PM: Diaspora drives Armenia's economy
Published: Friday June 17, 2011
Washington - In an interview with CNN broadcast on June 15, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of Armenia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the main measure of macroeconomic activity, was formed thanks to investments and other participation from members of Armenian Diaspora.
Roughly twice as many Armenians live outside Armenia as inside. Majority of investments and remittances have come from Armenians of Russia, which make up the largest Diaspora community.
According to Forbes, Russia is now home to the richest person of Armenian descent. 43-year-old Sergey Galitsky, who founded and runs the country's largest chain of grocery stores, is reportedly worth $5.5 billion.
According to Forbes magazine other Armenian billionairs worldwide include Kirk Kerkorian with estimated worth of $3.5 billion in 2011; Moscow-born and based insurance magnates Daniil Khachaturov and brothers Sergey and Nikolay Sarkisov reportedly worth $1.5 billion each and Armenia-born real estate developer Samvel Karapetyan who emigrated to Russia in the mid-1990s and is worth $1.4 billion.
Interviewed during a World Economic Forum conference held in Austria Sargsyan also said that Armenia was hit hard by the recent economic recession because of low level of diversification in the economy. Lion's share of investments in Armenia go to communications, energy and mining sectors.
After years of double-digit growth between 2001 and 2008, fueled in large measure by investments from Diaspora, Armenia's GDP contracted from about $12 billion in 2008 to under $9 billion in 2009-10.
The Armenian government and International Monetary Fund expect Armenia's economy to grow by between four and five percentage points in 2011 and in the following two years.