Hayk Chobanyan , Executive Director of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises

YEREVAN — Armenia has become a new global platform for relocation of foreign nationals and will remain as such regardless of wars, the Executive Director of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE) Hayk Chobanyan said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Armenia, after the events of last year (Russian invasion of Ukraine), has become one of the world’s platforms for relocation of foreign nationals. We have gained a new status and this is important because relocation of IT specialists is an ongoing process,” he said.

He said this means that Armenia will continue improving mechanisms and infrastructures for relocated foreigners.

“This will facilitate processes not only in stressful situations, but also in standard conditions. This is critical for us, because this toolkit is the same as the one needed for professional immigration and repatriation, which is of strategic importance for Armenia,” he said.

Chobanyan stressed that relocation of foreign IT specialists to Armenia last year resulted in the emergence of an unprecedented number of startups.

Chobanyan called for more effective cooperation between the government and the IT sector. “We are in a state of war, psychological war, information war, cyber war,” he said.

According to Chobanyan, today the cooperation between the Armenian government and the IT sector is very weak, but ideally it should be not only strong, but also institutional.

“There should be more platforms where IT is involved in monitoring or troubleshooting. Why is the development process of these platforms not proceeding? This is a problem of trust, a problem of competence, a problem of a culture of cooperation. We cannot put everything on the shoulders of the government; but without the direct participation of the state, the programs cannot be effective. This is work that we do: but we do it poorly, as the results are very bad. There is no healthy dialogue with the [Armenian] state agencies on this topic,” said Chobanyan.

According to him, the strengthening of cooperation between the Armenian government and the IT sector is one of the main tasks in 2023.

Also, the UATE chief noted that the production capacity of the military industry in Armenia today is far from satisfactory from the point of view of solving security issues.

“Finally, we see the great involvement of the private sector in the military-industrial complex, and this is unprecedented compared to last year,” he said, noting that the 2020 war and everyone’s sense of responsibility had a very serious emotional impact on the settlement of the problems after the war. “But mechanisms are needed for that,” he added.

Chobanyan stated that it is necessary to create investment funds, hold discussions, coordinate all that, and take a number of other steps. According to him, the amount of this work should increase very quickly.

“There is a problem of a high level of bureaucracy, which should not be. When you see the existing bureaucracy in the military-industrial complex regarding state funding, you realize that this system can only harm the development of the military-industrial complex. New mechanisms, new systems, freer, special technological directions are needed [in Armenia].

The military-industrial complex is the same engineering, IT, electronics, etc. Therefore, a liberalized approach should be applied to the sector, including the military component, as it should have an appropriate regimen. The quality here is very low. Together with the government, we must solve this problem. This means overcoming the problems of trust or lack of trust, increasing the level of professionalism, introducing various formats of cooperation,” added the head of the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises of Armenia.

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