Details added (first version posted at 16:04, on Sept.26)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 26
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Vice President of Economics and Private Sector Development of International Finance Corporation Hans Peter Lankes.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- You are welcome, it is a pleasure to see you. According to the information available to me, you are participating in a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This is a good indicator of our cooperation. As you know, over the past 20 years, our Oil Fund has played the role of a very important tool for the development of Azerbaijan. Along with this, the Fund has received a UN award as one of the most transparent sovereign funds in the world. The role of this Fund in the development of Azerbaijan and in the solution of social problems is extremely high. As you probably know, we have financed the construction of more than 100 settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons using the assets of the Fund. The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan has made investments in human capital, education and infrastructure. Your participation in the conference is also a good indicator. As far as I know, your institution has also invested $250 million.
Our cooperation has a very good and successful history. Given the plans to lay the groundwork for the diversification of our economy and sustainable economic development, there are good prospects for future development. One of our top priorities is to reduce dependence on the oil and gas industry. Of course, this cannot be done in one day, but diversification and modernization of the economy will allow us the opportunity to significantly eliminate this dependence. Of course, as you know, we attach great importance to improving the business environment. It is gratifying that the Doing Business report of the World Bank ranks us among top 10 most reforming states in the world. The rapid development we have achieved in this direction has become possible thanks to our very serious approach to this area. As you know, we have set up a special commission for this purpose. It has thoroughly analyzed the work that needs to be done to eliminate shortcomings and improve the situation. In general, to be in 25th place in the world according to the Doing Business report evokes a sense of pride. However, the most important thing is that this improves the business environment and the development of the non-energy sector in Azerbaijan. As for our future priorities, I believe that support for human capital, the non-oil sector, education, agriculture, tourism, small and medium-sized enterprises is among the priorities of our cooperation. I am sure that through your contacts during the visit you have already held discussions with our officials on the work that will be done in the future. So welcome to Azerbaijan again!
Vice President of the International Finance Corporation Hans Peter Lankes, said:
- Thank you for the welcome. The main purpose of our visit is to participate in an event we are holding together with the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The State Oil Fund is our long-standing and close partner. In my opinion, this Fund is one of the most professionally managed funds, and we attach great importance to our relations. The theme of the conference is “Investment of positive influence”. The International Finance Corporation attaches importance to this issue, and we are witnessing a great relevance of this topic. It is quite symbolic that the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan has its own investment strategy. In a word, we have a very good relationship.
The sides also discussed prospects for cooperation between the International Finance Corporation and Azerbaijan, issues of diversifying the economy, creating new jobs in cities and rural areas, further consolidating the successes achieved in the business environment, and attracting direct foreign investment in the private sector.