ADB looking to expand co-op with Azerbaijan (VIDEO)

Business Materials 29 May 2015 12:36 (UTC +04:00)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is looking to expand cooperation with Azerbaijan, Betty Wilkinson
ADB looking to expand co-op with Azerbaijan (VIDEO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 29

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is looking to expand cooperation with Azerbaijan, Betty Wilkinson, the Director of Public Management, Financial Sector and Trade at ADB's Central and West Asia Department, told Trend during the 'This Week in Focus' program episode.

She recalled that recently ADB had an annual meeting in Baku and during that time, decisions were made to augment ADB's capital, what will significantly increase its capacity to provide grants throughout the region.

Wilkinson also said that in the public sector of Azerbaijan, throughout the history, ADB has provided over $1.9 billion to the country.

"In private sector, since our start up, we had seven projects for about $63 million," she added.

Wilkinson further noted that a lot of work is done in trade financing with two banks in Azerbaijan.

"In the last couple of years we had a lot of financing activity and recently we provided credits to Demir Bank and Access Bank," said Wilkinson. "We are also working with other financial institution for some lending in that area. We are also looking at other areas."
She went on to add that in particular ADB is looking at Lukoil, which is a shareholder in the Shah Deniz 2 project, as well as other organizations.

Wilkinson noted that ADB has significant investments in energy development, urban development and roads in Azerbaijan.

"We are very satisfied with level of cooperation with Azerbaijan, and we are looking to expand it," she added. "We plan to do a lot of lending in the private sector."

She also said that Azerbaijan's financial market is strongly banked.
"You have 95 percent of your assets in banking," said Wilkinson. "You have a lot of banks for the economy of that size."

Answering to a question with regard to the forecast on Azerbaijan's economy and currency, Wilkinson said Azerbaijan has a smart set of managers, who were saying that it is needed to diversify economy and that it is crucial to pay attention to improving the quality of human resources.

"If you do these things, your economy will be in good shape and your currency too," she said.

Wilkinson also informed that in Azerbaijan, ADB is in early stage of discussions on local currency bond issues.

"In Georgia, we have just issued local currency bonds for one hundred million laris, which were used to support TBC bank and small enterprises and micro enterprises," she said.
Wilkinson also said the devaluation of Azerbaijan's manat in February made sense for economists.

She noted that the region is facing two challenges - circumstances in Russia, which have certainly affected the region, and the significant decline in oil prices, adding that many of the countries in the region had have devaluation.
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