The Government of the Republic of Armenia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a USD 11 million loan agreement to finance the infrastructure and rural finance support programs in seven regions of Shirak, a province in the north-west of the country. With a total cost of USD 52.8 million, the IFAD-supported project is co-financed with a USD 25 million contribution from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), USD 3.5 million from other bilateral donors, USD 10.1 million from the Government of Armenia, USD 3.5 million from the rural women and men benefiting from the project, and USD 0.9 million from national financial institutions.
The loan agreement aims to improve the economic and social status of the population by generating income growth and sustainable employment opportunities. The program will target more than 66,000 beneficiaries, with a special focus on women-headed households. The seven regions covered are Lori, Tavoush, Gegharqunik, Vajots Dzor, Sjunik, and Aragatsotn. These regions have the highest incidence of poverty in rural Armenia, but also have high agricultural potential to lift beneficiaries out of poverty.