1.What is the mission of National Interests Fund of Armenia?
Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF) was founded in 2019 with a mandate to attract foreign investments, stimulate export growth and co-finance investments in large-scale projects in Armenia. ANIF’s activities, among others, are aimed at managing a portfolio of assets of strategic importance in Armenia. ANIF’s mission is to stimulate the potential of Armenia’s economic development by identifying and developing high potential investment and business projects.
2.Are there similar funds in other countries?
Sovereign funds are a common tool for effective management of public funds. They allow for effective investment of public funds in the economy and for generating additional economic value. There are similar organizations in both developed and developing countries. In case of countries facing a number of challenges in competing for foreign investments, additional efforts are needed for attracting investments. Among others, ANIF sees its mission in identifying and marketing Armenia’s numerous competitive advantages. By participating in foreign and local investment programs, the goal of ANIF, just as in case of other similar funds in the world, is to promote economic diversification and create additional economic value while investing public funds. The participation of such funds is also a tool for building confidence for both external and internal investors towards the host country as a partner.
3.In what cases does ANIF participate in the investment program? Is ANIF participating in any investment?
Certainly, not. Armenia has committed to building a free market economy, and the market is free for investments. We engage only in those projects where investors request ANIF’s involvement. In addition, the purpose of ANIF is also to attract private investment in state-owned enterprises that are of potential interest to investors. Especially in these cases, the participation of the state may become an additional source of confidence for a potential investor.
4.Why are public funds invested in commercial projects?
ANIF does not “spend” public money but invests it in programs that have a potential for profitability and development in areas of strategic economic importance. This widespread model was chosen precisely so that a part of taxpayers’ funds work in parallel with budget expenditures in order to create additional economic result for the country.
5.What projects have you implemented so far? What are the results thus far?
Every major investment project involves thorough work that may take months, sometimes years.
The launch of a joint program together with Air Arabia on creating a national airline, announced in July 2021, was one of such projects. The details are available here. The results of a tender on another major project were announced in July. It is set to be the largest industrial solar energy project in Armenia (200MW) and investment of USD 174 million. The winner is the Abu Dhabi based Masdar, a leading renewable projects developer. ANIF participation in the project is 15%. This project is an important milestone both in terms of attracting such a large-scale investment and a recognized international company to Armenia, as well as in terms of mapping Armenia in the investment market. In addition, it is especially important that under this project, Armenia is making a big step in the implementation of such a large-scale renewable energy project, while “greening” of the energy sector is becoming central to the decarbonization goal worldwide. The discussion of further developments and more projects in the renewable energy sector is underway. ANIF is also in discussions with potential investors in other project, and the resulst will be announced as .
6.ANIF also invests in local businesses. What is the selection criteria?
As part of the anti-crisis program to mitigate the economic consequences of COVID 19, ANIF created a platform through which Armenian businesses could apply to expand business programs or receive co-financing for the implementation of new initiatives. Any decision is based on the economic viability of the project. We also require that the share of the participation of the entrepreneur is at least 51% in the joint project. Thus, we support projects in which the business is ready to make investments in a new project, or pursues expansion of an ongoing one. ANIF has already launched several such projects in agriculture, healthcare, and tourism industries. Details of some of these projects are available here.
7.How much money is allocated to ANIF for participation in investment programs?
This depends on our participation in ongoing programs and arrangements. Transparency is one of our important principles, and the relevant financial information provided by law will be reflected in the reports available to the public.
8.Does ANIF management have a stake in joint ANIF programs?
No. The management and staff of ANIF may not participate in investment programs, to avoid any possibility of conflict of interests in any area of the company’s activities.