World Bank Implements Poverty Reduction Strategy in Armenia

Economic News
November 30, 2007 Friday

World Bank Implements Poverty Reduction Strategy in Armenia

Yerevan. OREANDA-NEWS . November 29, 2007. The World Bank on November
27 approved a US$18.5 million Fourth Poverty Reduction Support Credit
(PRSC) for Armenia, the Bank’s press service announced. The project
will support the implementation of the governments Poverty Reduction
Strategy Program (PRSP) by helping to sustain economic growth,
providing resources for the budget, bolstering the fight against
illegal logging and facilitating priority reforms of the government.
This fourth installment will bring total budget support from the Bank
to over $85 million since 2004.

The Bank helps the Armenian Government to reduce costs in
telecommunications and aviation by fighting monopolies, in order to
benefit exporters and businesses generally and to spur job creation.
Some of the funding will be used to build systems that will enable
the public to access full information on companies and their owners a
vital first step for companies to become more transparent and attract
more foreign and domestic capital for investment and job creation.

A key objective of the program is to ensure that customs and tax
administrations are reformed in order to reduce corruption, thereby
improving the prospects for investment. The credit is also supporting
adequate monitoring and combating of illegal logging in order to
ensure that Armenias forests are protected. The conservation of
Armenias forests will help the poor as they will benefit from more
investment opportunities in rural and mountainous areas.

"Looking at the entire four-year program, we are confident the
Government has used these funds wisely," said Saumya Mitra, head of
the World Banks economic team.

"If you look at the deep-seated reforms that have taken place
external observers can see where these funds have been spent. They
are visible in new education and health policies — rationalizing
schools and using money saved to repair schools and raise teacher
salaries and training standards and modernizing hospitals and
focusing on primary health care. The country now benefits from better
quality and reliability in electricity and public utility services,
cheaper phone calls and more competition in the mobile market, and
higher spending on pensions and poverty benefits. These were all high
priority actions for the Government over the past three years and the
Banks technical advice and financing have helped the country to
achieve results."

But Armenia can not be complacent the country still has considerable
work to do if it is to continue to be competitive. By eradicating
monopolies in the distribution of commodities and in production and
by raising standards in customs and tax administrations, it can
continue to improve the business environment. These steps are
necessary if the excellent economic performance of the recent past
very high economic growth and a sharp fall in poverty is to be

The credit is provided on concessional terms, with a maturity of 20
years, and a grace period of 10 years.

Since joining the World Bank in 1992, Armenia has benefited from
US$1.1 billion in loans for 49 projects.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS