Crisis reverses Armenia’s steady economic development: WB

18.11.2009 15:10
Crisis reverses Armenia’s steady economic development: WB

YEREVAN, November 18, /ARKA/. Lire Ersado, a chief World Bank economist, dealing with human development and poverty reduction issues, said Tuesday in Yerevan the economic-financial crisis that has hit hard Armenia, has reversed its steady economic development and poverty reduction rate, achieved over the last decade.

He said not only the growing poverty rate but also the missed opportunity to stop poverty’s impact on the quarter of Armenian population was a big concern.
He was speaking at the presentation of a World Bank study of poverty in Armenia and the social consequences of the global economic crisis.

According to this study, the proportion of Armenians living below the official poverty line reached 28.4 percent in Q2 of this year. The official poverty rate stood at 25.6 percent during the same period of last year. The level of extreme poverty has nearly doubled to 6.9 percent, or by over 107,000 in absolute terms, on the year-on-year basis.

“These developments are a setback for Armenia after a decade of nearly double-digit growth and reduction in poverty incidence from 56.1 percent in 1998/99 to 23.5 percent in late 2008,” it said.

Lire Ersado encouraged the government to increase funding for targeted social safety net programs and for other pro-poor spending programs, saying it should also carry on with “employment intensive investments” in public infrastructures.

Armenia’s economy contracted by 18.3 percent in January-September 2009, one of the steepest GDP declines in the world. The 2009 budget has earmarked 39.2 billion Drams to be paid as allowances to vulnerable segments of the population, by 21% up from 2008 figure.-0-


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