Armenia should nearly double its population, create 1.5 million new jobs, achieve a sevenfold increase in its average wage and eliminate poverty over the next 30 years, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Monday.
Pashinyan set these and other ambitious targets in a “strategy of transforming Armenia by the year 2050” which he put forward on the 29th anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
He said that every major decision of his government will stem from the strategy and will be aimed at achieving its wide-ranging goals. “We hope that as a result of this dream and these mental changes we will manage to achieve galloping development,” he said, presenting the document to a large group of university and high school students in Yerevan.
Pashinyan insisted that the document’s long time span does not mean that he intends to stay in power for the next 30 years. He said he views its implementation as a “pan-national movement” that should also guide the country’s next government.
“It’s not that this strategy must remain unchanged until 2050,” he said, adding that Armenians could amend it through general elections. He also stressed that his government is ready to consider changes in the text and will organize public discussions for that purpose soon.
Pashinyan already promulgated last year some of the targets contained in the strategy, notably the need to increase Armenia’s population to at least 5 million by 2050. Opposition figures and other critics of his administration dismissed the move as a gimmick, saying that he should instead commit himself to meeting more short-term socioeconomic and demographic targets.
The prime minister said that he had planned to unveil the strategy in April but decided to postpone that due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has hit the Armenian economy hard, ending its robust growth that began in 2017. The Central Bank of Armenia forecast last week that the country’s GDP is on course to shrink by 6.2 percent this year. Pashinyan’s development strategy says that it should grow 20-fold by 2050.