December 28, 2013

Prospects for the Global and Regional Economy: IMF Public Lecture

By Valeria Sargsyan

On December 20, 2013 CRRC-Armenia in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative Office in Armenia and the Yerevan State University (YSU) organized a public lecture on Prospects for Global and Regional Economy”. The lecture, conducted by the IMF Resident Representative in Armenia Ms. Tereza Daban-Sanchez, was hosted by the YSU, and attracted students, bankers, auditors, researchers, and business people interested in economic developments and their effect on Armenia.

Overall, Ms. Sanchez presented the regular issue of IMF’s “Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia” Report. She began her presentation with a remark on relatively weak global growth, including China, Russia and other major emerging market economies, noting that global growth forecast is a subject to a number of risks, however, and mitigating these risks requires further policy efforts, mainly in the advanced economies.

She further went on with a discussion about the Caucasus and Central Asia region as the one containing both oil and gas exporters and importers thus showing reasonably steady growth rate. This stability is reflecting in a recovery in hydrocarbon sector, strong commodity prices and a firm growth in domestic demand, supported by stable inflows of remittances. However, there are some risks stemming from slowdown in key emerging markets, tightening of global financial conditions, and weak domestic institutions and accountability paired with political uncertainty. As for policy response, further efforts are needed to rebuilt buffers, as well as more exchange rate flexibility and structural reforms to spur job creation and private investment are essential, she believes.

Ms. Sanchez concluded this part of the lecture with a summary of near term priorities for the Caucasus and Central Asian Region, for both oil and gas exporters (to preserve part of the oil and gas wealth for future generation and ensure that budgets are sustainable) and importers (to create fiscal space by reining in hard-to-reverse expenditures and by broadening tax bases, Increase exchange rate flexibility to lower the risk of output and price fluctuations).

Turning to Armenia, Ms. Sanchez presented an overview of Armenian economy, existing risks, policies, challenges and obstacles as related to the CCA emerging market vision, that is a higher, sustainable, less volatile, and more inclusive growth. “Achieving the vision will not be easy, and CCA countries face many challenges along the way,” she stated. The possible policy recommendations for external/global and domestic challenges for Armenia were made, including strengthening fiscal frameworks, fostering financial sector development, and focusing on structural reforms.

The lecture was followed by a lively discussion mainly focused at the awareness and information sources and availability, regarding existing economic situation and reforms run, as well as IMF’s role and place in Armenian economic policy.

December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, CRRC-Armenia!

By Valeria Sargsyan

On December 11th, 2013, the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) - Armenia celebrated its 10-year anniversary at the Yerevan State University assembly hall with a meeting followed by a reception.

CRRC-Armenia was honored with presence of many representatives of non-governmental organizations and government agencies, academic community, international organizations, partners and fellows.  The event was also attended by special guests:  Ms. Deana Arsenian - Vice-President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, HE US Ambassador John Heffern, Minister - Chief of Staff of the RA Government Vache Gabrielyan, Dr. Aram Simonyan - Rector of Yerevan State University, Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan - Eurasia Partnership Foundation CEO.

The meeting hall was filled to capacity and created a positive atmosphere for celebrating this important yet obliging landmark. A video reflecting on milestones that dot the CRRC-Armenia’s decade-long history made it possible for guests to explore it. The two-hour celebration included various speakers taking the podium. The guests expressed congratulatory messages, words of gratitude directed towards CRRC-Armenia and acknowledgement of its past and present activities and accomplishments. Vache Gabrielyan, joining the voices, read out the congratulatory message from the RA Prime Minister and awarded Heghine Manasyan RA Prime Minister’s commemorative medal. 

Ambassador Heffern also welcomed the guests and admitted that “…it is hard to imagine a better and more productive collaboration than this one between YSU and CRRC-Armenia.” He also noted that nowadays, when politics relies on facts and conclusions, CRRC provides deep, valid and reliable data that is used by many public and private agencies.

Eventually, CRRC-Armenia CEO Dr. Heghine Manasyan introduced key landmarks and achievements of CRRC-Armenia over the last 10 years. "We, the CRRC-Armenia staff, are very proud to hear today all those words of acknowledgement and appreciation," she admitted. “There is no better time to get started again than with the coming of a significant anniversary. As we look back on our achievements over the past 10 years, including our recent establishment as an independent foundation, we recognize that these achievements have been made possible through outstanding acts of caring and a commitment from our donors, partners, users, and friends. I earnestly hope that our efforts and accomplishments have prepared us towards future goals and objectives for a bright and prosperous future. At the same time, more than just marking the passage of years, this important date should connect our high-water marks with past and present CRRC-Armenia staff members, since it is really people and relationships that matter most and keep us moving forward”, said Dr. Manasyan.

Certainly, while celebrating the anniversary, CRRC-Armenia was celebrating devotion to social science research, loyalty to the partners and friends, value of high-quality research resources, and appreciation to the donors for its achievements. It was both a celebration, with socializing and recalling, and an inspirational dispute over the present and future of CRRC-Armenia. The interactive communication illustrated what goes on now and will be going on in the future at CRRC-Armenia: groundbreaking research, valid data collection, reliable resource provision, and high-professional training, all in one as always aimed at strengthening social science research and public policy analysis in the South Caucasus, particularly in Armenia.

Follow the the event full photo report and coverage on YSU website and in the newspaper.