handling the case. However, in March this year an INT team of investigators was in Armenia and apparently an investigation has been under way.
Today, the INT still refuses to inform GAP of how its investigation is proceeding, but on the 16th July, Aristomene Varoudakis, the World Bank’s Armenia Country Manager convened a press conference to present the newly released World Bank ‘Economic Monitoring Note’, which looks at Armenia’s economic situation in the first 5 months of 2008. Information provided in the document gives cause to believe that the unrelenting pressure GAP has been putting on the Bank for the past eighteen months may have led to significant improvements in the way the Bank is now operating in Armenia.
The Blowing the World Bank Whistle blog has provided regular updates on the action
since July 2007, and on the 26th March this year, Taming Armenia’s World Bank Beast explained how The ‘Caucuses Tiger’ was soon to have its teeth pulled out and thorns stuck in its paws - by the very people who bottle fed it from birth.
A news release on the World Bank website gives an introduction into the ‘Economic Monitoring Note’, and includes: “In the first 5 months of 2008 GDP continued to grow at a strong, although slower pace compared to 2007 as a whole. At the same time, inflation accelerated.
Macroeconomic risks have intensified due to several factors, including negative changes in terms of trade driven by high international energy and food prices, less favourable international financial markets, further concentration of growth in non-tradable sectors, continuing contraction in exports, and pervasive price rigidities in product markets”
Among a list of important revelations, the Economic Monitoring Note provides details of how, since the beginning of 2006, the Government has been using one of Armenia’s major assets to pay for gas, in order to promote privatized gasification throughout the Republic and to benefit state crony profit-making domestic heating businesses - again to the detriment of the Republic and at the cost of Armenia’s under-privileged.
The report can be downloaded in English and Armenian from The World Bank Website