Armenia working on plan for diaspora bonds

Armenia working on plan for diaspora bonds
The number of Armenian Americans is variously estimated as from around 0.5mn to 1.5mn. Here Armenian American dancers (Nayiri Dance Group) are pictured in New York City during the July 1976 US Bicentennial festival.
By bne IntelliNews August 16, 2018

Armenia’s vast diaspora, estimated at 7-10mn people worldwide, is to be offered government-issued diaspora bonds, global development media platform devex reported on August 15.

The diaspora far outnumbers the impoverished post-Soviet nation’s population of 2.9mn, thus the Armenian government sees a rich opportunity to leverage the support of the far-flung Armenian community for long-term, sustainable development work.

The administration, led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, the non-violent protest leader who came to power in the spring after a people’s revolution, in May appointed Babken DerGrigorian as an economic advisor and Deputy Minister for the Diaspora. A native Californian of Armenian descent, he is pushing the plan for diaspora bonds. It’s a model that Israel and India have both used effectively, but it has been less successful in other places, such as Ethiopia, the media platform wrote.

The government reportedly expects to release a formal strategy for the bonds by the end of the year.

devex quoted DerGrigorian as saying in an interview: “We have a diaspora that is already very involved in charity, but the point is to leverage a small amount of charity intention for a much greater financial impact. These government bonds generally will be lower than the market rate of return, but still better than putting your money in a bank account. It is a win-win situation, in the sense that the government also gets access to cheaper credit on the international market, usually local currency.

“The proposition you make to the diaspora is that instead of giving away money to charity as a donation, [you can] use your charity intention to take on the risk associated with local currency bonds.”

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