WB to review portfolio in Azerbaijan

Business Materials 5 January 2011 13:45 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 5 / Trend I. Khalilova /

The World Bank (WB) plans to review the portfolio of projects implemented in Azerbaijan from late January to early February, the bank's Baku office said.

"In this regard, Asad Alam, WB Regional Director on South Caucasus is expected to visit Baku," the office said.

Since joining the IBRD in 1992 and IDA in 1995, the World Bank has given Azerbaijan a total of approximately $3 billion for 43 projects. Commitments from the IFC, since Azerbaijan joined in 1995, amount to almost $350 million in 45 projects.

The World Bank presently finances 20 projects with commitments valued at around $2 billion covering investments in transport, water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation and health and education.

"Portfolio will be reviewed through the meetings between the heads of the projects, who will tell about their implementation and problems. Afterwards, the recommendations will be given," the WB office said.

Joseph Owen, the head of the WB office in Baku, said that there are projects worth $1.8 billion, which still require implementation. These projects include sectors such as water purification¸ reconstruction of railways and highways.

"WB will make more efforts to accelerate the implementation of these projects to rapidly achieve the results," the manager of the bank said.

The World Bank (WB) announced a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Azerbaijan, which provides the framework guiding the World Bank Group's assistance to Azerbaijan during 2011-2014.

The new strategy has a number of distinctive features.  First, the focus will be on accelerating the implementation of existing projects.  Secondly, new investments will be undertaken selectively in the areas where there is clear government's demand and ownership and a strong record of institutional capacity. The bank will increase its analytical work in the areas of job creation and growth, poverty and inequality, financial sector, agriculture and irrigation, wastewater, and public expenditures. 

For the full strategy period of four years, the government has requested a total investment of about $1 billion. In the first two years, lending is anticipated to be around $380 million, with Azerbaijan's per capita income of $ 4,820 (Atlas method, 2009). The country is now placed in the group of middle income countries and 2011 will be the last year when the country will receive concessional financing from the World Bank.  

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group's private sector lending arm, will increase its investment program to about $200 million during this period.