Armenia UAE Investment Forum highlights new opportunities for Emirati investors in Armenia

YEREVAN                                                                                                                                                                                                          22.03.2017

Under the high patronage of Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, on March 22, 2017, the Development Foundation of Armenia and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce organized the UAE – Armenia Investment Forum 2017 at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The agreement to hold the conference was reached during the RA President’s official visit to the UAE at the end of last year. The event serves to promote economic ties between Armenia and the United Arab Emirates, to provide a forum for government officials and business executives to present their vision regarding the growth of trade and investment between the two nations, and to discuss a number of investment opportunities in Armenia. President Serzh Sargsyan attended the Investment Forum. The forum brought together around three hundred participants including governmental officials, heads of international organizations and institutional funds, top executives from multinational corporations, as well as representatives of companies with foreign investments established in Armenia.

The agenda includes presentations on agriculture and animal husbandry, energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, IT & Engineering, tourism and real estate, success stories of foreign companies operating in Armenia, as well as a number of investment projects. Forum participants also have the opportunity to learn about Expo 2020 Dubai and the activities of the Armenian-Emirati Businessmen Association.

In relation to opportunities for doing business in Armenia, many presenters refer to the country’s ability to offer Middle Eastern investors access to the markets of Eurasian Economic Union and European Union through Armenia, “The Government of Armenia has adopted an accelerated program of reforms aimed at creating a highly favorable climate for foreign direct investment. Further efforts to build a highly transparent, efficient and stable business environment, legal and regulatory frameworks, and a streamlined investment facilitation regime stand high on the agenda of the Government. The UAE and other Arab countries will find highly skilled and inexpensive human capital, a liberal and open economy, and access to major regional markets through Armenia,” as noted in the presentation by the CEO of the Development Foundation of Armenia, Garen Mikirditsian.

Within the framework of the forum, potential investors, project owners and business executives from both Armenia and the UAE will hold B2B meetings aimed at developing further economic cooperation between Armenia and Arab countries.

Memorandum on Investments of USD 100 Million Signed

A Memorandum Of Understanding was signed between the RA Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources and Ocean Holding LLC. This cooperation will work toward developing the renewable energy sector in Armenia and will provide Ocean Holding an opportunity to make investments in solar energy projects.

Starting this year, Ocean Holding intends to invest 100 million USD in solar photovoltaic power plants in Armenia and operate them using the most bespoke technology available to the sector. In return, the Ministry aims to create favourable conditions for Ocean Holding. The investments will be carried out in several phases.

Follow the link for the Investment Forum video about Armenia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCkkxWmh-tg&t=172s

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan presented investment opportunities in the sectors of agriculture and animal husbandry. Potential investors were presnted with existing means of mushroom and strawberry production, vegetable greenhouses and planned bio clusters, and in particular, greenhouse farms, intensive orchards and organic agriculture. Mr. Harutyunyan noted, “As a producer and exporter of high-quality agricultural products, Armenia can become a reliable long-term partner for the Arab countries, and serve as a diversified source of food products. Favorable climatic conditions, the potential for development of organic goods, and great value make Armenia’s agriculture very attractive to foreign investors.”

Energy

The Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources Hayk Harutyunyan gave a presentation on the energy policy, electricity production structure, sector regulations and the institutional environment of Armenia. The 50-megawatt Masrik 1 PV Solar Power Plant Project was presented as a key solar energy project with compelling economics. Experts believe that there is great potential for cooperation in the energy sector, given UAE’s stated interest in developing renewable energy sources, and Armenia’s significant potential in this field. “Armenia has created favorable conditions for renewable energy; the country has invested its entire toolset to boost the sector. The Government continues to seek new opportunities to increase energy security to ensure supply, energy efficiency, new investments, new technologies, regional cooperation and a sustainable infrastructure,” noted the report on the energy sector.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

The Deputy Minister of Health Sergey Khachatryan introduced the healthcare sector’s investment opportunities and production capacities. Fountain Medical Development K&L Europe, an international clinical research operations company, presented its own success story, in which Kirit Velani, the company’s CEO noted, “The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most dynamically developing sectors, for which highly qualified specialists and an innovative approach to research are important prerequisites. More than half of the total output of the Armenian pharmaceutical industry is exported, growing by an average of twenty percent per year. The domestic market may be small, but Armenia offers easy access to the EEU, the EU and the Middle East.”

IT & Engineering

The CEO of the Enterprise Incubator Foundation Bagrat Yengibaryan presented the investment opportunities in the telecommunications and high-tech industries, the sectors’ educational infrastructure, affordable and highly skilled workforce, the presence of transnational corporations in the local market, the export potential, and the IT industry support projects declared a priority by the Government. Synopsys Armenia and PicsArt gave overviews of their success stories, Dasaran.am presented its perspectives on cooperation with UAE educational institutions, and Ucom LLC detailed its FTTH regional coverage expansion program. The presentation on Armenia’s IT & Engineering sector highlighted, “Thanks to its competitive workforce, Armenia continues to be a regional center for IT and high-tech industries. Over the past decade the sector has been one of the fastest growing dynamic sectors of Armenia’s economy, with an annual growth of up to twenty percent.”

Tourism

The Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism Zarmine Zeytuntsyan gave a presentation on the development of Armenia’s tourism and hospitality industry, its legislative reforms and investment opportunities. It was noted that the number of UAE tourists arriving in Armenia has increased threefold in 2016, compared to the previous two years. Tourists visiting Armenia enjoy the country’s favorable climatic conditions, clean air, green landscapes, a safe environment, modern evening entertainment venues, and centuries-old history. The participants of the forum wre presented with the investment projects of Noah Ethnographic Neighborhood, Art Hotel, and the Jermuk Therma Spa Resort project. “With its rich culture, world heritage historical monuments and legendary hospitality, Armenia introduces a new unique competitive tourism product to the world market. Investing in Armenia’s tourism sector is not only profitable, but it also means investing in the preservation and promotion of world heritage,” noted the presentation on tourism.

Investment projects in the real estate sector were also presented, in particular, the projects of the Al Hamra Shopping Mall, the Solar City Project, and development project of the 33rd District of Yerevan. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology presented the investment project relating to the construction of two major tunnels in the south of Armenia.