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Official News

Friday, 3 March 2017

“Let’s just roll up our sleeves and get to work” – PM Meets with Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices










Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan met today with the central apparatus of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the heads of diplomatic missions and consular offices to discuss issues related to Armenia’s foreign economic policy.

The Prime Minister first congratulated the participants on the occasion of Ambassador’s Day and wished them fruitful work. “We highly value your work, as in many cases you are the medium to raise worldwide awareness of our country. Great is your role in terms of promoting the interests of our companies, providing information to foreign investors on doing business and making investments, as well as investment opportunities in Armenia,” the Premier said. Karen Karapetyan attached importance to improving the effectiveness of Armenia’s diplomatic representations abroad, particularly in the field of economic inclusion.

With reference to the process of opening Armenia’s trade missions in foreign countries, the Prime Minister said it had been suspended.

“I found it to be ineffective considering that we have embassies and interests abroad: why not use the platform of embassies? While talking about it with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, we stressed the need to enhance the economic component. We decided to classify our embassies on the basis of our expectations, dimensions, capacities, and formulate our demands and challenges in accordance with such classification,” the Head of Government said.

The Premier noted that he was looking forward to getting more applied results from diplomatic missions’ activities in the field of trade and economic relations.

Karen Karapetyan said that the diplomatic missions abroad should keep in close touch with the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment and other departments; they have to be more active in presenting Armenia’s investment opportunities. “Let’s just roll up our sleeves and get to work”

Presenting the work done by the Government, the Prime Minister said that the following macroeconomic tasks had been addressed: per-sector diagnosis of challenges and identification of existing problems, development of a vision and an action plan for each sector.

“We have formulated four major tasks for 2017: diagnosis, stabilization, reform of public administration and sanitation. We need to enhance public administration efficiency, work out a new philosophy for the decision-making process. We likewise need to reconsider the mechanisms for spending, borrowing and investment,” the Head of Government said.

Citing the reforms underway in agriculture, information technology, healthcare and local governance, the Prime Minister presented his government’s development vision and the rationale behind reform.

“Information technology may actually become one of the drivers of the economy. But we have a simple task: we are training 400-500 specialists annually. In the meantime, the market needs some 2000 specialists each year, but the university system does not respond to the market demand. We must change the system, because according to our forecasts, we will have 5,000 jobs in the near future, with the IT industry to ensure the largest annual increase in GDP,” Karen Karapetyan said, expressing confidence that today’s managers have a clear idea of where they are leading the country, and we will have quite a different country in 10 years.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the role of the Center for Strategic Initiatives as a platform for public-private sector cooperation, which formed a long-term vision for the development of Armenia. “We have set aside 5-6 projects for the first stage - tourism, tax and customs administration, information technology, agriculture, education and strategies for reform of public administration. We want to create a platform where all ideas, every one having a vision or idea of how the country should develop may generate their own ideas on this platform.”

The Prime Minister gave details on the government’s investment policy and the planned volumes. “We are trying to break the stereotype that there is no place to invest, there is no place to make money, get profit in Armenia and so on. We have developed very clear investment projects worth a total of USD 3.2 billion, specifying the investment targets, the financial sources and those to implement them. We find that the mark of 830-850 million is quite feasible in 2017. We have made them open for public discussion or criticism. There are 5 funding sources: private sector, State budget, communities, grants and loans. In addition, we are considering USD 5.3 billion-worth projects that are increasing in number and may be more practical. We have not yet identified financial sources for them - in most cases - neither the implementing entity - but we have programs that may be logical.”

The meeting focused on the vision of economic development in Armenia, the use of Diaspora’s potential and issues related to diplomatic structures’ increased involvement.

The ambassadors in attendance expressed satisfaction with the recent investment plans from the concerned departments, noting that they are targeted, practical and useful. The ambassadors referred to the results obtained in the field of economic relations, trade turnover and development opportunities.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Islamic Republic of Iran Artashes Tumanyan noted that there is positive progress in Armenian-Iranian economic cooperation. Pointing to the availability of specific plans and successful examples of exports to Iran, he advised that several investment projects are being considered at this point of time.

“The volume of trade with Iran is far from being satisfactory in Syunik Marz. It is clear that the region should head toward the Iranian market in all directions,” the Prime Minister said.

RA Ambassador to the United Mexican States Ara Aivazyan welcomed the inclusion of the economic component in our country’s diplomatic efforts, describing the government’s investment packages as quite promising. He advised that 3 large companies are discussing possibilities for joint investment in our country. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands Dzyunik Aghajanyan spoke about the Armenian-Dutch economic relations and the prospects of joint projects in agriculture and tourism.

The meeting next discussed issues related to trade missions’ activities, the formation of the institute of economic attachés within embassies, the promotion of tourism and investments, the establishment of appropriate platform etc.
 

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