Australia Entering Armenia

More Sheep Farms in Armenia

It seems like anything goes in these days of global investment opportunities. Indeed, in a recent news report from Arka, the Armenian Development Agency (ADA) will be privy to a new investment program by a (yet to be named) Australian company. By next month, this will enable the set-up of sheep-breeding farms there, with a capacity of 5,000 sheep. This will take place in conjunction with regional administrations in Armenia and a “territory for building the farms will be defined.” The main goal of this program will be the “farming of genetically traditional semi-stiff-haired types of sheep in Armenia.”

Australia: Armenia’s Auxiliary

So what does Australia have to offer Armenia? According to the ADA’s General Director, Robert Harutyunyan, the Australian company is going to “introduce a standard plan of a sheep-breeding farm in the investment package,” and that later on, there will be a defining of territories for farms through the regions.” ADA’s main aim is to finally eliminate “old soviet standards,” and thereafter develop “new sheep-breeding farms in accordance with international standards.”

Additional Armenian Investment Opportunities

But that is not all. At the moment there are also a few other potential investors hailing from CIS and Arab countries that are looking into these projects with interest and are seeing Armenia as a good place. Plus it seems sheep farming is on the rise since figures for last year showed that “customs cost of 135 thousand sheep increased by 56% making about $14 million compared with 2009.” In addition, according to Harutyunyan, a cheese company in Armenia is looking into expanding its export volumes this fall, following its successful 5 ton export to Russia a few months ago.

Indeed, “if supply exceeds demand here in Armenia, greater volumes may be sent outside.” Forecasts suggest that such supply may indeed “exceed demand by 10 to 20 percent.” Russians like Armenian cheese, and according to another related Arka article, “the Armenian Cheese company was set to export 120 to 140 tons of cheese in Sept-Oct 2010 to Russia and 80 tons to the United States. However, nothing like that happened, since cheese prices jumped in Armenia, and it was decided to refrain from exporting cheese and postpone these plans for 2011.”

Armenian Investment is Working

Increased Investment Opportunities for Armenia

Good news for Armenian investments. According to the country’s parliament chairman, Hovik Abrahamian, attempts are being made to push for investments in the transport and energy sectors throughout the BSEC countries.* As well, the greater cohesion between BSEC member countries, the better for all, especially since this is the current goal of the National Assembly of Armenia. This is bound to lead to an increase in investment opportunities for the country.

Armenia Develops Iranian Energy Cooperation

When Armenia attempts to work with Iran, according to Armen Movisyan (the former country’s Energy Minister), around 80 percent of cooperation between the two countries comes from the energy sector, at an estimated volume of $450 million. If a third transmission is built and a hydroelectric power plant on Araks River, this will further connect the two countries which could also ultimately lead to the goal of establishing a “North – South” transport corridor.

Armenia and Energy Security

According to Sevak Sarukhanyan (Armenia’s Deputy Director of Noravank Foundation), “energy security is the most important issue for Armenia, as the country was probably the first state in CIS and the post-Soviet area to be hit by a severe energy crisis.” The two factors that basically led to this crisis were the closing of the Metasmor nuclear power plant in the late 1980s and the shifting of the country’s energy production to thermal power plants utilizing natural gas and fuel oil.

So it does seem today that there is much work to be done in terms of political and economic cohesion between Armenia and other BSEC countries, as well as Iran. At the end of the day – political affiliations and aspirations aside – most countries want the best for their citizens and that usually means working with neighboring countries to acquiesce the best investments.

*Established in 1992, the BSEC comprises Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine with Austria, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia, France, the Confederation of European Energy Charter and the International Black Sea having observer status.

Boosting Armenia’s Economy

<h3>Persian New Year Celebrations Boost Armenian Tourism</h3>
There’s nothing more proactive than a big party to get things moving.  And that’s exactly what’s been happening to the economic situation in Armenia, spurred on by the Norvuz’ two-week Persian New Year celebration.  It is expected that the streets of Yerevan will attract tons of Iranian visitors who will be enjoying “a different culture,” nightlife and entertainment that they are not accustomed to in their home town.
It seems that if you are looking for a place to party, you should look no further than North Armenia.  At least, that is, if you are an Iranian who has been deprived of such fun for way too long.  Indeed, for the last three years, liberal-minded Iranians have visited the region for the mega Norvuz’ celebrations that are prohibited in their home country.  There they can enjoy alcoholic beverages and pop music concerts, which are outlawed in Iran.  It is expected that the 7,000 seat Hamalir arena will be packed to capacity, but for the festivities a staggering 10,000 visitors are anticipated.  According to Sabeh (an Iranian tourist), the reason for this peak in the country’s tourism during this time is simple:  “In Iran, they have restrictions on wearing clothes and we have no fun. I hope to have fun here.”
<h3>Armenian and European Relations Get a Boost</h3>
Currently Armenia’s government is putting in a program of reforms.  With this, according to Tigran Sargsyan (the country’s Prime Minister), major assistance will be given from the European Union as there is tremendous potential for the establishment of bilateral relations between Europe and Armenia.  In addition, the EU’s role will be strengthened with this as well as European values.  According to experts in the field, this is quite a historical precedent, being the first time ever that Armenia has invited the EU to replace Russia on such a level.  As well it seems that those in Armenia see them as priority issues “which is important for the development of business and investment spheres.”

So with all the Armenian celebrations set to take place and improved communications and negotiations with the European Union, this part of Asia looks like it has a good chance of developing its economy and investments in the very near future.  Things are looking up for Armenian culture and finances.