The World Bank today summarized the financial support that it has provided to the country during the current year, and reaffirmed its continuing commitment going into 2015, both for the Government’s policy reform agenda through policy lending, and to investments in tangible improvements for the Armenian people through sectoral programs.
“Over the course of 2014, we have disbursed more than US$40 million through implementation of our ongoing sectoral projects. And next week, the large disbursement of US$75 million for our development policy loan will be released to the Government,” says Laura E. Bailey, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia.“In the first half of 2015, we forecast a higher level of disbursement each month, averaging US$5 million per month at first, and growing steadily as five new projects approved in 2014 begin working and generating visible results for Armenian families.”
As 2014 draws to a close, the World Bank portfolio includes 13 sectoral projects under active implementation.Some of the achieved results that have been possible with this support include:
- Making all-season roads accessible to 60 percent of the rural population;
- Increasing milk production of cattle and sheep by 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively;
- Tripling the share of the population using a computer within the last four years;
- Establishing the Gyumri Technology Center and contributing to the northeast region’s enterprise innovation;
- Creating 584,160 job-days of employment and US$9.8 million in wage income through 290 community infrastructure micro-projects;
- Constructing or renovating 100 healthcare facilities in rural areas;
- Supplying 200 public health facilities with a standard set of medical equipment, supplies, furniture, and medical technology;
- Renovating and constructing 10 regional medical centers with modern medical equipment and furniture;
- Implementing 337 preschool micro-projects that help over 8,000 boys and girls; and
- Supporting the connection of all public schools in the country to the Internet.
Recently, two of the five projects approved in 2014 were ratified by Armenia’s Parliament and have become effective: the Social Protection Administration Project II (SPAP2) and the Education Improvement Project (EIP). The remaining three new projects are expected to become effective early in 2015, and will join the portfolio of actively disbursing projects: the Second Community Agriculture Resources Management and Competitiveness Project (CARMAC2), Additional Financing for the Electricity Supply Reliability Project, and the Trade Promotion and Quality Infrastructure Project. These projects together mobilize more than US$170 million in support of tangible improvements for Armenian communities.
“The World Bank will not waver in its support for policies and investments that support economic growth and sustainability in the medium- and long-term,” says Ms. Bailey. “In 2014, we have been able to make important investments in many areas that matter in a direct and visible way to Armenian families, through our projects in agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, education, roads, health, energy, and social services.”
The World Bank remains fully committed to helping the country as it adjusts to the volatile regional and global economic developments and builds a stronger economy that creates jobs, which is Armenia’s long-term development challenge. Discussions are well underway between the Bank’s technical teams and the Government departments on a new round of projects that will be finalized in 2015, covering roads, power, tourism, and local development, and further support to the Armenia Social Investment Fund. The Bank will also finance the third Development Policy Operation in 2015, which will conclude the current series of policy reform support operations and set the stage for discussions on further assistance.