ICIEC committed to supporting Azerbaijan’s green growth agenda – CEO (Exclusive Interview)

Economy Materials 30 November 2023 08:00 (UTC +04:00)
ICIEC committed to supporting Azerbaijan’s green growth agenda – CEO (Exclusive Interview)
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 30. The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) is fully committed to supporting Azerbaijan's 2030 National Priorities, with a particular emphasis on sustainable economic growth and the promotion of a green growth agenda, especially in the liberated territories, Oussama Kaissi, CEO of ICIEC, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

“This will enable us to play an instrumental role in promoting green investments within the country. Azerbaijan has been very active in sustainable and environmentally friendly projects such as wind and solar power, decarbonization, green hydrogen, green ammonia, etc. On the other hand, ICIEC has extensive experience in renewable energy projects such as wind farms in Türkiye, Waste-to-Energy (WTE) project in Sharjah, UAE, Benban Solar Power project in Egypt, solar-powered irrigation and climate change-related projects in Uganda. ICIEC is also participating in the Food Security Response Program (FSRP) of the IsDB Group,” he said.

Oussama Kaissi pointed out that therefore, we will contribute to the economy of Azerbaijan by supporting key government projects, including the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

“We aim to collaborate closely with Azerbaijani institutions and stakeholders to formulate and implement sustainable development initiatives. Our intent is to facilitate the adoption of best practices in sustainable economic growth and promote a green and environmentally responsible approach to investments. These measures will allow us to align effectively with Azerbaijan's development goals, fostering a more sustainable and prosperous future for the nation,” he added.

Cooperation on projects in Karabakh

Kaissi noted that ICIEC will provide insurance for foreign investors in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands.

“ICIEC sees its role in Azerbaijan as that of a reliable and proactive investment partner. We believe that by providing investment and export credit insurance solutions, we play a crucial role in mitigating risks and providing credit enhancements, thereby making Azerbaijan an attractive destination for potential investors. We are actively cooperating with AZPROMO to attract long-term foreign direct investments (FDI) to Azerbaijan. ICIEC has also been working with international banks and insurers for trade and investment transactions in ICIEC’s 49 member countries. Therefore, ICIEC’s involvement as a multilateral insurer creates a positive investment climate for foreign investors and facilitates access to financing opportunities for key government projects,” added Kaissi.

Furthermore, the CEO noted that ICIEC experience and expertise in the sector allow it to share valuable insights and market knowledge with potential investors.

“This, in turn, empowers them to make informed decisions and seize opportunities in a confident manner. Ultimately, our role as an investment partner goes beyond risk mitigation; it includes a commitment to fostering economic prosperity and attracting diverse investors to Azerbaijan. ICIEC will definitely contribute to the “Great Return Program” of the Government of Azerbaijan by attracting investments to the liberated territories by providing insurance cover to foreign investors in different sectors such as renewables, agriculture, transportation, communication, healthcare, etc.,” he explained.

Insurance coverage to Azerbaijan

Kaissi noted that to date, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) has extended insurance coverage totaling $109 million, encompassing $64 million for trade and $45 million for investment-related transactions in Azerbaijan.

He said that these figures underscore the organization’s unwavering commitment to supporting Azerbaijan’s economic endeavors.

“ICIEC provided reinsurance support to KazakhExport JSC, the national export credit agency (ECA) of Kazakhstan, for the lease of locomotives to Azerbaijan Railways. The transaction involves the financial leasing of 10 diesel locomotives of Type TE33A by the Industrial Development Fund (lessor) to Azerbaijan Railways, which is the importer/lessee of the locomotives. In 2015, KazakhExport JSC insured the transaction for the full lease period of 10 years, and ICIEC provided facultative reinsurance cover for USD 25 million,” added Kaissi.

The CEO went on to add that from ICIEC’s perspective, the transaction meets the criteria of supporting intra-OIC trade as it involves the export of capital goods from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, both ICIEC member countries.

“The transaction also meets SDG 9 of the United Nations, which is pertinent to Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. In addition to the Azerbaijan Railways transaction, ICIEC facilitated export transactions from other ICIEC Member Countries to Azerbaijan, totaling $64 million,” he said.

Ongoing projects

ICIEC is working with Azerbaijan on selected projects, Kaissi said.

He recalled that in February 2023, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, paid a high-level visit to Azerbaijan and met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

“In September, I led a mission to Azerbaijan to identify the key development priorities of the country and potential areas of cooperation from ICIEC’s perspective. During the mission, I met with the IsDB & ICIEC governor,minister of economy Mikayil Jabbarov, the IsDB & ICIEC alternate governor, minister of finance Samir Sharifov; minister of energy Parviz Shahbazov; minister of digital development and transport Rashad Nabiyev and minister of health Teymur Musayev,” said Kaissi.

The CEO went on to add that the mission also covered meetings with the ministry of education, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, AZPROMO, Azersigorta, Azerbaijan Investment Holding, Azerbaijan Investment Company, Small and Medium Business Development Agency (KOBIA), State Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, private insurance companies and banks.

“The mission was very successful in that we identified the priority projects and initiatives in different sectors, such as promoting Foreign direct investments (FDI), banking, renewable energy, transportation, communication, healthcare, and SMEs. Currently, in coordination with the Office of the Governor, we are working with the relevant ministries and government entities on the selected projects. We hope to finalize them in 2024 and 2025,” he said.

Kaissi went on to add that ICIEC's presence as a collaborative partner serves as a beacon of reassurance and encouragement for prospective investors exploring opportunities within Azerbaijan.

“The investment projects will contribute to employment generation, the development of advanced and efficient infrastructure, and improved quality of life for citizens,” he added.

Trade and investment initiatives in Central Asia

Kaissi said ICIEC is ready to support trade and investment initiatives in Central Asia, Oussama Kaissi said.

“From ICIEC's perspective, we anticipate strengthened collaboration and shared initiatives with a particular focus on promoting investment and export credit insurance. We envision that the Azerbaijani leadership will play an essential role in driving discussions, initiatives, and strategic decisions that will enhance the organization's effectiveness,” he said.

Kaissi noted that in terms of regional economic development, ICIEC expects that Azerbaijan will lead in the development and implementation of innovative solutions and strategies that foster economic growth and stability within the region.

“By actively involving all member states, including Azerbaijan, in decision-making processes, we anticipate a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the region. The unique location of Azerbaijan as a transportation hub between Central Asia and Europe requires investments to be made in the Middle Corridor. Therefore, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are cooperating to facilitate the trade through the Caspian Sea route. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan established a joint investment fund to invest in joint projects. Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are also cooperating in projects in the Caspian Sea. Türkiye is an important trade and investment partner of Azerbaijan. ICIEC is ready to support such initiatives in the region, which is in line with its mandate of fostering economic cooperation among the OIC Member States,” he added.

Kaissi went on to add that ICIEC looks forward to exploring new and innovative ways to drive sustainable economic growth, reduce investment risks, and facilitate financial stability in collaboration with Azerbaijan and other member countries.

“We believe that this year holds significant promise for achieving our shared goals and making a positive impact on regional economic development,” he said.

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