YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Foreign businessmen who attended the recent Armenia Investors Forum held in New York were mainly interested in Armenia’s information technologies and mining industry.
The forum–held May 9-11–was sponsored by the World Bank and its affiliate–the International Finance Corporation (IFC)–with additional support from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
At a press conference on Tuesday–Minister of Industry and Trade Karen Chshmaritian announced that the first group of foreign businessmen will arrive in Yerevan this week to study the economic situation in Armenia and to hold business negotiations. A second group will arrive in June.
Twenty-five business plans were submitted at the forum which was attended by 130 representatives of Armenian enterprises and organizations–130 Armenia’s from the Diaspora and 100 foreign businessmen. According to Chshmaritian–nine of these proposals refer to industry and the food industry–five to tourism–three to energy and three to information technologies. Other business plans concern the development of the transport sphere and the production of building materials.
The government itself submitted only two programs for development and investment possibilities in the mining industry and energy sector. The other programs were submitted by the country’s private sector and international organizations.
Chshmaritian stated that before the forum there were some concerns regarding the presentation of Armenia’s investment sector. However–the World Bank and the IFC considered the material presented by the Armenian side as good as those of leading foreign companies.
According to the minister–both the Armenian government and private entrepreneurs consider the available conditions for free competition and free trade with CIS countries to be positive factors for investmen’s. Among the obstacles to economic development are high transportation rates and red tape.
An Armenian-Russian business forum will be held in September to stimulate investmen’s in various spheres of the Armenian economy.