Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan participated in the 6th Pan-Armenian Armenia-Diaspora Conference at K. Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex. The Head of Government delivered a speech. Below is the full text of the Prime Minister’s speech.
I welcome the participants of the 6th Pan-Armenian Armenia-Diaspora Conference and wish it fruitful work.
The Conference gives us the opportunity to discuss the common issues that we are concerned about and plan our activities with an eye on the future and taking into consideration the lessons of the past.
First and foremost, my belief is that Armenia has a huge potential. I am convinced that we have all the chances to become a modern and progressive country and to respond adequately to internal and external challenges.
Today’s world, including Armenia, is going through structural reforms. We are implementing reforms in all parts of our country, in all aspects of life, to secure Armenia’s worthy place in the world.
That is why our reforms aim not only the settlement and resolution of today’s burning issues, but they also seek to lay the groundwork for making Armenia competitive in a changing world.
To become competitive and develop, we need sustainable, long-term growth in all lifeline areas of public life. That is why we need a sharp increase in effectiveness in all spheres, and we need fundamental transformations that can change the way we think and act.
This is our team’s ultimate goal, and we do not see any reason why we can not succeed together.
Over many centuries, we have struggled and mobilized our forces just when we felt threats to our survival… We are proud of the fact that our nation, unlike many other nations, maintained its identity and was able to develop and make achievements.
We have gone through trials, persecutions, oppression, genocide and attempted extermination … In all our troubles, our nation has never lost its self-esteem, dignity and did not give up the dream of having an independent Armenia. Our hardships are incomparable to those privations our ancestors went through.
As a result, we exist today; we have our INDEPENDENT statehood. This is the supreme value.
I am convinced that building a modern, efficacious, logical, evolving country on the basis of deeply-rooted good traditions is an inspiring endeavor that we have to unite around.
We need to ask ourselves how we can participate and how we can serve that purpose. We must ask ourselves why others can, and we not, and thus we will make a point of it.
I am convinced that today we all look forward to building a Free, Safe, Fair and Intelligent Armenia, and we have all the preconditions for it.
Today we are a 25-years-old, young, independent, victorious nation. We stand firmly by our Artsakh, guaranteeing its right to self-determination and freedom of expression, ready to respond to any encroachment at any moment.
Today we have an over 7 million-strong Diaspora. Many have stood by Armenia since its independence, representing Armenia at all corners of the globe, participating in the process of building our country in different formats. We are deeply grateful to them and appreciate this approach.
It is also a fact that some of you were objectively or subjectively disappointed. What shall we do now: feel hurt and carry on like that?
I am convinced that we have no right to be despondent, disappointed, frustrated, and disdainful to each other. It is just illogical and will lead us to a deadlock. Even if we do not have our share of sin, we all have something else we can do.
We need to straighten our back and continue building together the country we all dream about; the country that wakes up every day with firm determination to build, develop and add something new for the sake of its supreme value – the man.
We need an advanced and developed country that will have a gravitational force and will reverse the migration trends and will be able to resist such a painful phenomenon as is the isolation from the community, namely the “emigration from the Diaspora.”
On this road, we must be realistic, sincere and constructive, get rid of all kinds of illusions, we must clearly and sincerely assess the expectations and reality of both Armenia and the Diaspora.
We need to agree on our further steps and future visions, evaluate our shortcomings, look forward optimistically, work out and persist.
Everyone can have a direct and immediate role in our development and reform process, regardless of citizenship, position, profession or irrespective of how many days is spent in Homeland: in a word, all those who are not indifferent to the fate of Armenia and wish to participate in the future of their homeland.
In a few words, I would like to talk about the reforms we are implementing now, about our steps and the logic behind them.
We are convinced that successful are those countries where creative, hard-working and positively concerned individuals who generates surplus-value for the country feel themselves in demand. Our goal is to make Armenia such a country.
This is just the goal pursued in our five-year government program. At present, we are developing the Armenia – 2030 Development Strategy; we are developing Armenia’s digital agenda, without which we can not achieve growth and development; we are implementing a number of per-sector reforms.
