A senior official from the International Monetary Fund reportedly reaffirmed on Tuesday the IMF’s approval of the Armenian government’s macroeconomic policies and reform agenda during a visit to Yerevan.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian discussed what his press office described as an “ambitious” agenda with Jihad Azour, the director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department.
According to a statement issued by the office, Azour expressed the Washington-based fund’s readiness to assist Pashinian’s government in “making reforms a success.”
“Jihad Azour stated that the IMF supports the Armenian government’s efforts to reform the country’s economy,” read the statement.
Another senior IMF official, Hossein Samiei, also voiced support for those efforts at the end of a two-week visit to Yerevan in February. “The new government’s ambitious structural reform agenda appropriately focuses on fighting corruption, improving the business environment, and developing human capital and infrastructure,” he said at the time.
In May, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the release of a “precautionary” $248 million loan to Armenia aimed at “providing insurance against shocks.” An IMF statement said the Armenian government will draw on the three-year “stand-by arrangement” only in the event of such shocks.
“Armenia has continued to make progress in recent years in maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability and in implementing structural reforms to promote growth,” the statement quoted Mitsuhiro Furusawa, the IMF’s deputy managing director, as saying. “Economic activity has strengthened, and public debt has started to decline. Inflation is under control, the financial system remains stable, and international reserves are assessed to be adequate.”
“Nonetheless, continuing reform efforts are needed to support a more balanced and inclusive growth, by reducing imbalances, improving the business climate and strengthening governance, and advancing measures to reduce poverty and unemployment,” added Furusawa.
The IMF’s previous lending program for Armenia, worth roughly $115 million, was launched in 2014 and completed in 2017. The fund promised more funding for the country shortly before the 2018 “Velvet Revolution” that brought Pashinian to power.