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Initiatives by farmers, local people and businesses in Armenia to maintain and develop rural areas are growing, with the support of AFD Group. We report on two projects supported by Proparco, the Group's private sector arm, and Agence Française de Développement: one to support the agricultural sector and the other to improve energy efficiency in housing.

One third of Armenia’s population of some three million lives in rural areas. But many people are emigrating to cities, with the Syunik region in the south hard hit by the rural exodus, serving as a gateway for refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh.  Armenia is striving to improve rural living conditions and develop its agricultural infrastructure, with support from AFD and its partners.

Proparco supports the agricultural sector 

Developing the agricultural sector is also crucial to ensuring the resilience of rural areas. To this end, Proparco has been working with ACBA bank since 2020 to encourage agricultural entrepreneurs to develop their own farming operations. Founded in 1995 by regional agricultural cooperatives, ACBA Bank is the leading Armenian financial institution in this sector. 

Proparco has granted ACBA Bank a $20 million senior loan to support the growth of the bank’s loan portfolio and provide financing to SMEs and individual farmers, who often lack access to the financing required to grow their business. By taking out loans of this type with ACBA, the beneficiaries are able to finance the establishment of new farms or invest in equipment to reduce their energy and water consumption. As a result, the Armenian agriculture sector is better placed to lower energy consumption, create employment in rural areas and produce food to supply local and export markets.

The loan from Proparco is earmarked to support more than 500 SMEs and sustain around 12,750 jobs over the next few years, and will thereby contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 8, aimed at creating decent work and economic growth.