The government is set to reform the educational system at all levels in a bid to provide the opportunity for our citizen to gain knowledge, abilities and skills vital in the modern world.
We have initiated a public governance reform, aimed at improving the decision-making mechanisms, developing the public institutions’ capacity in order to make them more productive, human-centered, transparent and inclusive. We have already initiated a number of projects that will enable our Diaspora to increase their participation in both public and private sectors.
The Government is undertaking complex measures to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judicial system.
We have adopted intolerance towards corruption; we are working to enhance the image of a public servant.
We are implementing a program of healthcare management modernization to provide better services and make the system more effective.
In agriculture, the focus is placed on intensive farming, while providing farmers with privileged lending resources – 2% loans for the purchase of farm machinery, hail-proof nets, drip irrigation systems, and others.
We have completely revised the logic of the development of Marzes and communities, focusing on measurable and pragmatic five-year development programs.
We are striving to improve the business environment, which should also be reflected in the Doing Business rating of Armenia.
We are consistently improving tax and customs administration to make business faster and more productive. The efforts aimed at making of Armenia an effective and flexible platform for business and investment will be continuous.
Armenia is attractive not only for its internal market, but also as a convenient platform to enter the larger third-party markets.
EAEU – a 180 million-strong marketplace, with regard to which Armenian businesses enjoy specific privileges;
Neighboring IRAN – a 80 million-strong market, a free economic zone on the border; talks are underway with the EAEU on having preferential trade regimes;
European Union and the USA – the GSP+ regime, which enables Armenian goods to reach the EU and US markets under preferential terms. Moreover, those agreement due to be signed with the European Union this November will deepen cooperation;
Neighboring Georgia – Free Trade Agreement.
We want our scientific and cultural figures, administrators, and internationally recognized compatriots in the Diaspora to become involved in the ongoing reforms to bring in a new culture of governance and put the knowledge and potential of our Diaspora-based best professionals at the service of our national goals.
Let me cite the fact that our compatriots who came to Armenia after the Syrian crisis have changed the service sector of Armenia with their diligence, dedication and business culture.
We are on the right path as evidenced by the following figures:
economic activity growth – 6.2%
industrial production growth – 12.7%
increase in State budget revenues – 6%, and increase in VAT – 9.3%, simultaneously the number of checks and inspections have been reduced by 47.8%
exports growth – 21.6%
imports growth – 28.5 percent, the structure of which is encouraging,
the number of visits to Armenia has increased by 24.3%.
My colleagues will talk about other figures.
We are aware that the results of the Government’s one year’s work are not enough to qualitatively change the lives of our citizens. We will continue along this path all the while developing and implementing new projects.
I am confident that we will achieve the proposed targets sooner or later through the joint efforts of all segments of the Armenian nation by expanding the scope of our commitments and making it more effective, as we have a huge advantage here. Particularly, Diaspora Armenians understand very well the kind of business environment foreign investors are looking for and can guide us in our effort. The best solution to this problem is the deepening of multifaceted cooperation. It is also crucial to discuss general, as well as objective and specific projects.
To this end, we are planning to host a large economic and investment forum next fall to discuss Armenia’s future, the vision of Armenia, present successful and ongoing projects, as well as innovative business plans in both public and private formats. We are committed to making that forum annual.
As I mentioned earlier this year addressing our compatriots from the Diaspora, Armenia and the Diaspora are two in one, representing one chain of history and a single destiny. We have responsibility for each other.
We have no other option than building a good country and having a strong and prosperous homeland. This will allow us to have a strong position and dictate our country’s interests and successfully promote them in the future world.
I wish to voice another idea and I want to be correctly understood. Any pro-Armenian cause, mo matter where it was started and who initiated it, should definitely have to be connected with Armenia by means of the aforementioned gravitational power. Without such networking it would be difficult to implement a systematic pro-Armenian activity.
My colleagues will provide detailed information on several important initiatives undertaken by the Government of Armenia. I suggest you partake in the discussion of these initiatives.
Reiterating my greetings to all of you, I wish the conference successful proceedings.”