World Bank to Extend New Loans to Armenia

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Since 1993 the World Bank has extended loans totaling $415 million for 19 projects in Armenia–the officer for the World Bank’s social programs–Babken Babajanian told Noyan Tapan. Among the most successful is the social investmen’s program–which is most likely to be continued. Among new projects which are currently being put underway is the "Children’s Initiative" project aimed at returning children to their families–as well as a new cultural program.

Babajanian denied the statement recently made by the coordinators of the CEE Bankwatch Network in the press that the activities of some big organizations–in particular–the World Bank–does not always meets the interests of developing countries. "The World Bank’s role in countries which are in crisis situations can be only positive–and these are the functions of the Bank," he said. Thus–to stabilize the situation in Russia–the WB expressed its willingness to allocate $700 million out of the required 1.5 billion dollars.

Babajanian thinks that Armenia is overcoming the financial crisis with minimal losses. Currency reserves and the successful monetary policy of the Central Bank played a big role in preventing a shock. In that connection–Babajanian pointed out that structural and economic reforms are the WB’s priorities. He stressed that the loans extended to Armenia by the WB are free of interest. In thirty five years–considering the global inflation rate–the real amount of loans will decrease as compared to the initial sum.

He also mentioned that loans are extended only under government projects. The projects should be approved by the Parliament and the Constitutional Court.

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