World Bank Approves Aid for Various Projects in Armenia

World Bank Approves Aid for Various Projects in Armenia
Strategy for 2005-2008 focuses on quality-of-life issues

14 June 2004

The World Bank on June 10 announced support for several new assistance
projects for Armenia including an overall strategy for bank operations in
that country during 2005-2008.

A press release said the goal of the new country assistance strategy (CAS)
is to support efforts to improve the quality of life for the people of
Armenia. To do this, the strategy will focus on improving the business
environment to create more jobs, promote better and more effective
governance, and improve health, education and basic infrastructure. Special
attention will be paid to development in rural areas.

Financing for the various projects could total as much as $220 million,
according to the release.

Armenia’s Social Protection and Administration Project will receive a $5.15
million credit to help public employment, pension and social assistance
agencies provide better services to the public

The Health System Modernization Project will receive a $19 million credit to
provide more accessible, efficient and sustainable health care services and
to better manage public health threats

The Irrigation Dam Safety Project II will receive a $6.75 million credit to
rehabilitate 47 dams and to install upgraded monitoring and safety equipment
at 56 dams:

Following is the press release on the World Bank’s CAS for Armenia:
( NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20211358~menuPK
:34463~pagePK:6 4003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html):

(b egin text)

World Bank
Washington, D.C.

June 10, 2004


Program envisages support of up to $220 million for next four years

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2004 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors
today discussed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Armenia. The CAS
is a document that details the Bank’s work plan to assist client countries
in achieving their development goals. It describes all of the Bank’s planned
operations in the country — lending, analytical work, and technical
assistance. The new CAS for Armenia covers the period 2005-2008 and
envisages a lending program of up to $220 million.

Priorities of the new CAS include assisting the government in improving the
business environment and thus create more jobs, promoting a better and more
effective governance; and improving health, education, and the basic

“The goal of the CAS is to support the country’s efforts to improve the
quality of life of its people”, says Donna M. Dowsett-Coirolo, World Bank
Country Director for Armenia. “This is why improving social protection
systems are key in the Armenia CAS, as is climate for private sector
development that will promote the creation of new jobs.”

Despite a strong economic performance since 2000, which has been accompanied
by considerable progress in Armenia’s transition agenda, serious challenges
remain for the country. About half of Armenia’s population still live in
poverty. Growth has been uneven, with poor rural regions and segments of
population falling further behind. Access to high quality education, health
care and basic services is restricted. That is the reason why the new CAS is
paying special attention to the developments in the rural areas of Armenia.

The CAS is organized around three central themes:

– Promote private sector led economic growth. The Government regards the
private sector as the main driver of the economic growth needed for
employment creation and poverty reduction. The CAS aims to help improve the
environment for private sector growth, with an emphasis on facilitating
economic diversification (both in terms of the number of sectors and the
number enterprises).

– Make growth more pro-poor. The PRSP puts a major emphasis on ensuring that
a larger share of population benefits from economic growth. The CAS program
accordingly has a focus on helping make the benefits of growth more widely
available by improving formal sector jobs and stimulating the rural economy.
For those who are not yet able to share in these benefits, the CAS focuses
on improving social protection.

– Reduce non-income poverty. The PRSP and the CAS focus on the need to
increase the well-being of the poor by improving their access to affordable
healthcare, education, drinking water, sanitation and heating.

The previous CAS for Armenia covered the period 2002-2004 and envisaged a
lending program of up to $190 million. In the framework of this strategy,
the Bank assisted the government in implementing reforms in education and
health sectors, public service and private sector development, agriculture
and environment, energy and roads. These projects have already yielded
positive results. Some examples include over 120 km of roads have been
maintained on a periodic basis; civil service reform has been launched under
a new law based on an Institutional Governance Review; over 130 community
projects improving the quality of life of some 340,000 people living in the
countryside; 80 rural hospitals have been built and 118 physicians retrained
as family practitioners to better serve needs of the rural population;
rehabilitation of over 2,000 km of irrigation canals have increased the
productivity of some 80,000 hectares of agricultural land; 112 new textbooks
and 50 teachers’ guides have been published and made available to students
throughout the country.

The CAS was prepared in partnership with the Government of Armenia and in
consultation with local experts and representatives of civil society
organizations. It is based on the participatory developed PRSP approved by
the government last year.

For more information on the World Bank’s activities in Armenia, please

Washington: Miriam Van Dyck (202) 458-2931 Email: [email protected]
Yerevan: Vigen Sargsyan, (374 1) 524-884 Email: [email protected]

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: )