AmCham: Foreign Direct Investment in Armenia and Around the World

Over the past few years countries and businesses around the world have been re-assessing their strategies when it comes to where and how they invest overseas. Foreign direct investment in developing countries has been steadily increasing over the past ten years. This is despite the decline in overall foreign direct investment globally. Developing countries, despite the recession in 00s and declining investment from developed countries, are seeing an increase in their investment coffers. This is according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Investment Trends Monitor report published in January 2019. From 2007 to 2018 FDI inflows to developing countries increased by $200 billion. Foreign direct investment to developing countries increased by about 3% from 2017 to 2018 according to the report by UNCTAD.

 

Currently, Armenia’s stock of FDI is estimated by Lloyd’s Bank to be $4.7 billion. Arka News Agency reported that in 2018 Armenia’s total inward investment flows totaled $254.3 million – up from $249 million in 2017. In a separate UNCTAD report published in 2018 Armenia’s regional neighbors like Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia experienced inflows in the billions. Despite this Armenia is still seen as an attractive place for investors. According to St. Louis Fed’s Geographical Economic Data Armenia ranks 41 of 189 countries in business-friendly regulations.

So what does Armenia offer to foreign investors? According to Lloyd’s Bank:

  • Low operating costs and low property taxes
  • Free economic zones for tech companies
  • Relaxed customs duties
  • Highly educated and skilled workforce

Foreign direct investment into Armenia mainly benefits the energy, mining, telecommunications, and tourism industries. The country has been named “The Caucasian Tiger” for these reasons. The National Statistical Committee recorded major inflows from Germany (15.6 billion drams), Cyprus (3.19 billion drams), and Russia (60.1 billion drams).      

Of particular interest to the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia has been the ever-expanding and exportable industrial sector. Over the course of 2018, for example, volume of industrial production in drams increased. From January to December of that year industrial output in drams increased from 128 billion to 1.7 trillion. News agency 168news reported that the city of Gyumri, for example, recently opened a factory producing “Made in Armenia” jeans using $2.1 million in investments. Armenia’s prized hi-tech industry has domestic offices from Microsoft and National Instruments in Yerevan.

American companies currently operating in Armenia and that are a part of AmCham include: American University of Armenia (AUA), Armenia Marriott Hotel Armenia, British American Tobacco Armenia, Cisco Internetworking LLC, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company CJSC, ContourGlobal Hydro Global Cascade CJSC, Deloitte Armenia CJSC, DHL in Armenia, Doubletree by Hilton Yerevan City Center, Enterprise Rent-A-Car/J.M.S. LLC, Fedex/Transipex, Finca Universal Credit Organization CJSC, Help Systems/HS Internationals, Hyatt Place Yerevan, Mentor Graphics a Siemens Business, Microsoft Armenia, National Instruments Armenian Branch, Philip Morris Armenia LLC,  SEAF (Armenian Representative Office of SEAF Management LLC), Synopsys Armenia CJSC, and Workfront Armenia.

American companies that are a part of AmCham and that are Gold Members include: Ameria Group of Companies, Aregak UCO, Armenia Marriott Hotel Armenia, Dom-Daniel LLC, Ernst and Young CJSC, JTI Armenia CJSC (Japan Tobacco International), and Sanitek International.

Armenia has much to offer foreign direct investment projects and firms. At the crossroads of east and west Armenia can provide companies with a window to the rest of the world.