WB to review portfolio in Azerbaijan

Business Materials 19 October 2011 17:55 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 19 / Trend , I.Khalilova /

The World Bank (WB) plans to review the portfolio of projects implemented in Azerbaijan from Nov.4, the WB Baku office said.

"To this end, WB Regional Director on South Caucasus Asad Alam is expected to visit Baku," the office said. The Bank last time reviewed its portfolio two years ago.
"The main goal of the bank is to achieve the desired results and accelerate the execution of projects, improve their quality," the office said.

The Bank's current portfolio in Azerbaijan makes up 20 projects worth $2.3 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 inform about their implementation and problems. Afterwards, the recommendations will be given.

Head of the WB office in Baku Joseph Owen said earlier 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.

The World Bank (WB) announced a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Azerbaijan in late 2010, 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.
Azerbaijan is a member of the World Bank since 1992.To date, Bank has allocated to Azerbaijan $ 2.9 billion in funding of 43 projects, due to which the country yield only to Turkey and Kazakhstan.