“We intend to make Armenia heaven on earth for talented people” - Nikol Pashinyan attends plenary session at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is paying a working visit to the Russian Federation, attended the 23rd plenary meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, referred to as “Forming an agenda for sustainable development.”
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, PRC President Xi Jinping, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini, UN Secretary General António Guterres were in attendance.
Addressing the forum, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated:
“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,
President Xi Jinping,
Prime Minister Pellegrini,
Secretary General Guterres,
I will start my speech with the traditional remarks of appreciation for organizing this meeting and for the opportunity to share thoughts about our country’s development paths and the steps taken by our government on the way to achieving the proposed goals.
Today, Armenia is experiencing an important period in its modern history. Against the background of political stability and an unprecedentedly high degree of legitimacy of the authorities, fundamental changes are taking place in the country.
Their ultimate goal is to create a competitive and technologically advanced economy and modern society based on the universal principles of equality, justice and the rule of law.
What is the essence of these transformations? We can state in short that they are aimed at improving the efficiency of our political and economic institutions.
Armenia is a country that has no direct access to the sea, with limited economic and natural resources and a difficult geographical position in terms of logistics corridors and the geopolitical features of the region. These challenges are prompting us to be in permanent search of ways of increasing competitiveness and efficiency. What does this mean for us?
First of all, this means increasing efficiency in the state governance system. I can say with full confidence that we have already managed to achieve tangible results in this regard.
Systemic corruption has been eradicated in the country. The activity of artificial monopolies and oligopolies is minimized. However, we faced a fundamental problem while trying to improve the economic and political environment of our country.
The judicial power, unlike the executive and legislative branches where we made tangible progress in terms of optimizing institutions, has not been subject to any tangible transformation. As a result, there was a huge breach in public confidence in the judiciary. And this, in turn, creates serious obstacles to the development of the country as a whole.
All our efforts to protect capital, create equal conditions for economic activity and a favorable environment for attracting foreign investment cannot lead to the desired result if the judiciary is not qualitatively transformed.
Therefore, the creation of a truly independent judiciary, free from corruption and political influence, is today a pressing problem for our society and a priority in the reform strategy of the Armenian government.
The second priority is the full use of the potential inherent in foreign economic relations and participation in international integration structures. Institutionalizing access to global economic centers and activity is extremely important for countries like Armenia. This primarily relates to our cooperation with the Russian Federation and participation in the Eurasian Economic Union.
We are committed to the further improvement of our strategic partnership with Russia and the most productive participation in the Union. To this end, we will make every effort to improve cooperation mechanisms and maximize integration between the members of our association. This is also true for our CSTO membership.
I would like to emphasize our interest in expanding the geographic coverage of EAEU’s foreign economic relations. China is of particular importance in this respect. I am pleased to note that for a month now, we have achieved a high dynamics in the development of bilateral relations with China, which plays a key role in the global economy.
As an EAEU-member country, we see the importance of creating institutional cooperation between various integration associations and projects. I am prioritizing the idea of pairing the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt. It seems to be both logical and reasonable. I also consider as quite promising the policy of seeking closer cooperation between the EAEU and the European Union. I feel that such cooperation is feasible and even inevitable if not in the near future, but at least in the medium term.
Armenia has signed an enhanced partnership agreement with the EU, which we intend to use with maximum efficiency for the design and implementation of reforms in our country. Partnership with the EU in no way contradicts our membership of the EAEU. They are complementing each other and enriching our capabilities with new comparative advantages.
The third priority is the most effective use of human resources. Human capital is our core asset. Our government seeks to create favorable conditions for full development of our citizens’ creative, intellectual and business potential. We intend to make Armenia heaven on earth for talented people.
We see the future of Armenia in the development of an innovative economy. It has no alternative for a country like Armenia. The technological sector is a top priority for us. Education in this regard is of particular importance. Armenia inherited a strong school of physics and mathematics from Soviet times, and today we are doing everything possible to consolidate and use this potential.
Over the past seven years, the IT and high-tech sectors have grown fivefold in Armenia. They have become the drivers of Armenia’s economic growth and most promising industries.
Education and innovation, cooperation and integration, the rule of law and good governance are what we believe to be our competitive edge, which will help us tap our resources and provide conditions for sustainable economic development.
We think that we have already embarked on this path, because in the first quarter of this year, Armenia recorded a GDP growth of 7.1%, while the economic activity index rose to 9.2% in April.
International business is invited to invest in Armenia. We have even formulated a motto for potential investors: we invite them to get richer and enrich our country.
Prior to the plenary session, Nikol Pashinyan toured the stands of an exhibition organized as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The Premier got acquainted with the achievements of participating companies.
During the tour, the Prime Minister was interviewed by Euronews, RIA Novosti and CGTV.