World Bank to decide on projects in Azerbaijan in next two years by March

Business Materials 21 January 2013 15:29

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 21 / Trend I.Khalilova /

An interim report which will cover the programme of the World Bank's (WB) activities in Azerbaijan in the next two years, will be presented to the board of directors in March, WB Baku Office told Trend on Monday.

"Projects to be financed by the bank in the 2013-2014 fiscal year are now being specified with the government, but no official proposals have yet been received," the office said.

The current strategy of cooperation with Azerbaijan is developed for the period between 2011-2014. This is based on such priorities as strengthening the non-oil sector of economy including development of infrastructure and agriculture. In addition, the bank's activities will also focus on improving the effectiveness of social services, including health, education, social protection and water supply.

As reported in the government, it is currently attracting additional funding for projects on modernisation of the judicial system, improvement of water and sanitation services and integrated solid waste management.

The need for additional financial resources appeared in the last two projects due to changes towards improvement in the design of these projects. Funds to expand the project are needed within the judicial system redevelopment, so additional funding for the current project or a new project is being considered by the WB Baku Office.

The World Bank provided $490 million for improving the drinking water supply and sanitation services in 12 regions of Azerbaijan. It provided a total of $55 million for Azerbaijan's judicial-legal system, 33.4 million of which were allocated as additional financing in 2011.

The bank also allocated $29.5 million to the project for integrated waste management in Baku. The project will be expanded to cover the whole country.

Currently the bank is working with the Azerbaijani government in two directions - development of new projects and improving work within the existing project portfolio.

"At some point, a number of projects were approved and large amounts of money allocated and now we are committed to improving the work within already approved projects. We have projects showing good results, whereas some of the other projects must be reviewed to see how to put existing resources to better use. Agriculture, education, healthcare and alternative energy sources are promising areas for new projects, but it is still too early to talk about specific projects, "the head of the bank in Azerbaijan Larisa Leshchenko said earlier.

"Azerbaijan's indicators have improved in comparison with the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This is thanks to the work held by the bank and the government in the past two years. We are on the right track at the moment," Leshchenko said.

Since 1992, during the whole period of cooperation with Azerbaijan, the World Bank has financed 56 projects in various sectors of the economy for a total of $3.4 billion in loans and grants of the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). During this period, the World Bank contributed to Azerbaijan grants totalling $42 million sent towards the development of projects, feasibility studies and training.