Every so often you have probably noticed in the Armenia media the urgent calls to help and assist a particular village or town in Armenia or Karabakh, or you receive several appeals per week, about several philanthropic and reputable organizations raising funds to help children, assist orphans, plant trees, refurbish and repair residential rooftops, water and sewer lines, hospitals, schools and of course roads.
When Armenians were once again running helter-skelter during the last world war, there was an organized effort to repopulate and relocate those homeless Armenians in the United States. These efforts were entrusted to the Armenian National Committee of Homeless Armenians (ANCHA).
Today’s Armenia represents different challenges than we are accustomed to, yet an ever growing number of Armenian philanthropic and charitable organizations still focus their efforts and expand their resources on the environment, the trees, the orphans, the hospitals, the education of the children, the sports, the democracy, the arts, the religion, the churches, the wounded soldiers and the needs of defense forces.
The mere enumeration of the above-mentioned endeavors in this breath suggests that there is something wrong in these efforts. But that is not the case. All these efforts are worthwhile, noble endeavors. These are the endeavors that Armenians are accustomed to handling throughout the Diaspora: in India, Argentina, France, Cyprus, Istanbul, Syria, Canada, Brazil, Lebanon, USA, UAE, etc.
Armenia needs a government that takes care of the infrastructure and provides the basic laws and regulations where commerce and industry could flourish. In the present predicament, Diaspora efforts, first and foremost, should focus on creating the physical, commercial and legal infrastructure where a viable commercial, industrial, agricultural, technological society could flourish, produce, market and prosper.
Diaspora philanthropic organizations should be able to offer free transportation and transfer of any Armenian family from any part of the world to Armenia without the hassles of import or other taxes of their home and business belongings.
The roots of the commercial infrastructure will be ill served by the presence of a multitude of not-for-profit charitable organizations, which keep people reliant on public assistance. The foundations of a productive, industrial and innovative business environment could only be enhanced by the presence of for-profit businesses and industries that produce goods and services marketable locally and internationally, and which simultaneously create job opportunities for professional and skilled workers.
That’s why we need an Armenian National Committee of Homebound Armenians to organize Diaspora-owned Armenian businesses in Armenia to negotiate with the government of Armenia terms of operation, rules and regulations, to operate productive resources, factories, research and development facilities, pharmaceutical research and development centers, manufacturing facilities, to accomplish the stable exemplary business infrastructure, improve employment conditions and employment opportunities, and ensure a profitable, yet non-corrupt work environment in Armenia.
Many studies have shown that continuous economic, financial and emergency assistance to underdeveloped [countries] hinders the economic development and independence of that country.
Hence, instead of collecting donations to buy medical supplies and equipment for Armenia, Armenian enterprises should be able to sell shares in corporations that manufacture medical supplies and equipment in Armenia. Instead of collecting donations to purchase and donate bulletproof vests, night vision equipment and other essential supplies to the Armenian Defense Forces, Armenian enterprises should be offering shares of ownership for Diaspora investors in manufacturing facilities in Armenia, which could produce all or most of the military hardware and software necessary to overcome all the aggressive challenges posed by the adversaries of the country.
The Armenian government through the Central Bank should be able to issue and offer Armenian Development Savings Bonds to expand the productive facilities in Armenia which are considered critical in the fields of transportation, communication, energy, water and military-industrial enterprises.