The World Bank has downgraded Armenia’s position in its annual survey on the ease of doing business around the world despite reporting an improvement in the country’s investment climate.
Armenia ranked 47th, together with Belgium and Moldova, in the latest Doing Business survey which assessed economic conditions in 190 nations with a range of specific indicators. It was 41st in last year’s global rankings.
Armenia scored poorly in two of the ten categories used by the bank for evaluating the ease of engaging in entrepreneurial activity: “Protecting Minority Investors” and “Resolving Insolvency.” Even so, the World Bank said the Armenian authorities have “strengthened minority investor protections” over the past year. It also found improvements in taxation procedures and construction quality control.
As a result, the country’s overall Doing Business score went up from 73.2 to 74.5. “This means that over the course of last year Armenia has improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms,” the head of the World Bank office in Yerevan, Sylvie Bossoutrot, said in a statement issued on Thursday.
This latest edition of the study documents reforms implemented in the 190 economies over a 12-month period ending on May 1, 2019, one year after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his government took office. Pashinian has repeatedly claimed to have eradicated “systemic corruption” and significantly improved Armenia’s business environment.
Pashinian discussed the country’s worsened position in the investment climates during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. Economy Minister Tigran Khachatrian blamed it on what he described as a change in the bank’s methodology of measuring minority shareholder protection. Artur Javadian, the Central Bank governor also present at the meeting, claimed, for his part, that Armenia’s poor score in that category is the result of a “technical error.”