This paper analyzes factors that determine recent economic growth in the low-income countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.2 The main findings are as follows: (1) productivity gains in export-oriented sectors and expansion of exports may have become the main sources of growth in five of the seven CIS-7 countries, while in the early years of transition the output recovery was mainly driven by consumption; (2) economic growth has concentrated in agriculture and the raw material sectors, and, thus, is vulnerable to changes in external conditions; and (3) structural reforms matter for growth, which is consistent with previous research on growth in transition countries.
Armenia’s growth has picked up in 2011, led by manufacturing, mining, and services, while agriculture has rebounded from the collapse. Credit continues to grow rapidly, particularly in foreign currency and based on strong inflows to banks. Inflation has come down sharply, reflecting policy rate hikes, spending restraint, the agriculture recovery, and favorable global price developments. Challenges include safeguarding financial system stability, strengthening tax revenues to ensure sustainability and support pro-growth and pro-poor spending, improving the business environment to enhance growth and reduce poverty and unemployment, and reducing external imbalances.