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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. 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 revolutionary government’s anti-oligarchic campaign and deep structural reform helped Armenia to post the highest real GDP growth rate in Eastern Europe, expanding by 8.3% on the back of 7.6% gains in 2019. However, supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, domestic lockdown, and severe trade disruptions will hurt all sectors of the economy. These downside risks will be mitigated by rising gold prices, partially offsetting overall export losses.The Armenian dram will continue to depreciate along the trajectory of the unfolding crisis, along with most emerging markets’ currencies. Import price inflation, aggravated by the supply side price gains, will lift annual average inflation close to the 4% target set by the Central Bank of Armenia.Fiscal shortfall will rise notably, due to extraordinary government spending measures put in place to safeguard individuals and businesses from bankruptcy and insolvency. However, continued “asset recovery” from the oligarchy will help to reduce public debt levels. IMF support also remains on the cards.Landlocked Armenia continues to face a land-border blockade from 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 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.
Last update: March 25, 2020

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 5, 2019

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 5, 2019

Crime

Crime levels in Armenia remain low compared to the regional average, with over half of all crime targeting property. Organised crime, while omnipresent, especially in smuggling and money-laundering operations, normally poses no risk to foreign visitors: there is only a slight collateral risk caused by feuding between rival criminal groups. The Armenian police was reorganised as a professional force fully in line with international standards only in 2003; however, its standards and professionalism still lag behind the international best practice.

Last update: December 5, 2019

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 5, 2019

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 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019