IFC seeks to support process of diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy (EXCLUSIVE)

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 16

By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is committed to continuing to support the diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy by helping to mobilize the power of the private sector, Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, told Trend May 16.

He noted that the continued investment climate and regulatory reforms are important to build the confidence of investors to invest in the private sector and contribute to economic diversification.

Recent developments, including the drop in oil prices in 2014, have made it clear that many countries of the region, including Azerbaijan, need to move to a different growth model, relying less on state resources and more on the private sector, said van Bilsen.

"That means that new sources of growth must be tapped into. Many governments recognize this and are taking steps in that direction. One of the key drivers to accelerating and sustaining progress is making the private sector the main driver of growth."

Van Bilsen noted that the IFC particularly welcomes the government’s strong focus on improving infrastructure and enhancing connectivity within the country and internationally.

"IFC is ready to work in infrastructure in Azerbaijan, for example in energy, waste management and transport, as long as there is interest in opening these areas to the private sector. Given our vast global experience in structuring public-private partnership projects in various sectors, IFC is ready to support the government in attracting private investment for selected public infrastructure through PPP transaction advisory support. This can help lower the fiscal burden and improve effectiveness and efficiency of public investment and assets," van Bilsen said.

The regional manager added that IFC is also open to investing in competitive businesses that are transparent and well managed in various productive sectors, including but not limited to export-oriented industries to help the country generate alternative sources of foreign exchange.

Azerbaijan became a member of the International Finance Corporation in 1995. Since the beginning of cooperation, IFC has allocated more than $500 million for projects in Azerbaijan covering financial services, infrastructure and production.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Anvar_Mammadov

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