Examining investment prospects for a remote Syunik region of Armenia is the main objective of a three-day forum organized by the Syunik regional administration with support from the OSCE’s Programme Implementation Presence in Syunik, which began today.
The Syunik region is situated in the south of Armenia and is heavily dependent on the mining industry. The goal of the forum is to present non-mining investment opportunities to private investors and the donor community. It is hoped that new investments will diversify the region’s economy by creating jobs and income in alternative industry sectors.
“OSCE is strongly committed to helping the Government of Armenia diversify the economic development opportunities in Syunik region and minimize economic security risks. The first investment forum and economic diversification plan that we helped prepare last year, as well as assistance that we have channeled through our partner organizations, will help to address this important issue,” said Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
A number of thematic sessions will take place during the forum which is being attended by high-level representatives from the central and local government, diplomatic missions and private businesses. Themes include developing agricultural production, food processing sectors, and tourism opportunities. Mr Felix Kumi-Ampofo, an OSCE expert from the United Kingdom, introduced economic development modeling as a tool for investment promotion to the participants of the event.
Vahe Hakobyan, Syunik Region Governor, added: “Syunik region has underutilized competitive resources in agriculture, tourism and processing that can create new jobs, income and increase taxes paid to the national budget. While mining continues to be the major source of wealth in Syunik, we have a clear and committed attitude to balance this with other opportunities. The knowledge, expertise, and commitment provided by the OSCE can impact both the planning and implementation of economic diversification initiatives.”
Outside the official discussions, the event also includes a number of field visits to local production facilities, environmental projects and tourist attractions for the participants in order to provide them with first-hand information on the region’s opportunities.
Other partners for the event included Markets for Meghri Project, World Vision Armenia, “Strategic Development Agency” NGO and the town municipalities of the Syunik region.