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Enabling Business Environment and Private Sector Mobilization: Armenia, Yerevan Municipality; Economic Programs for Refugees

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Jan 21, 2019 / 0 Comments
 

Yerevan Municipality implements economic programs aimed at enabling the business environment through the economic integration of Syrian businessmen in the local context, together with social activities for housing of refugees and education programs for young Syrians.

 

 

Lead Authority or Organization: Yerevan Municipality

Area: Yerevan, Republic of Armenia

Beneficiaries: Young Syrian refugees, Syrian women, businesses directly benefitting from the program

Timeline: 2012 - Ongoing

Human Resources: Staff from the Armenian Government, Ministry of Diaspora, Municipality and local community

Sources of Funding: Armenian Government

 

 

Context & Challenge

 

Since the escalation of the war in Syria, Armenia began receiving Syrians, mainly in the capital of Yerevan. The Armenian Government and Yerevan Municipality implemented social programs for housing Syrians, as well as programs within local schools and pre-schools for the continuous education of Syrian children.

 

As Syrians noted a different culture for doing business in Armenia, the Armenian Government and Yerevan Municipality decided to also establish training programs, assistance, and a better business environment to help Syrians’ economic integration in the Armenian business climate context.

 

 

Actions & Reported Results

The project went through the following steps:

  • Housing: The program provided housing solutions for Syrians in Yerevan through state budget funds.
  • Training programs:The training program focused on economic integration of Syrians and how to do business in Armenia (business registration, obtaining licenses, marketing), helping Syrians to understand the Armenian business environment. It was designed and delivered by the Yerevan Municipality.
  • Enabling business environment: The industrial zone in Yerevan (1,400 m2) was allocated for free by the Armenian Government for Syrians to organize their businesses. In addition, an administrative office and an info hub will be established inside the industrial zone to provide legal services, accounting, marketing and other services to Syrians doing business in the industrial zone and throughout Armenia.

 

Reported Results

  1. Improved business environment. The project supported a better understanding of the business environment and facilitated business development for Syrians in Yerevan.
  2. Increased refugee socio-economic inclusion and sustained livelihood. The project assisted Syrians with housing, training opportunities, and a physical space to organize their businesses.

 

 

Evidence & Beneficiary Feedback

Results and outcomes are regularly published by the Armenian Government. The Municipality Reports can be found at the webpage of the Yerevan Municipality:
http://www.yerevan.am/en/

 

Beneficiaries comprise 1,200 families with secured housing, with 7,119 Syrians trained on social and economic integration aspects in Armenia. In addition, businesses already located in the industrial zone donated by the Armenian Government in Yerevan benefited from the program. The program is ongoing, and beneficiaries are increasing steadily.

 

 

Lessons Learned

 

Challenges & Risks

A challenging aspect was for the Yerevan Municipality to design and implement the program in a way that would benefit as many Syrians as possible. This posed the risk of setting a group of Syrians apart from the larger community. To avoid this risk, the Municipality targeted activities to both Syrians and locals.

 

Key Ingredients of Success

The Armenian host community was tolerant and supportive toward Syrians in Armenia. Support was provided by Armenians to help Syrians socialize and integrate into the host society. Accordingly, the host community also supported the Municipality with their trust in the success of the program.

 

Innovative Aspects

  1. The industrial land allocated by the Government is the most innovative feature, as it contributed to economic integration of Syrians.
  2. The program used education and training measures to integrate Syrian children, parents, and Syrian businessmen.

 

 

Scaling-up

 

The key approaches of this program are now being scaled up by other Armenian municipalities. Ensuring additional sources of funding beyond governmental funding would enable the implementation of a larger-scale program that could target more beneficiaries.

 

 

Collaborations

 

Stakeholders involved are the central government, the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia, Yerevan Municipality, and local communities.

The central government arranged the transfer of Syrians to Armenia, the Ministry of Diaspora was engaged in the process of receiving, registering, providing housing and social programs for Syrian refugees, in collaboration with Armenian municipalities and local communities.

During the second stage, Yerevan Municipality established social and economic programs targeting Syrians residing in Yerevan. Other municipalities and communities are also engaged in implementing the relevant components of the project for Syrians residing in other cities.

 

This post is part of a series of case-studies published in the CMI 2018 Refugees' Compendium and featuring host communities experiences in hosting refugees with relation to local economic development. The information in-here was provided by focal points in the relevant institutions, NGOs, local governments, etc

 

 

Read the story on the compendium 

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