Armenia Improves Business Climate and Internet Freedom

By Danielle Saroyan

Armenian Agenda Associate Editor

In recent reports from the World Bank Group and Freedom House, Armenia
proves it has developed the second best business climate and internet freedom
ranking in the South Caucasus, following Georgia.

On October 27, 2015, the World Bank Group published Doing Business
2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency
, an annual report measuring the
regulations that enhance and constrain business in comparison to 189 economies.
According to the report, Armenia is among the top performers in Europe and
Central Asia. Armenia’s ranking for its “ease of doing business” is 35th,
up from its 38th place last year. In comparison, Georgia is ranked
24th, Turkey is 55th, and Azerbaijan is 63rd.

In the past
year, the Armenian government has made economic reforms, leading to a more
ideal business environment. Armenia is among the 26 economies at the global
level that implemented three or more reforms. Construction permits in Armenia
improved with new streamlined procedures, building regulations, and a building
quality control process. Armenia’s economy now makes it easier to trade across
borders, reducing the time and cost for document preparation, customs clearance,
and trade inspections.

“Armenia
reduced the time and cost for documentary and border compliance for trade with
the Russian Federation by joining the Eurasian Economic Union,” the World Bank
Group report stated. “As a result, the time for import border compliance was
reduced from approximately 50 hours to 3 hours,” the report said.

In addition
to an improved business environment, Armenia is ranked as “free” alongside
Georgia in the Freedom House’s Freedom on
the Net
2015 report on internet freedom. Meanwhile, both Turkey and
Azerbaijan are categorized as “not free.”

“The
Armenian government does not consistently or pervasively block users’ access to
content online,” according to Freedom House. “The most common incidents of
censorship of online content relate to blocking and filtering of platforms and
websites by the Russian regulatory authority, which affects access to the same
content for some internet users in Armenia, since Armenia receives its web
traffic from Russia. However, these cases are promptly resolved by internet
service providers once reported by users,” the report says.

There have
been no reports of restrictions or internet access imposed by the Armenian
government, including temporary disconnections from the internet, since June
2014. On a scale of 0 (best) to 100 (worst), Armenia has an internet freedom
score of 28 and Georgia has a score of 24. Turkey and Azerbaijan’s internet
freedom declined since last year, ranking 58 and 56, respectfully.

Graphic 1: World Bank Group’s 2015 Doing Business
2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency
country profile on
Armenia.

Graphic 2:
Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net
score comparison in the Caucasus. The scale is from 0 (best) to 100 (worst).

About Armenian Assembly of America

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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