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Country Reports

Armenia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The post-April 2018 government favours an ambitious reform agenda, seeking to increase government transparency. Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has led an anti-corruption campaign targeting former government officials and members of former ruling party, the Republican Party of Armenia. In response, some oligarchs have announced the “voluntary return” of assets. The anti-corruption drive aims to unlock Armenia’s growth potential. The government is pledging systemic change, including the dismantlement of the oligarchy, protection of business rights, provision of legal independence and an overhaul to the tax code. Since April 2018, investment levels have increased. IHS Markit expects fixed investment to expand further as reforms advance, especially following the historic free elections in December 2018. After an impressive 7.5% gain in 2017, Armenian real GDP is forecast to expand 5.9% in 2018 and 4.2% in 2019. The Armenian dram has weakened moderately since the April 2018 revolution, reflecting the concurrent fall of the Russian rouble against the US dollar. The depreciation has fuelled import price inflation. However, the removal of oligarchic price controls counterbalances this and overall consumer price inflation should remain within the central bank’s 4% target. Rising labour remittances, mainly from Russia, and a projected increase in foreign direct investments are likely to boost foreign currency reserves, and narrow the current-account gap. Nonetheless, the structural problems behind persistent current-account deficits will remain for now. Landlocked Armenia continues to face a land-border blockade from neighbouring Azerbaijan and Turkey reflecting the unresolved conflict over the Armenian-controlled enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia primarily trades through Georgia, but faces growing regional isolation, driven by increasing energy and transportation connectivity between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, involving multiple oil- and gas export pipelines and the recently completed Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad. Armenia remains dependent on security and defence co-operation with Russia, reflected by Russian military presence in Armenia, which encourages foreign policy continuity. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: January 10, 2019

Operational Outlook

Armenia's operational environment is investor-friendly, especially in Yerevan, however there are obstacles including poor infrastructure, high levels of bureaucracy and wide-scale corruption. In contrast with the previous government, which resigned in April 2018 under pressure from the peaceful nationwide civil disobedience campaign, the cabinet led by the former opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan has formulated comprehensive anti-corruption initiatives. Already, foreign businesses report a considerable reduction in time spent on customs clearance procedures. Armenia's landlocked position is compounded by a border blockade imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan since the early 1990s.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Terrorism

Elevated

Terrorism risks are low in Armenia compared to the neighbouring countries in the region. Capture of the police station in Yerevan by "Sasna Tsrer" nationalist militants in July 2016 was an extraordinary event for Armenia. Much of the terrorist activity is connected to organised crime, but local politicians are also targeted with the use of firearms or small and crude IEDs being the preferred methods. The attack by the nationalist militants on the Armenian parliament in October 1999, which resulted in eight people dead, including the prime minister and speaker, was anomalous and since then Armenia has not witnessed anything similar.

Last update: December 28, 2018

War Risks

The unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in neighbouring Azerbaijan represents the key war risk for Armenia. Most of ceasefire violations occur along the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev's decision to replace regular troops along certain sections of the Armenian border with border guard units in December represents a significant de-escalatory move. If large-scale hostilities break out in Nagorno-Karabakh, as in April 2016, they are unlikely to spill over into Armenia proper. This is due to the deterrent impact of Russia's military presence in Armenia. Armenia also possesses limited ballistic missile arsenal capable of destroying Azerbaijan's critical infrastructure, which serves as an additional tactical deterrent.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Social Stability

High

Protests are common in Armenia and Yerevan is their focal point, as demonstrated by the peaceful civil disobedience campaign in April 2018, which forced Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan and his government to resign. The magnitude of these protests was unprecedented as the turnout was in the tens of thousands, paralysing most of central Yerevan. Economic protests tend to stem from local grievances and sometimes entail temporary road blockades.

Last update: December 28, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: August 22, 2018

Natural Risks

Severe

Armenia is located in a strong seismic zone, and, as such, is vulnerable to earthquakes and subsequent landslides. In 1998, an earthquake registering a magnitude of 6.8 devastated the Spitak region, leaving between 25,000 and 100,000 dead. There are reportedly over 3500 landslide-risk sites in Armenia.

The country is also prone to droughts and floods.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

Elevated

Traveling in the South Caucasus can be unpredictable and infrastructure is sometimes in a poor state of repair, particularly in the coldest months (November to February). The local standard of driving is poor; be prepared for drivers who drive recklessly and flout traffic laws. Finally, note that the route to neighboring Georgia from Yerevan, which goes through the cities of Vanadzor, Alaverdi, and Bagratashen, is closed for maintenance from September 2016 through 2018 at minimum.

Public transport is often overcrowded and poorly maintained. If you have to travel by train, secure your valuables, do not leave the compartment unattended, and lock the door from the inside. 

Aviation security standards in Armenia are acceptable.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

Armenia's climate is continental. Summers are hot and dry in the plains and winters are harsh throughout the country, brutal in the reliefs (snow from December to April). The mountains receive the highest levels of precipitation. Days tend to be sunny all year long.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +374
Police: 02
Fire Dept.: 01
Ambulance: 03

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: October 29, 2013