High Potential Emerging Country
- Armenia enjoys important competitive advantages: well developed infrastructure, highly skilled labour at reasonable cost, a unique natural terroir, rich touristic assets, potential for renewable energy development.
- However 25+ years since independence, until very recently many businesses’ profitability hinged on informal monopolies and tax evasion. Productivity levels remain significantly low, many sectors are under-invested, and modern efficient management techniques and quality control norms are lacking.
- This creates a compelling opportunity for well-financed, well-managed, innovative and opportunistic economic players to enter the market, establish strong market positions and benefit from low-hanging growth opportunities in a number of sectors.
Market Access Opportunities
- EEU membership gives Armenia access to large regional markets, totaling 183 million people with a GDP of over $4T.
- Favorable trade regimes with EU and neighboring Georgia, a country with privileged trade agreement with EU, places Armenia in a unique position in terms of opportunities to bridge EEU-EU trade
- Armenia is well positioned to take advantage of transit trade between Iran and EEU, given good diplomatic relationship between Armenia and Iran.
- Armenia is a link in China’s Silk Road project, which connects Chinese goods to Europe; the US and Armenia recently signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, reflecting favorable trade relations.
Macro Stability and Strong Financial system
- In the past 10 years Armenia’s economy has displayed strong macro stability, with consistent GDP growth of 3%-4%, rising to 7%-10% recently.
- Armenia’s financial sector is one of the more stable systems in the region, and the Central Bank of Armenia has been successful in ensuring financial system stability through strong regulatory measures and oversight.
- Armenia’s peaceful revolution in April/May of 2018 has brought to power a younger, more modern set of political leaders who are expected to herald a new wave of economic and political reforms aimed at reducing corruption, doing away with informal monopolies and improving the competitive landscape; this is expected to open up new opportunities for well managed economic players, reduce overall country risk and encourage investments.
Diaspora Engagement & Repatriation trends
- Since Armenia’s independence in 1991, the Armenian Diaspora’s enormous investment potential has been underutilized due to a lack of intermediary institutions in Armenia that match the transparency and compliance standards required by Diaspora Armenians. Fund managers like Riviera Capital CJSC that address this concern and aim at contributing to Armenia’s economic development will assist in channeling Diaspora investments to Armenia.
- Reforms by the technocrat government of Karen Karapetyan had already increased investors’ interest in Armenia, including Diaspora Armenians; recent changes in government and the expectation for bolder reforms has further strengthened Diasporans’ interest to invest in Armenia.
- Recently, noticeable repatriation trends (Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Istanbul, Russia) are driving real estate development but also bringing in networks that catalyze trade relations and skillsets that make Armenia’s economy more competitive.
- Since its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, foreign investors have been increasingly looking to Armenia as a potential regional hub. Armenia also enjoys a preferential GSP+ trade regime with the European Union and a preferential GSP trade regime with the United States and will be a key beneficiary of the recently signed Eurasian Economic Union-Iran trade agreement.