WB defines development priorities of Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector

Business Materials 5 March 2012 13:48 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 5 / Trend A.Akhundov /

The development of Azerbaijan's oil sector makes it necessary to have qualified professionals and develop human resources.

"For this we need reforms in the education system. Despite directing large amounts of public funds in this area, and some progress in recent years, the situation in Azerbaijan in this field, in comparison with other countries, is not the best," director for strategy and projects of the World Bank (WB) in Europe and Central Asia Theodore Ahlers said on Monday at the second forum on economic policy being held in Baku and lasting until March 6.

He said Azerbaijan has achieved significant progress in simplifying procedures in the areas of customs, taxation and business registration. However, work in this area should continue.

"Also it is necessary to note the low share of agriculture in the GDP, only five per cent with a large proportion of population involved in this sector (two thirds of economically active workers). For a country aimed at diversifying the economy, the development of this sector is very important," Ahlers said.

He said a serious problem for the economy of Azerbaijan is the dominance of large companies in many sectors of the economy.

"This problem is characteristic not only for Azerbaijan, but for many countries around the world. Today it's necessary to change the situation in Azerbaijan and in particular adoption of a code on competition should make a contribution," the Bank's representative said.

He noted economic development is necessary to improve control and transparency over the expenditure of public investment and expenditure.

Azerbaijan has been a member of the World Bank since 1992 and as part of its cooperation; the bank to date has allocated $2.9 billion to fund 43 projects which puts the country in third place in terms of its portfolio after Turkey and Kazakhstan.