AZG Armenian Daily #109, 15/06/2005


Economy

ARMENIA WILL JOIN COUNTRIES WITH AVERAGE INCOME IN 1-2 YEARS

^_Representative of WB Assures

At the press conference at World Bank's Yerevan office yesterday Shigeo
Kazu, vice-president of WB European and Central Asian region, said
that Armenia will join countries with average income in 1-2 years. But
before this, he said that his last visit to Armenia was 3 years ago
and that he has noticed obvious progress since then. In particular
he pointed out the increase of Armenia's gross domestic product. The
WB representatives said that Armenia was in the list of states that
had the best cooperation with the WB in the period of 1993-2002.

Shigeo Kazu highlighted the elaboration of long-term projects with
the Armenian government that will enable to bring new investments
including ones directed at development of infrastructures. As to the
external debt, our country does not have serious problems in contrast
to the situation a few years back when the external debt of Armenia
equaled to the 50 percent of GDP. Now it amounts only to 35 percent
of GDP. Armenia reached the indices of 1989-1990 with its per capita
distribution of the gross domestic product. Kazu noted that Armenia is
more prepared to compete in the world market today than it was in 1989.

The WB representative thinks that reforms in neighboring Georgia
have launched only lately, after the rose revolution. Now Georgia
is trying to catch up with Armenia and may well do that using its
capacity for transits.

Azerbaijan has just entered a period that will last 12-15 years and
during whish the country will mobilize its oil resources.

Roger Robinson, head of the WB Yerevan office, dwelled on the projects
of the WB implemented in Armenia. He informed that the WB carried
out 4 projects during the last 4 years with an overall cost of $70
million. In the coming financial year the World Bank will carry out
4 more projects on $60 million. For the project in the forthcoming 4
years the Bank will spend $220 million. As Robinson put, Armenia now
gets those resources as it maintain good cooperation with the WB. He
also noted that the Bank is involved in all spheres and there is no
need to direct finances only for one specific sphere.

Asked about the economic importance of open Armenia-Turkish border,
the WB regional vice-president said that it is very difficult to
separate economy from politics. That issue, he thinks, is more to
the politicians to solve than to the World Bank.

By Ara Martirosian