Armenia became an official donor to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) with a paid-in contribution of $1 million. The decision was made official at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., during which Mher Grigoryan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, handed over the signed IDA Instrument of Commitment to Akihiko Nishio, World Bank Vice President for Development Finance and Antonella Bassani, the Regional Vice President of the World Bank.
Armenia ratified the Government Act to become an IDA donor on March 10, 2023, only nine years after graduating from being an IDA recipient itself and four years after attaining upper-middle income (MIC) country status. The decision to join was made in the fall of 2022, when Armenia and the World Bank celebrated their 30 years of partnership in Yerevan.
“As an upper middle-income country Armenia is no longer eligible for International Development Association’s support. We think it is time for Armenia to start helping countries in need of support. This is a wonderful opportunity for Armenia to help low-income countries, on the one hand, and to express gratitude for similar support received in the past, on the other. With this step, Armenia once again, both reaffirms the effectiveness of mutual cooperation with the World Bank, as well as its agreement with the policy implemented by IDA,” said Mher Grigoryan, Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister.
The World Bank’s engagement in Armenia started in 1992, one year after the country became independent, with the objective of supporting Armenia’s transition to a market economy. The early engagement was primarily through IDA credits and stabilization programs, supporting transition reforms. Since then, the World Bank has been supporting institutional reforms and infrastructure investments in a wide range of sectors such as energy, water, and roads, as well as in education, health and social protection.
“Armenia has undergone a profound economic transformation since the World Bank started its engagement in the country, allowing it to graduate from IDA recipient to IDA donor in the span of 30 years,” said Antonella Bassani, World Bank Vice President for Europe, and Central Asia. “Systematic reforms have helped sustain stable economic growth, thereby improving the lives and livelihoods of many people across the country. In the process Armenia has accumulated important knowledge on how to reform which can be of great value to IDA recipients today.”
Established in 1960, IDA is the World Bank’s main instrument for assisting the world’s poorest countries through providing grants and zero to low-interest loans to promote economic development, increase productivity and thus raise standards of living across the globe. Armenia joined IDA in 1993 and, since then, as a beneficiary, has received $ 1.4 billion in financial support.
“Armenia joins a global community of donors that enables IDA to provide concessional financing to the world’s 75 poorest and most vulnerable countries to address their development needs,” said Akihiko Nishio, World Bank Vice President for Development Finance, who oversees IDA. “I commend Armenia for this exemplary step of being an IDA graduate that now wants to give back – a show of global solidarity and international cooperation.”
Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, World Bank commitments to Armenia have totaled approximately $ 2.6 billion, supporting 78 projects in areas targeted at boosting small and medium-sized enterprise competitiveness, enhancing human capital and equity, as well as sustainably managing environmental and natural resources.
The World Bank remains committed to being a trusted partner to Armenia and will continue supporting the country on its transformative journey towards a more competitive, green, and digital economy that provides better jobs and opportunities for all its people.