ICT Environment, Innovation policies and International cooperation report (October 2014)
Armenia historically was a High Tech "Silicon valley" for the Soviet Union with its continuing traditions. The Post-Soviet Armenian government announced the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a high priority direction for country development. In 2001, the Government approved ICT Development Concept Paper and Action Plan prepared by the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the ICT Master Strategy. Various programs have been designed by Donor organizations and their implementing agencies to make assessments, supporting the development of country ICT sector. Among these are: World Bank, European Union, USAID, NATO Science, GTZ, OSI-AF, Eurasia Foundation, UNDP, and TACIS.
The ICT policy is now supported by the ICT Development Support Council (ITDSC) chaired by Prime Minister. ITDSC has a permanently working Secretariat to act as a bridge between the Government, and private and public sectors. The Armenian Government, in close coordination and with support from the World Bank and USAID, developed the ICT Master Strategy and the ICT development implementation plan to establish Armenia as a regional ICT hub.
The ICT sector is comprised of both domestic and foreign companies generating approximately 100 million € annually. Today, the ICT industry is one of the most successful and fastest growing industries in Armenia. There are over 200 ICT companies in Armenia with a total workforce of over 5,000. Newly established ICT companies represent 20% of annual growth, on average.
The Armenian government has an ambitious national vision for ICT and supports the leading role of ICT. In recent years, the ICT sector has witnessed a major inflow of foreign investors who have located in Armenia to benefit from the talented and creative workforce pool and highly competitive wage rates. Around 63% of the industry's output is exported to over 20 countries, mainly from the USA, Europe, and CIS.
The major specializations include embedded systems, semiconductor design and testing, custom software development, accounting and financial applications, security and encryption, artificial intelligence, software development outsourcing, financial applications, multimedia design, industrial automation, Internet applications, web design and development, educational software, management information systems (MIS), computer aided design (CAD), and systems integration. Annual DigiTec exhibitions www.digitec.am and biennial scientific Conferences www.csit.am are the integrating ICT events in Armenia. In 2012 FP7 INCO INARMERA-ICT project started at the Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems (IIAP) of National Academy of Sciences to reinforce the cooperation capacity of IIAP improving its research activities in the areas of thematic priorities of the European Framework Programme.
The educational system of Armenia produces high quality, talented, trained specialists in different areas of computer science and information technologies. Over 6,800 students are enrolled in 26 educational institutions with ICT related specializations. The number of enrolled in and graduated students from ICT degrees is expected to increase in the coming years because of opportunities and benefits that the ICT industry offer to young professionals. According to the McKinsey study, the average annual employee increase of 340 students is required for a High ICT sector growth scenario.