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August 16, 2002

ACNIS Hosts Roundtable on Armenia's Banking System and Issues of Financial Policy

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened a seminar on “Armenia's Banking System and Issues of Financial Policy.”

ACNIS research director Professor Tatoul Manasserian delivered the opening address on “The Issues and Developments in the International Monetary System: Correlations between Euro and Dollar.” “Today Armenia seems to have adopted a policy of economic development different from generally accepted standards. It has, from time to time, changed not only some key components of economic policy, but also the pivotal objectives of reforms,” he said.

Tigran Sargsian, chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, presented his keynote paper on “The Current Banking System in Armenia: Achievements and Challenges.” He introduced the development paradigm for the Armenian banking system. Speaking about its challenges, Sargsian focused primarily on stimulating international investments, enhancing management of the banking system, and fighting against money laundering and financial terror. He also pointed out the fact that most citizens do not trust the banks. “On the other hand, many people think about receiving but not paying off their loans. So in Armenia it is risky business to make investments in this realm,” Tigran Sargsian added.

The 50 participants around the table, representing government agencies, local and foreign commercial banks, and insurance companies, put forward suggestions on overcoming the obstacles to improvement of the banking system and stressed the importance of new approaches for working out and implementing more flexible and efficient financial policies in Armenia.

The formal presentations were followed by a full and stimulating exchange among ACNIS founder Raffi K. Hovannisian, prime ministerial adviser Ararat Gomtsian, deputy Minister of State Property Ashot Markosian, “Sed Marsed” executive director Tigran Jrbashian, HSBC Armenia branch manager Charles Gregory, Armenian Businessmen's Association chairman Hovsep Seferian, National Citizens’ Initiative (NCI) councilmember and dean of the economics department at Yerevan State University Dr. Haik Sargsian, policy specialist Samvel Shahinian, economist Edward Aghajanov, and others.

ACNIS research director Tatoul Manasserian summed up the day’s deliberations.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking, and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2002, the Center will focus increasingly on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical public and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information, please call (37410) 27-16-00 or 52-87-80; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am.

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