World Bank official praises economic reforms in Armenia

World Bank official praises economic reforms in Armenia

29 Oct 04


Armenia is one of the best users of World Bank loans in the world,
which are being allocated on the IDA (International Development
Association) conditions, the regional director of the World Bank,
Donna Dowsett-Coirolo, said at a press conference in Yerevan today.

She said that a group of World Bank experts had recently come to this
conclusion, evaluating the influence of the bank’s credit programmes
on the country’s economy in the last 10 years. She added that economic
reforms in Armenia are proceeding better than in neighbouring Georgia
and Azerbaijan, though high economic growth is recorded in all the
South Caucasus countries this year.

The regional director noted that the economic situation in Georgia
would improve after the tough measures to fight corruption carried out
by President Mikheil Saakashvili, and after the construction of the
pipelines [Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Erzurum gas
pipeline] in Azerbaijan. At the same time, she believes that Armenia
should also take tough measures to fight corruption like Georgia,
though the situation is much better here.

Donna Dowsett-Coirolo noted that in the current year six credit
programmes worth 85m dollars had been submitted for approval to the
board of directors, which is the proof of active cooperation between
the World Bank and Armenia. Those are loans for the social, health
and education spheres, pension reforms, reforms in the state sector
and irrigation. The World Bank’s participation in the Armenian
government’s programme to alleviate poverty, which is worth 20m
dollars, will be considered by the board of directors in
November. Apart from this, a new credit programme to the tune of about
20m dollars for agriculture and another credit programme, worth the
same amount, to restore Yerevan’s water supply system are being
prepared. Both programmes are planned to be submitted for approval to
the World Bank board of directors next spring.

Commenting on the problem of repaying Armenia’s foreign debt, a bigger
portion of which are World Bank loans, the regional director said that
the country could guarantee its repayment, taking into consideration
the economic growth and existing potential to attract domestic and
foreign investment. Anyway, the issue of repaying Armenia’s foreign
debt does not cause concern compared to the situation in other
countries, she said.

To recap, 36 programmes of the World Bank worth a total of 820.8m
dollars have been implemented in Armenia since 1992.