BY SASSOON GRIGORIAN
The Armenian Government’s decision to establish and open a Center of Strategic Initiatives should be widely welcomed, however for it to succeed it must make smart decisions.
The Center is a public private partnership to develop and implement concepts for short and long term reforms, to further propel Armenia’s development and economy.
It is also an ideal vehicle to leverage our talent and resource pool not only within Armenia but also the diaspora.
The Center is financed by the Armenian Government, international institutions, donors and donations from the private sector. Armenia’s Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan, took the lead and made the first private donation.
It is envisaged the Center will have specialized areas to propel Armenia forward including: governance; education; technology sector; tourism; and agriculture.
The Center is an opportunity that must not be lost, and smart decisions are required.
For example, Armenia needs to pivot to position itself not only as a regional hub, but a truly global player.
As such the Government needs to consider not only Armenians from the private sector, but globally recognized business leaders to either form part of its Board, or specialized committees it may develop.
These global business leaders may have an interest to be part of such a Committee from their company’s perspective to advance the development of Armenia’s economy. Further, it will enable them to have a vested interest in Armenia’s development if they have a formal role. The Singaporean Government does just that through its Research Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), chaired by the Prime Minister of Singapore, and appoints members to two-year terms.
Another area is the technology sector. Armenia needs to think strategically about being recognized as a world leader in at least one technology area.
Israel is known as a global security technology leader. In 2014, Israel’s National Cyber Bureau estimated 10 percent of global security technology came from Israel worth USDS60 billion, six times the size of Armenia’s national economy.
Estonia which has half of Armenia’s population is already recognized as a global leader in digital e-government services. Armenia needs to specialize and be a world leader.
If you look at the technology space there are growing sectors in data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of things. In all those areas Armenia has a capability of being a leader needs to leverage its strength and natural advantage, and focus on that.
It is said “opportunities don’t happen you create them”, Armenia has many opportunities to its avail that it must create.
Sassoon Grigorian is the author of Smart Nation: A Blueprint for Modern Armenia.