Tag Archives: support

On 21 October a governmental session was convened at the Armenian Ministry of Economy to discuss EU budget support programmes, as well as future proposals.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea, expressed his appreciation for projects implemented until today: ‘The EU is Armenia’s largest assistance donor, and has been actively supporting Armenia since its independence. In July the EU announced a further package of assistance to Armenia in 2014-2017 focusing on private sector development, public administration reform and justice sector reform. Both sides are committed to further cooperation aimed at the continuous improvement of democratic institutions and judiciary, the promotion of human rights and rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption, the strengthening the civil society, as we declared in Vilnius nearly a year ago.’
IMG_1326The Minister of Economy Karen Chshmarityan noted: ‘We tend to deepen our relations with the European Union and to expand the fields covered by the EU Budget Support. Today we have gathered here to summarise the Budget Support activities that were carried out so far. Budget Support is one of the key support instruments that the EU provides to Armenia and corresponding research shows that it is also one of the most efficient ones’.
EU budget support offers a platform for dialogue with a partner country (including government, national control bodies, and civil society) on policies and on their financing, objectives and results. This is consistent with the principles of ownership, transparency and accountability. Budget support is provided as a “vector of change” to address key development challenges. The EU provides budget support to the Republic of Armenia in the areas of economic development, education, justice reforms and rural development.
With the support of the European Union, Armenia has so far managed to improve the vocational and educational training through better courses, aligned with the labour market needs, as well as renovated colleges and a 50% increase in the number of available places for students. Efforts are ongoing for the development of agricultural cooperatives, and the improvement of the judicial and penitentiary systems in the country. Moreover, with EU support Armenia introduced an e-civil registry system for electronic management of birth, death, marriage, divorce or adoption certificates, and is now issuing biometric passports to all citizens. There have also been a multitude of other technical improvements affecting fields as varied as internal audit, public procurement, public accounting, food safety, public debt management, intellectual property rights, or customs procedures, to name but a few.

On 7 October a working meeting on the “Promotion of SMEs’ competitiveness in Eastern Partner countries: Armenia” project took place in Yerevan. The Head of Political Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Dirk Lorenz, and the Armenian First Deputy Minister of Economy, Garegin Melkonyan, and the Head of the “Eurasia” competitiveness project, Gregory Lecomte, participated in the event.

Armenia was included in the reform research programme of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) “Eurasian Competitiveness” project in December 2013. This involved research on raising competitiveness in the local economy and now, under the new stage of the project, two working groups studying possible reforms.

Participants at the meeting discussed the work being carried out by the two working groups and the reports they had written. Additionally, further perspectives for development were explored.

On 26-27 November, the second roundtable on the “Eurasian Competitiveness” project will take place. Armenia will be represented by its Ministry of Economy. The rountable will synthesise current results, and examine the research undertaken. Independent experts will evaluate the results achieved and determine future plans. The implementation stage of the “Promotion of SMEs’ competitiveness in the Eastern Partner countries: Armenia” project will be launched in early 2015.

The project is implemented by OECD with the support of German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ), and funded by the European Union. Several experts from EU Member States (Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic) have already visited Armenia to provide consultancy.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the EU organised a trade finance conference on 1 October at Elite Plaza Business Centre. It was aimed at increasing awareness and facilitating better access to trade finance instruments for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Armenia. The 2-day event gave opportunity for international experts to discuss the perspectives and challenges faced by local entrepreneurs in accessing trade finance in Armenia.

Head of the Cooperation Department of the EU Delegation in Armenia Hoa-Binh Adjemian spoke about the background of Armenia-EU cooperation: ‘The European Union has been one of the main donors for Armenia in recent years: we provided loans of approximately €50 million to develop the private sector. Currently, we are leveraging a €500 million worth programme in Armenia. After Armenia enters the [Eurasian] Customs Union, the EU will continue working with the private sector and help to develop the business climate. Various programmes implemented through EBRD have all been very fruitful; therefore, we will continue devising new ones’.

The conference gathered together a number of high-profile speakers as well as representatives from local SMEs, commercial banks and various business associations, who discussed the current trends in trade finance and the development needs of this sector. It also featured panel discussions, presentations and case studies of successful trade finance transactions in Armenia by invited experts, banks and SMEs. The conference was regarded a success by all participants, and two persons from EBRD and Armeconombank spoke positively about the experience and current relationships between the bank and the country.

The EBRD Director for Financial Institutions in Central Asia, Mike Taylor, talked about the recent cooperation between EBRD and Armenian partners: ‘The EBRD remains a committed partner to Armenia, paying special attention to supporting local SMEs, which play a leading role in the development of the trade sector. We would like more companies to be fully aware of all the financing options available to them and be in a position to use those alternatives’.
Armen Naljyan, Chief Executive Officer at Armeconombank, one of the lead sponsors of the event, presented the achievements they had achieved together: ‘After the EBRD entered the Armenian market, it gave rise to loaning system, training courses for professionals, new connections and overall development of the field’.

A concluding event for the EU-funded project called “Support to Rural Development in Aragatsotn Region” was held in Arayi on 11 August 2014. The event was organised by the “Green Lane” agricultural assistance NGO, in cooperation with the international organisation “Action Against Hunger”.

The project was launched in January 2013 and ended on 7 July 2014. This 18-month project received an EU funding in the amount of € 133,943 and was aimed at raising awareness and capacity among farmers and public administration bodies on innovative and sustainable agricultural technologies. A group of 15 women was created to implement modern technologies for raspberry cultivation. Furthermore, farmers were provided with all necessary support, including seedlings, corresponding equipment, and consultant advice. Head of “Green Lane” NGO Nune Sarukhanyan stated on the event: ‘During these one and a half years we were there for these women for the whole duration of the cultivation process: starting from the groundwork till the moment when the product was ready to be packaged and presented’.

International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia John Barker expressed his delight for the project: ‘I am happy to see that our work resulted in the first harvest. Usually people think that the EU cooperates only with ministries; however, we also highly value collaboration with communities. This is a perfect example of small grants provided by the EU. We are glad to provide financial support for developing small businesses, and the EU is determined to help people start helping themselves’.

Sarukhanyan added that an agricultural festival would be organised in October, where all project beneficiaries would be able to present their products and jams in professional packaging, labelled “Fresh raspberries from Arayi”.

After the closing ceremony, guests and media representatives visited the orchards of several project beneficiaries and witnessed the first raspberry harvest cultivated using new technologies.