World Bank Pledges to Improve Power Supplies

YEREVAN (BBC)–Chairman of the World Bank James Wolfensohn will arrive in Armenia on June 2–the representative of the World Bank to Armenia–Oveys Saadat–told a press conference held on May 20.

He said that besides meetings with Armenian financial circles within the framework of the World Bank chairman’s visit–meetings were planned with representatives of various sections of society–in particular–with businessmen–artistic figures and others.

Wolfensohn is expected to visit the earthquake zone. Saadat noted that assistance would be provided in gathering the necessary information for selecting and defining more effective and urgent programs. James Wolfensohn will also visit Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Saadat devoted particular attention to the implementation of the credit program for the supply and distribution of electric energy. The program is in two stages–the first of which – providing the energy sector with $ 21 million of assistance–is already in place.

The aim of the program is to assist Armenia in supplying electricity at affordable prices with the aim of reviving the competitiveness of the country’s economy. A further aim is to provide the population with a more comfortable life style; according to a World Bank analysis–30 percent of Armenia’s live below the poverty line.

Saadat noted the great progress achieved in the sphere of electric energy. "After only two or three hours in the past–Armenia now has a 24-hour electricity supply." He believes that the main concern is to ensure the stable functioning of the energy sector during the next 10 years.

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