AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Jan 6 2005

Armenia's Foreign Debt Highest in the Caucasus


During the discussions of the 2005 state budget in the Armenian
parliament last week, MPs expressed their concerns over the country's
foreign debt.

Armenia's foreign debt currently amounts to $1.129 billion ($362 per
capita). The figure will make up $1.429 billion ($458 per capita) in
the near future, as the government plans to borrow $93.6 million in
2005, $79.8 million in 2006 and $83.7 million in 2007.

Despite the hard situation, the country is expected to repay foreign
debt worth $48.6 million in 2006 and $39.8 million in 2007.

Some Armenian experts predict an increase in the country's foreign
debt over the next five years, saying that the figure will exceed $2
billion ($622 per capita) in 2010.
Armenian sociologists, in turn, claim that the country's per capita
foreign debt will increase and that the amount of per capita debt
will reach $1,053 in 2010.

According to the 2004 statistics, there are 3,213,000 people in
Armenia, 1,221,000 of whom, or 38% of the total population, have left
the country due to social hardship.
Armenia's opposition explains the tough situation in the country by
its failure to participate in regional projects due to tensions in
relations with Azerba ijan and Turkey with regard to the Upper
Garabagh conflict and a high corruption level.

Georgia, with a population of 5,100,000, is second in South Caucasus
for the amount of foreign debt. The country's liabilities make up
$1.7 billion or $333 per capita, according to the 2004 data.

The foreign debt of Azerbaijan, with a population of 8,100,000,
currently amounts to $1.5 billion, or $183 per capita. The country
repaid $102 million out of $143 million owed over the nine months of
this year.