IMF OECD Forecast Robust Growth for Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have issued reports on the prospects for world economy as a whole and individual regions and countries.

The short to medium term forecast on the world economy is optimistic. Both international organizations believe that investor confidence has revived following the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Economic growth in industrial countries is expected to reach 3 percent–instead of the previously estimated 1.8 percent in 2002-2003.

IMF experts voice confidence in their report that CIS countries will register approximately 4.5 percent economic growth this year and next. Armenian GDP will grow by 6 percent in the same period. Thus–Armenia will have the second highest rate of growth following Azerbaijan–where IMF expects 8.5 percent growth. In other CIS countries growth will range between 3 percent and 5.5 percent.

However–IMF points out that the widely publicized official Armenian figure of 9.5 percent economic growth in 2001 was actually 7.5 percent. Other sources also have differing estimates of current and future growth. Lately the Economist Intelligence Unit estimated that growth in Armenia will be 5-5.5 percent–in the best of circumstances this year and next. EIU believes that investmen’s are not expected to show a noticeable increase in Armenia as political risks to investmen’s remains high. The country continues to be blockaded–the Nagorno Karabakh conflict unresolved and following the 1999 parliament shootings–domestic politics remains unstable.

However–some experts believe that it is very hard to make reliable predictions about the Armenian economy. Lev Frankman–an IMF expert based in Armenia told RFE/RL that it is very problematic to make long-term forecasts and be necessarily optimistic about a robust economy in twenty years from now. At the same time–the IMF expert insists that it is wrong to assume that current obstacles to economic expansion cannot be overcome. There are producers and exporters who have achieved very good success.

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