established; DFA established connections with 136 companies; 9 new opportunities and 11 investment projects emerged.

ARS_4933Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, was sad to see the end of this twinning project: ‘It’s very important to promote what Armenia has. This project aimed to promote investment in Armenia – it’s important to ensure that foreign investors come to Armenia, first of all for their financial capacity and, secondly, because foreign direct investment promotes business culture exchange’.

ARS_4930Garegin Melkonyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments gave an overview of the project: ‘We worked in three strategic directions: investment promotion and policy advocacy; foreign direct investment strategy development and an improvement in the investment climate; aftercare services development. The results are satisfactory’.

On 3 May an investment event was held as part of the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project. The theme of the event was nurturing innovative growth and supporting and financial opportunities for innovative SMEs and start-ups.
SMEDA is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and will run till 2019. It is a component of the EU’s EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives and is being implemented by GIZ Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Programme.
The investment event was visited by representatives from the private and public sectors, business associations and companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs. They learned about available financial opportunities for Armenian SMEs and other forms of support. A highlight was a presentation on an innovation ecosystem for start-ups in Armenia. Panel discussions focused on helping Armenian start-ups access international markets through the EU support.

ARS_4994Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, noted the strategic importance of Armenia in this sphere during the event: ‘The European Union provides support to various sectors which focus on economic stability and growth, such as innovation, education, science and ICT, cooperation with universities, etc. It is important that Armenia became an associate member of Horizon 2020 with an access to €70 billion funding for research and development projects. The EU will continue to support Armenia’s growth, by promoting innovation jointly with the private sector’.

ARS_5024Tigran Khachatryan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments, praised SMEDA’s work in boosting economic growth: ‘SMEs are the backbone of economic development; innovation is the engine to promote SME growth. It is necessary to support them, as Armenia currently lacks the funding mechanisms required. This type of event is good as it allows Armenian SMEs to learn about new funding tools’.

The event concluded with a reception to allow participants to network, share information, and meet international investors and experts.

On 2 May, the first ever Armenia-Turkey Investor Day was conducted in Yerevan by the Public Journalism Club of Armenia (PJC) and the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). The event was held in cooperation with Angel Labs, the world’s first investor accelerator from Silicon Valley, and was organised as part of the “Exchange Entrepreneurs” project, which is a component of the EU-funded “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process: Stage 2” programme.
The event was aimed at promoting the institutionalisation of an angel investors’ network in Armenia, supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors, and encouraging the establishment of lasting and profitable relationships between investors and entrepreneurs.
Armenian representatives from the ICT industry and business networks learned about best practice for creating investment networks, the mechanics of angel investing, and favourable legal conditions in Europe and USA. ICT representatives from Armenia and Turkey also discussed investment and start-up prospects in both countries.

ARS_4788Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, welcomed this investment initiative: ‘I’m delightful to be able to represent the European Union at this investment. Europe is a peace project – after overcoming the sufferings of war we are now a peaceful, growing region. This Armenia-Turkey Investor Day is a great chance to support exchange and economic integration. Normalisation and peace in the region will be built on solidarity – this can only happen through mutual opportunities and cultural exchange. I hope you can follow the EU example of laying the foundations of a peaceful future through opportunity and solidarity’.

ARS_4771Seda Muradyan, the Head of the PJC, was heartened by the level of attendance and interest and spoke about the role of angel investors: ‘Angel investors are wealthy individuals who offer capital to start-ups with the potential for fast growth. They are an increasingly important source of capital to companies in the early stage of development. Many angel investors are private – getting them to work via formal networks can be difficult. The objective of our initiative is to support those who are willing to further develop Armenia’s start-ups and investment ecosystem by forming an angel investors’ network. These networks successfully exist around the world – our aim is to introduce the concept in Armenia and Turkey, as well as promote cooperation between “angels” from both countries for joint projects’.

ARS_4850Cansu Sarac, a Political Expert at TEPAV, highlighted the importance of the initiative: ‘Three successful years of the “Exchange Entrepreneurs” project brought us to a point where we have decided that it is now time to focus on other stakeholders within the ecosystem and design a programme for angel investors. We would like to launch a joint angel investors’ network which will finance entrepreneurs and new ideas’.

On 15 December, the EU Delegation to Armenia officially launched the “Support to the Public Debt Management Department (PDMD) of the Ministry of Finance” programme, which will take place from 2017-2018. The programme will support PDMD to continue its efforts to increase the efficiency of the public debt market.
The programme launch took place during the presentations on the Armenian government’s 2017-2019 medium-term debt strategy, the 2017 financing plan, and other planned technical reforms. Major stakeholders in the Armenian public debt market attended the presentations.

2Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, welcomed the openness of the Ministry of Finance to improving efficiency: ‘Transparency in public debt practice is essential. It automatically increases the credibility of the issuer, reassuring and attracting public and private foreign investors. Through this project we confirm that the European Union stands by the Armenian government in prioritising public investment projects and promoting more public-private partnerships. The EU hopes that this good practice, the transparent presentation of the government’s plans to all major stakeholders in the Armenian public debt market and international financial institutions, will become an annual tradition and enormously strengthen Armenia’s international credibility’.

Armen Hayrapetyan, the Deputy Minister of Finance, lauded the EU’s support in this area: ‘Over the last ten years, our government had cooperated with various international organisations to plan and implement more cautious and targeted debt policies.We have been working with the EU for a year now and we hope that this cooperation will continue’.

ars_0751The EU has been investing in key infrastructure projects in Armenia since 2009. Investments totalling more than €100 million have been invested by the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility and have leveraged, on average, more than half a  billion euros in public investment. The EU’s support in enhancing public debt and public investment management is aimed towards safeguarding Armenia’s growth capacity and smooth economic development.