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Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan
Prime Minister Working to Ensure Positive Change
Prime Minister, Tigran Sargsyan aims to make sure that Armenia’s development keeps pace with global trends so that the country can serve as a productive, prosperous member of the international community. He says, “The world is getting smaller and smaller very quickly, and Armenia must move forward rapidly in order to be included in the increasingly integrated global community. If our infrastructure lags behind, so will our economy.”
For more than a decade, Armenia has been working with international organisations and funding agencies to build the foundations for the country’s future. The government has established key partnerships with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the EU, and the governments of Russia, China and Japan, among others, in order to bring new technologies and know-how as well as financial support to Armenia.
Energy and infrastructure projects
The energy sector and infrastructure projects have received particularly significant support from international funding organisations, but more investment is needed. Concerning the crucial power sector, for example, the Prime Minister says, “Our goal is to build more reliable power plants with renovated technologies.”
A major infrastructure project in the works is a new airport, which is being built with the support of the World Bank and organisations in Europe and the US, with key input from the private sector. The Prime Minister explains, “We have adopted a new concept for the airport. We are getting technical expertise from the EU and the US concerning the airport’s design as well as for new legislation for air traffic and for the logistics facilities which will serve the airport. The government has granted the concession for managing the airport to an independent Argentinian owner, Eduardo Eurnekian who owns several airports around the world.”
Success stories for foreign investors
The Prime Minister highlights the importance of the private sector in Armenia’s development plans, and points out that many foreign investors have already achieved success in Armenia. He explains, “There are success stories in all sectors, such as in information technology, which is a tremendously important sector for Armenia, as well as the mining sector, where German investors have had outstanding results. In addition, Armenia has established a global reputation for its cognac and brandy and for cutting diamonds; the diamonds are brought here to be cut and then exported.”
To attract more foreign investors, Armenia has ensured a level playing field for them. “We do not differentiate between foreign and domestic entrepreneurs. It is crucial for us to create an equal opportunity for everybody. We believe that in the long run this strategy will attract foreign investors,” Tigran Sargsyan says. He adds that the government is working to provide more information to the international community concerning investment opportunities in Armenia, and that local organisations like the country’s chess team, which has won a number of international tournaments, can help make people around the world more aware of Armenia’s intellectual resources.
IT sector continues to grow
Armenia is upgrading technologies in all areas, a drive that has already proved successful in the information technology sector. “We now have 230 enterprises in the IT sector here in Armenia, and even during the global crisis they have grown by an average 10%, which reflects the high level of expertise in this field in Armenia,” the Prime Minister points out proudly.
The Prime Minister also cites mining and chemicals as high-potential growth sectors. Armenian enterprise Nairit, for example, is already ranked the fourth largest rubber producer in the world. “We have established a very promising business partnership with China concerning rubber production,” he adds.
Integration with EU a top priority
Western Europe is set to play a leading role in Armenia’s future development, and EU investors are particularly welcome. “We are trying to enhance our integration with the EU. Armenia already shares European values, but the EU is changing very quickly and Armenia must keep up with this process. We know that further integration with the EU will bring more stability to Armenia,” Tigran Sargsyan says.
A major challenge for Armenia, according to the Prime Minister, is to change local people’s attitudes. He says, “Our nation experienced genocide and suffered through a totalitarian regime for 70 years. Now we must help our people to change their mentality and move forward to become part of our new, better, modern country. This is a very complex task which cannot be accomplished with just one
strategy, but further integration with the EU will definitely take us closer to this goal.”
Concerning his role as Prime Minister, Tigran Sargsyan concludes, “Our aim today as leaders in Armenia is to do what is necessary to bring about positive change. The important thing is to look at the big picture.”