Armenian-American Commits $50 Million for Lori Development

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-Armenian-American businessman Serob Ter-Poghosian on Tuesday pledged to invest $50 million for the development of Armenia’s Lori Province.

Ter-Poghosian, who is the executive director of the US based "Metalprince" company, joins the growing list of Diaspora entrepreneurs that have responded to an appeal made for greater Diasporan investment in Armenia by President Serzh Sarkisian during the "Baze" All Armenian Youth Jamboree in Jermuk last week.

In his letter, Ter-Poghosian said that he and his partners are ready to invest $50 million in the development of Lori’s industry and tourism spheres.

"Currently we are discussing the opportunity of making big investmen’s in other provinces of Armenia as well," he said. "The life of our citizens living in the Armenian provinces must not be worse than of those living in the capital."

With the exception of Ter-Poghosian, the other five businessmen who pledged to invest in Armenia are from Russia. His pledge takes the total amount commited to $610 million.

The Chairman of the Union of Armenia’s in Russia, Ara Abrahamian, and the president of Russia’s Bamo holdings Murad Muradian, pledged over the weekend to invest over $100 million each in Armenia’s economy. Their commitmen’s raised the total amount of pledges made since Sarkisian’s appeal to $560 million. Last week, in separate letters, Samvel Karapetian, Sergey Hambardzumian, and Gagik Zakarian each pledged to invest in various sectors of Armenia’s society and economy.

Abrahamian pledged to invest $150 million in Armenia’s economy, while Muradian said he would invest $120 million for the implementation of housing development programs.

"I am sure that by investmen’s and business initiatives we can alleviate the social burdens of the country, create new jobs, facilitate Armenia’s economic progress and increase the country’s competitiveness," Muradian said, adding that the Diaspora needs to be more "enthusiastic towards everything that is connected with Armenia."

Last Wednesday Karapetian promised to allocate $200 million for various social and business projects in Armenia and invest another $50 million for the "implementation of symbolic projects that will support Armenian statehood and serve its future generations."

"Armenia is our homeland and despite the geographic distance a part of our soul and heart is always in the homeland and lives with the pain and concerns of our country, our brothers and sisters, lives with our soil and water," Karapetian said.

Meanwhile, Hambardzumian, who is the founder and chairman of the board of directors of the "Mon Ar" company, pledged last Thursday to donate $10 million to the development and expansion of the Matenadaran Manuscript complex.

"Irrespective of anyone’s financial capabilities our only wealth is our homeland and our only pride–our roots, and we all will be rich when we see our country flourishing," Hambardzumian said.

Zakarian, whose letter of commitment to Sarkisian came last Friday, pledged to invest $30 million in Armenia’s mining, insurance and real estate industries. Zakarian is the chairman of Russia’s "Yuniastrum" bank.

"With this letter I want to convince you in our readiness to contribute and participate in the development of our homeland," Zakarian said.

The pledges to invest what has now become a total of $610 million in the Armenian Republic come as $236.5 million in US Millennium Challenge Corporation funding has been partially frozen by Washington in what appears to be a politically motivated delay aimed at pressuring the Armenian government.

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