Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Yerevan, Armenia

ADMINISTRATOR SAMANTHA POWER: Minister [Mkhitar] Hayrapetyan – and let me just start by saying that the gratitude is ours, really, for this – thank you, Mr. Hayrapetyan, and want to underscore that we are very grateful to the people of Armenia, to the Government of Armenia, to your Ministry, to Deputy Prime Minister [Mher] Grigoryan, the Information Systems Agency Director, and your colleagues for seeing technology's potential to make Armenia’s democracy more responsive. I will be meeting with the Prime Minister later today and look forward to discussing this as well with him.

There is a real vision here in Armenia around digitalization, around technology, around cybersecurity. And we see in government leadership and dedication across the board to make that vision a reality. I want to thank Amazon Web Services for helping Armenia realize this vision – through the formal partnership signed between Amazon Web Services and the Government of Armenia in 2022, to begin modernizing Armenia's governance infrastructure through the work already done to better prepare Armenia's existing digital governance systems to withstand cyber attacks, natural disasters, and other crises. Digitizing essential public services in a safe and protected manner, including as we heard, by creating an app version of all the services accessible via smartphone, which will make it easier and more efficient for Armenians to access those services. This platform, I should stress, could help Armenians do things like obtain driver's licenses, procure certifications for businesses, births, deaths, or even to get emergency financial assistance during times of hardship. These efforts are a tangible example of how more transparent, more democratic institutions can improve people's lives. 

But, digitizing these essential public services will first require secure and reliable digital systems. Systems that can withstand cyber attacks, systems that are governed by clear regulatory frameworks that protect human rights and privacy for citizens. To help build these secure systems, I am pleased here today to announce $5 million in new funding to support a collaboration with Amazon Web Services and the Government of Armenia to advance digital transformation, infrastructure, and cloud computing. The Government of Armenia will harvest Amazon Web Services industry expertise to create and reform policies to bring the benefits of innovative new technologies to their citizens, while also again protecting privacy and your rights.

Amazon Web Services tech expertise will help Armenia develop ways to quickly and efficiently digitize its systems and data. And Amazon Web Services will provide critical training in cloud computing and cyber security that can help Armenia build data sovereignty – and defend that sovereignty against anyone who would seek to undermine it, all again while protecting the personal identifiable information of the citizens of Armenia. Amazon Web Services will help lay the foundation for a government that can use technology to more effectively meet the needs of its citizens. And the legal and regulatory reforms associated with this initiative could bring more international business to Armenia. This in turn, of course, will create more jobs for Armenian communities and help families grow their incomes. 

USAID funding for this initiative will come from the Enterprises for Development, Growth and Empowerment Fund, something we call the EDGE fund – funding is specifically designed to harness the power of the private sector to solve major development challenges. This collaboration between Amazon Web Services and Armenia is exactly what we had in mind in creating this Fund. It is a powerful example of what can be accomplished from the politics and private sectors joining forces when we combine our knowledge, expertise and resources towards a shared goal. 

Together in doing here today, the right thing in the right place at the right time, we can help Armenia build a forward leaning, efficient and enduring democracy that serves the needs of its people. Thank you so much.

Administrator Power Travels to Armenia - July 2024


Administrator Samantha Power traveled to Armenia from July 8 to July 11 to affirm the United States' deepening partnership with Armenia, highlight USAID's support for the Government of Armenia's reform agenda, and advance efforts to enhance Armenia's resilience.

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