Azerbaijan, Baku, June 2 /Trend, N.Ismayilova/
The goal of the visit of one third of the EBRD Board of Directors to Azerbaijan is to hold talks within the strategy to be prepared for the country, and identify future priorities for further discussion with the Board in London, the representative of the board of directors Simon Ray said to press conference in Baku on June 2.
"We had meetings with the finance minister, economic development minister, the central bank, international financial institutions, Azerenergy JSC, SOCAR and Garadagh cement plant. We have gained positive impressions from Azerbaijani government's use of oil resources," said Ray.
According to Ray, in Azerbaijan discussions were conducted over the questions of how the bank can contribute to economic diversification, development of non-oil sector, the expansion of the EBRD in the financial sector, credit to the private sector, as well as how the bank can contribute to improving the business environment.
EBRD sees improving the business environment in Azerbaijan through investments that improve corporate governance and involvement of experts in order to improve staff skills at companies.
According to Ray, the question of developing a strategy for Azerbaijan will be discussed extensively in London as a result of EBRD delegation's visit.
"The strategy will focus on supporting non-oil sector and diversifying the economy of Azerbaijan. The primary version of the strategy will be prepared by the end of July and submitted to EBRD board of directors in the end of September," said Ray.
According to him, the delegation of the bank discussed with the central bank of the country the need to expand EBRD activities in the private financial sector and various proposals were made to the ministry of economic development for future cooperation, particularly in the spheres such as agriculture, infrastructure projects.
According to the member of board of directors Werner Gruber, the bank's management has decided to name the South Caucasus region in the list of top priorities for the bank's activities.
The visit of EBRD delegation started on May 31. The delegation includes Director - Kurt Bayer Kurt Bayer, representing Austria, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Kazakhstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Werner Gruber - Switzerland, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Serbia and Montenegro, Pedro Moriyón - Spain and Mexico, Simon Ray - UK Ib Katznelson, João Cravinho - Portugal and Greece, Tae Hwan Kim - Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Egypt, Virginia Gheorghiu - Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, Stefka Slavova - Bulgaria, Poland and Albania.
EBRD Board of Directors conducts such missions in each member country included in the zone of operations of the bank every 3-4 years. A mission visited Azerbaijan in 2007 last time.
In 2009, the Bank invested 230 million euros in Azerbaijani economy, of which 120 million euros was directed to finance expansion of Garadagh cement plant.
The Bank has financed 103 projects worth $1.4 billion. Financial institutions cooperating with the EBRD, received 69 lines of credit and investments totaling $223 million from the bank.