On the initiative of Policy Forum Armenia, an economic forum kicked off in Yerevan today with a goal to find ways to alleviate consequences of the global financial crisis. The events brought together member of Russian Academy of Sciences Abel Aghanbegyan, former president of Russia’s Central Bank Sergei Sleksashenko, former president of Turkey’s Central Bank Fatih Ozatay and other prominent economists.
“We should be optimistic. We have overcome many crises. This will not be an exception,” academician Abel Aghanbegyan said. “Crises come and go. We have overcome many crises. This will not be an exception. It will last 3-3.5 more years. We should just be stronger and learn lessons.” “Each month, the governments reconsider forecasts. There is no light at the end of the tunnel but there signs that the crisis will fade gradually. Many in Russia though that the crisis will end in 2009, however, the latest projections showed 2010 will be tensed as well. The GDP will be even lower than in 2009. Only the strongest will survive,” he said. According to him, the crisis helps reduce inflation, what is for general benefit. “Cheap money is another advantage of the crisis,” he said. In respect to CIS countries, the main leverage of crisis management, in Dr. Aghanbekian's opinion, is a small and medium business, which will help to reduce the unemployment rate, improve population's well-being, to grow turnover.
The small business is linked to introduction of innovation technologies. "Other leverage is a residential construction and usage of hypothec with cheap loans, which has a multiplicative effect, since every invested rouble brings 5 rubles," Dr. Aghanbegyan said. According to him, devaluation of national currencies occurred in many countries (reached 40 per cent in some countries) has resulted in a sharp decline in imports, up to 45 per cent in Russia, in particular. "Import has left many industries and opened new niches for domestic producers," he said. In Dr Aghabegyan's opinion, import replacement is one of the leverages of crisis management, however import replacement needs to be supported by investments, in order not to surpass exports after crisis is overcome. Besides, export needs to be diversified, and instead of only raw material to export end products. Simultaneously, in Dr Aghabegyan's opinion, innovations and investments into human brains should be encouraged. "We are dealing with reforms in education sphere in Russia, and a part of anti-crisis program is devoted to preparing highly qualified people," he said. "It is very important to remain optimistic during the crisis. We have undergone several crises and will survive in this one" concluded Abel Aghanbegyan.