WB committed to funding transport projects in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 11 / Trend E.Ismayilov, N.Ismayilova /
The World Bank has invested roughly $1 billion in transport projects in Azerbaijan, WB Country Manager Joseph Owen said at a signing ceremony in Baku today.
Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov and Owen signed a loan agreement on a project to expand the Baku-Shamakhi-Mugan Highway from two to four lanes.
"The WB remains committed to funding transport projects in Azerbaijan," Owen said. "Because the country is located at the intersection of the North and South, it has unique opportunities to act as a transit center for cargo transportation and energy."
Owen added that the country should take advantage of such opportunities and improve its transport network.
"In addition, road and infrastructural development are important tools to reduce poverty, promote the development of the non-oil sector, advance regional development, trade and transit, and improve the quality of access to external markets," he said.
Meanwhile, Mammadov stressed that the agreement will play a vital role in expanding cooperation with the WB in developing the transport sector.
"This will, in turn, ensure the safety of transport, the development of tourism, and increase the country's transit capacity," he said.
Azerbaijan became a WB member in 1992. During this period, the bank has approved loans worth $2.5 billion to finance 47 projects in Azerbaijan. In the 2008 fiscal year alone, the bank intended to finance 13 projects worth $1.251 billion, thus accomplishing the four-year budget strategy in two years. Over the next two years (2009-10 years), the WB has expressed readiness to allocate more than $1 billion on commercial terms from the IBRD. But the bank still continues to provide funding for Azerbaijan in parallel on concessional terms.