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Armenia Rated Poorly On Governance, But Improved Business Climate

YEREVAN -- Armenia is still governed worse than most countries in the world despite improving its business environment in recent years, according to a global survey.

Experts from the World Bank and the U.S. Brookings Institution have assessed the quality of governance around the world since 1996. Their latest Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) rate 221 countries and territories on six dimensions, including government accountability, rule of law and corruption.

The survey shows that, by and large, Armenia continues to lag behind most countries, though it did improve its indicators in four areas in the last few years.

Armenia was assigned the highest scores in the "Government Effectiveness" and "Regulatory Quality" categories. The latter category is "the ability of the government to provide sound policies and regulations that enable and promote private-sector development."

The World Bank and other Western donors have pressed the Armenian governments to ensure fair competition for businesses.

According to the WGI study, Armenia now boasts a higher "regulatory quality" than nearly two-thirds of the countries surveyed.

However, the current state of the rule of law and the scale of government corruption there were rated far less favorably.

The only category where Armenia was judged to have regressed since 1998 is "Voice and Accountability," which gauges "the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, association, and the press."