Armenia

Country Name

conventional long name: Republic of Armenia
conventional short name: Armenia

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  • Government type:
    parliamentary democracy
  • Capital:
    Yerevan
  • Geographic coordinates:
    40 10 N, 44 30 E
  • Legal system:
    civil law system
  • Direct foreign investment – other country residents and companies:
    $4.169 billion (2015 est.)
    $4.087 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
  • Direct foreign investment – Armenian residents and companies abroad:
    $228 million (2015 est.)
    $215 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
  • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    0.9% (2017 est.)
    -1.4% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44

Background

Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman.

Turkey closed the common border with Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, further hampering Armenian economic growth. In 2009, Armenia and Turkey signed Protocols normalizing relations between the two countries, but neither country ratified the Protocols, and Armenia officially withdrew from the Protocols in March 2018. In 2015, Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union alongside Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. In November 2017, Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the EU. In spring 2018, Serzh SARGSIAN of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) stepped down and Civil Contract party leader Nikol PASHINYAN became prime minister.

The country is located at the historic cross roads between Europe, the Middle East and Asia and is located on one of the branches of the Silk Road.  The country has a population of approximately 3 million and a land area of 29,800 km2. The international airport at Yerevan is well served by flights from Europe, the middle east, and the former soviet union; and there are good road links running through the country from Georgia in the north to Iran in the south.

  • Location:
    Southwestern Asia, between Turkey (to the west) and Azerbaijan; note - Armenia views itself as part of Europe; geopolitically, it can be classified as falling within Europe, the Middle East, or both
  • Geographic coordinates:
    40 00 N, 45 00 E
  • Area:
    total: 29,743 sq km
    land: 28,203 sq km
    water: 1,540 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 143
  • Area - comparative:
    slightly smaller than Maryland
  • Land boundaries:
    total: 1,570 km
    border countries (4): Azerbaijan 996 km, Georgia 219 km, Iran 44 km, Turkey 311 km
  • Climate:
    highland continental, hot summers, cold winters
  • Elevation:
    mean elevation: 1,792 m
    lowest point: Debed River 400 m
    highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m
  • Natural resources:
    small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, bauxite

Population Overview

  • Population:
    3,038,217 (July 2018 est.)
  • Ethnic groups:
    Armenian 98.1%, Yezidi (Kurd) 1.2%, other 0.7% (2011 est.)
  • Languages:
    Armenian (official) 97.9%, Kurdish (spoken by Yezidi minority) 1%, other 1% (2011 est.)
    note: Russian is widely spoken
  • Religions:
    Armenian Apostolic 92.6%, Evangelical 1%, other 2.4%, none 1.1%, unspecified 2.9% (2011 est.)

Financial Overview

Under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics, in exchange for raw materials and energy. Armenia has since switched to small-scale agriculture and away from the large agro industrial complexes of the Soviet era. Armenia has only two open trade borders - Iran and Georgia - because its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey have been closed since 1991 and 1993, respectively, as a result of Armenia's ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Armenia joined the World Trade Organization in January 2003. The government has made some improvements in tax and customs administration in recent years. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic reforms and strengthen the rule of law in order to raise its economic growth and improve economic competitiveness and employment opportunities, especially given its economic isolation from Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Armenia is particularly dependent on Russian commercial and governmental support, as most key Armenian infrastructure is Russian-owned and/or managed, especially in the energy sector. Remittances from expatriates working in Russia are equivalent to about 12-14% of GDP. Armenia joined the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in January 2015, but has remained interested in pursuing closer ties with the EU as well, signing a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU in November 2017. Armenia’s rising government debt is leading Yerevan to tighten its fiscal policies – the amount is approaching the debt to GDP ratio threshold set by national legislation.