At a glance
The Office's economic-activities portfolio covers a wide range of activities that focus on establishing good economic governance and economic security in Armenia. Activities take place at both the national and local levels in order to provide a comprehensive approach to supporting economic development in Armenia.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are a very important component of economic security: they provide economic diversification and a variety of employment opportunities for people with varied backgrounds and skills. The Office focuses on SME support especially in the Syunik region of Armenia, where the OSCE has a programme implementation presence. The Office also supports the Finance Ministry in its efforts to detect and analyse cumbersome procedures that inhibit the development of SMEs. For example, the Office provides experts to propose changes to procedures that could alleviate any identified problems. The Office is also part of a high-level SME Support Council that is chaired by the Prime Minister and champions reforms aimed at the simplification of administrative compliance procedures for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Office also supports the establishment and functioning of a multidisciplinary working group under the Council by providing high-level expertise on tax and custom administration issues.
The Armenian Government, with the support of a donor consortium led by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, recently launched a programme of systemic reform to improve national competitiveness by updating its regulatory policies and policy instruments to stimulate market-driven growth. Armenia is highly regulated, with over 25,000 legal norms on the books at the national level, and more added every week. Many of these norms are sensible and well designed, but there are contradictions, inconsistencies, and complexities throughout the legal framework that are burdensome for citizens and businesses, and that discourage investment in Armenia.
The main goals of the regulatory reform is to substantially reduce the costs and risks of regulations affecting businesses and citizens by simplifying or abolishing unneeded rules and regulations, hence also reducing corruption risks and business uncertainty resulting from complex and discretionary procedures. This reform will ultimately result in a better business environment and lead to an increase in foreign direct investment and the creation of jobs in Armenia.
The Office provides assistance to the government with the development of regulatory impact assessment tools in order to help Armenia streamline its regulatory framework. Furthermore, the Office is advocating for the prioritization and institutionalization of the Better Regulation Agenda initiative, which will build capacities and improve the institutional set-up of agencies overseeing Armenia’s business-enabling environment. Prioritization of activities is based on the recommendations developed as a result of assessment visits by an international experts and through interviews with high-level government officials. The Office will also continue to play a key role in co-ordinating efforts of international development actors through its co-chairmanship of the Donor Coordination Group on Competition and Private Sector Development.
Opened in 2006 in Kapan, the centre of Syunik province, one of the key objective's of the programme implementation presence is to contribute to sustainable development in the region and to reduce poverty by fostering private entrepreneurship in rural areas and protecting the environment. So far, the presence has carried out several needs assessments and analyses of the prospects for economic development in the province's rural communities. In addition, the presence has co-operated with private companies and local authorities to identify viable business ideas, and it supports entrepreneurs in setting up businesses.
Given the fact that the presence has a mandate to contribute to local socio-economic development in the region, it focuses on private-sector development and building local capacities in the region as a key response to sharply increased economic and social vulnerability due to the recession in the mining sector.