Armenia’s suspicious way out of deadlock
By Jamila Babayeva
Armenian Economy Minister Vagram Avanesyan is pessimistic about the future economic development of the country.
He admitted that emigration will remain one of the significant problems of the country for the subsequent 10 years.
Avanesyan made the statement while the government adopted the strategic development program for 2014-2025 on March 27.
He also voiced concern about the fertility rate in the country.
"Birth rate in Armenia is very low now. Reproduction rate is 1.4, which is the one of the lowest in the world. We hope that it will increase at least to 1.8," he said.
The Armenian government adopted quite ambitions development program with hope to improve tough national economy. Elusive goals of the strategic program are quite suspicious considering the difficult situation in Armenia reigning over the last years.
The government plans to create 60,000 jobs by 2017 and to reduce poverty level to 13 percent by 2025.
The World Bank's Country Partnership Strategy for Armenia for 2014-2017 recently indicated that the country will not be able to achieve the world average of living standards in 2025.
"The Armenian government has committed itself to tripling per capita income (set at $10,000) and reducing poverty to 13 percent by 2025, compared to the current 35 percent," the strategy reads. "This will lift 800,000 people out of poverty in Armenia."
The poverty rate in the country climbed from 17.4 percent in 2008 to 32.4 percent in 2012, the National Statistical Service reported.
"Every third resident of the country - 32.4 percent of the population (980,000 people) - lived in poverty in 2012," the report reads.
The local media reported that the item on signing of the agreement with the European Union was excluded from the strategic program, as a new item on joining the Russia-led Customs Union was included in it.
Joining the Customs Union was considered as a risk for the implementation of the program. The government has not excluded that the country will lose its attractiveness for European investors, local media reports say. "Furthermore, obstacles will appear for export of goods from Armenia to the EU countries, and the EU's budget support and investments will also reduce."
Yerevan decided to become a member of the CU, which came into existence on January 1, 2010 and signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Armenia hopes that joining the CU would save its almost dead economy. To this end, it is seeking to complete all procedures for joining the CU in 2014.