Photo credit: Armenian Lawyer’s Association

By Liza Lenz Jedwab, Assistant Program Officer with CIPE’s Europe Eurasia team, and Monica Nates, Program Assistant with CIPE

Until recently, democratic reform in Armenia seemed unlikely, with oligarchs maintaining a tight grip on the country’s economy and political agenda. For years, observers such as Freedom House had classified Armenia as a semi-consolidated authoritarian state. However, through massive street protests that erupted in spring 2018, the Armenian public pushed back on decades of systemic corruption and shifted the country’s outlook. In a country of 3 million citizens, a quarter million Armenians flooded the streets of the capital and other cities, pushing President Serzh Sargsian to resign as prime minister, with opposition leader Nikol Pashinian elected in his place.

Pashinian quickly put fighting corruption at the center of his policy platform. That decision was validated by Parliamentary elections in December that gave his party 70 percent of the vote. The changes are already being seen by international observers and Armenian citizens alike. Several former officials, including a former prime minister, are under investigation for abuse of power, and the government launched a new anti-corruption strategy right after the elections. After decades of corruption that led to the erosion of public trust in Armenia’s government and critically limited the country’s economic progress, Pashinian has stated that Armenia must eliminate monopolies in key economic sectors and curb corruption in the public and private spheres in order to revive the national economy and attract much needed foreign investment.

Photo credit: Armenian Lawyer’s Association

The Armenian business community has a crucial role to play as the country moves forward on these reforms. In response to this opportunity, CIPE launched its first-ever anti-corruption program in Armenia in October 2018. Together with three partners, the Yerevan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Armenian Lawyers Association, and the Corporate Governance Center, CIPE is working to raise awareness of and strengthen support for anti-corruption compliance standards for Armenian businesses. In its first phase, the program will provide anti-corruption compliance training to an estimated 100 Armenian companies, from all sectors of the economy. These organizations will also engage with the new Armenian leadership to advocate for anti-corruption reforms that attract foreign investment and incentivize local companies to lead the way in adopting compliance standards necessary to connect Armenia to global markets.

 

Related Content:

FCPA Blog – Armenia’s Breakthrough Moment Against Corruption

http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2018/8/17/katya-lysova-armenias-breakthrough-moment-against-corruption.html

Armenian Lawyer’s Association – Launch of CIPE’s “Promoting Anti-Corruption Conduct and Reforms” project

https://armla.am/en/3155.html

FCPA Blog – Armenian Businesses Commit to Compliance

https://www.cipe.org/newsroom/blog-by-regional-director-published-on-fcpa-blog/

CC Trends – Armenia is Due a New Due Diligence Report

http://cctrends.cipe.org/armenia-is-due-a-new-due-diligence-report/