Questions about the Armenian economy

There is some impressive growth in the Armenian economy, the Armenian Economist (of course 🙂 ) says:

[…]Armenia’s economy has grown at double digit rates over the past five years. Construction activity accounted for much of the recent growth in the economy (see recent post). Changes in the underlying trend in construction activity and its composition over the past decade, however, may foretell further growth and expansion in the economy.[…]

However, there are questions the blogger says, and no one seems to be answering them, like: “Do we know of any studies on how labor markets are impacted by this? Also, has anyone explored the effects on future growth?” (The Armenian Economist)
iArarat has some answers about the Armenian economy – “Emigres are Armenia’s version of Oil”, the blogger hints by republishing extracts from this AFP article:

[…]One key to salvation has been a diaspora estimated at almost nine million people scattered across the United States, Russia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Their donations and transfers to Armenia amounted to 1.2 billion dollars (900,000 euros) last year, an impressive chunk of the country’s 6.5-billion-dollar (five-billion-euro) GDP, economist Tigran Jrbashyan
said. “Emigres are Armenia’s version of oil.”[…]

Kornelij Glas has drawn attention to the “pointless and aggressive” competition between the mobile phone operators in Armenia (VivaCell and Armentel) as a result of which the corporate tariffs of Armentel mobile have declined 8 times. “How far below are we going?” Kornelij asks with pessimism, although it’s hard to see from his post what is so bad about having cheaper mobile service.
If competition is bad, monopoly is decidedly worse, especially natural monopolies like water provision. Raffi K. from Life in Armenia is “Waterless”:

[…]A stark reminder of this pain in the ass of life in Armenia. I am waterless today. I hate that such a simple thing, something you’d never think about in the US, and something so essential, can remain a problem for so long. They been 24/hr promising water for a good 6 years now… and not even an improvement in hours so far as I can tell.[…]

How about setting up some competition in the sphere? Right! I guess I got a little bit carried away… 🙂

Parliamentary Election Monitor

Via CRD / TI Armenia Election Monitor 2007:

Writing for RFE/RL, US-Armenian analyst Richard Giragosian says that the pressure is now on for the May parliamentary election to be considered free and fair by the international community. Moreover, Giragosian argues that the conduct of the vote will determine the country’s place in the region as well as impact on its declared intent to integrate into European structures.

If the ballot proves to be only the latest in a series of flawed and tainted elections, the international response is likely to be both serious and swift. And in that case, the elections will go down in history not just as another lost opportunity for the development of real democracy in Armenia, but as a move toward further regional isolation.

 […]
Yet, while most analysts agree with such a reading of the situation, many remain skeptical that the political will to hold democratic elections exists. Instead, critics point to actions aimed at restricting the activities of the opposition which have become a standard feature of elections in Armenia in recent years, and which are seemingly once again being repeated.
[…]
Meanwhile, given the posters and banners now on display even though the official campaign period has yet to start, RFE/RL’s Press Review quotes the pro-government Hayastani Hanrapetutyun newspaper as saying that the Yerevan Municipality is already concerned about how such adverts will be removed when the election is over.

Read the full post here.

Driving in Yerevan

Bekaisa has a lively post about driving in Yerevan:

By the way – driving has become better. This is primarily because they removed GAI [the street patrol] from the streets, and secondly, although this may sound paradoxical, because of the [increased] number of cars. On all major streets of the city, in daytime especially, you have to drive calm and slow no matter how fast you want to drive. There is just no other way :)))

Bekaisa also notices, that there are now authomatic car-washes in Yerevan, one of those, where you seat in the car and drive through, while the car is being wash.

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