June 7, 2019 - 14:26 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Shixin Chen reaffirmed ADB's long-term commitment to Armenia's efforts to diversify the economy and ensure inclusive growth on his visit to the country from 3–5 June, the bnak said in a statement.
Chen, who was on his first visit to Armenia as ADB Vice-President, met with President Armen Sarkissian; Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan; Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Atom Janjughazyan; and Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan to discuss ADB’s ongoing and future cooperation with Armenia.
“ADB’s support will reflect the needs of a growing middle-income country,” said Chen. He remarked on the importance of human capital as a foundation for higher growth, and of the government’s efforts to strengthen health care and education. Chen also highlighted ADB’s commitment to support priority infrastructure investments and the opportunities for public–private partnership (PPP). Chen said that focusing on the infrastructure and social sectors would help build institutions vital for a modern economy, and transform ADB’s relationship with Armenia as it speeds up economic development that is inclusive and enduring.
“In addition to its sovereign operations, ADB has scaled up its support to the private sector in Armenia with nonsovereign investments commitment reaching $321.9 million in 2018,” said Chen. “We note the government’s preference for more nonsovereign operations, and we seek to further strengthen the private sector in ways that contribute to infrastructure development, financial sector development, and small and medium-sized enterprises.”
ADB is currently preparing a 5-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Armenia, which is centered on support for the government’s efforts to ensure diversified growth and widen inclusiveness. The CPS is expected to focus on new approaches to project financing, reforms in health and education, and support for the private sector. The proposed 2019–2023 CPS would continue to support core infrastructure priorities, including transport, urban infrastructure, and energy, with a combination of sovereign and nonsovereign financing, PPPs, and other innovative solutions.
During the visit, Chen visited ongoing road projects to strengthen Armenia’s regional connectivity and urban transport, and a secondary school in Vanadzor, which is the first, out of 46 schools, to benefit from the ADB-financed Seismic Safety Improvement Program. He also visited the Electric Networks of Armenia CJSC (ENA), which is modernizing its distribution network with nonsovereign financing from ADB to contribute to government goals of energy independence and energy efficiency.
ADB has been working with the Government of Armenia since 2005 and has committed 31 loans totaling $1.46 billion, including 11 private sector loans. ADB also committed technical assistance grants totaling $14.9 million. As of 31 May 2019, ADB's active portfolio comprises 13 public and private loans totaling to $868.9 million.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.