Vice-Premier Tigran Avinian has reaffirmed his government’s vision of Armenia’s strategic goals for the next three decades or so that were outlined by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian earlier this week.
Speaking at a rally in the Nagorno-Karabakh capital of Stepanakert on August 5, Pashinian, in particular, said that increasing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) 15 times should be among the “mega goals” of Armenian governments in the period until 2050. He also said that the country’s population by then should grow from today’s 3 million to 5 million.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Friday, Avinian said that in order to meet the GDP growth target by 2050 Armenia’s economy needs to annually grow by 9.5 percent on average, which, according to the official, is quite doable.
“If corresponding efforts are made what today seems unrealistic will become possible in the very near future,” said Avinian.
Armenia’s economy expanded by 5.2 percent in 2018. The International Monetary Fund predicts a 4.5-percent GDP growth for Armenia this year, while the country’s Central Bank expects the Armenian economy to grow between 4.6 and 6.1 percent in 2019.
Vice-Premier Avinian, meanwhile, expressed confidence that Armenia will be able to get on track for fulfilling the ambitious goals through reforms to be carried in the coming years.
“I think that with in-depth reforms and overall budget revisions in the next few years these existing inertial approaches will be completely changed, and in particular with the introduction of an inclusive economic growth model, with the expansion of education and healthcare services when we will be working to develop the human capital, I am sure it can’t but yield its serious results in the future,” he said.
“Perhaps it won’t happen in the next few years, but after that when some deep changes are made in the system of education, science, in the sphere of high technologies, healthcare, I am confident that this can’t but yield some serious results,” Avinian added.
Earlier, some economists voiced skepticism over the government’s vision of its future goals.
Economist Bagrat Asatrian, who served as governor of Armenia’s Central Bank in 1994-1998, for instance, said that in order to expand its economy 15-fold by 2050 Armenia will need to dramatically accelerate its growth rates.
“At the current rate of growth we will at best quadruple our GDP in 30 years’ time,” he said.
Anticipating skeptical assessments by economists and analysts, Pashinian stressed in his speech on August 5 that after achieving “the impossible” during the 2018 “velvet revolution”, Armenians are no longer interested in “what is possible.”
“What is possible to implement is no longer interesting for us. We are interested in what everyone considers to be impossible to realize. Because the Armenian people have already realized what is impossible!” he underscored.