Baku, Azerbaijan, May 8
By Kheyraddin Nasirzade - Trend:
The World Bank Group - through IFC - joins efforts with the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan to improve the country’s investment climate and boost agribusiness competitiveness, helping diversify the economy and spur job creation, Trend reports.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed three cooperation agreements with Azerbaijan’s Ministries of Economy and of Agriculture, and the Food Safety Agency, as well as three memorandums of understanding—with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, the Commission on Business Climate and International Rankings, and the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication.
The Azerbaijan Investment Climate and Agribusiness Competitiveness project, implemented by IFC and supported by the Government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Austria’s Ministry of Finance, aims to help ease doing business and attract investment to Azerbaijan’s non-oil economy.
“Azerbaijan is already seeing the positive results of recent social-economic reforms and there are more to come. We are committed to continuing our efforts in diversifying the economy and developing non-oil sectors, including through our continued cooperation with IFC and benefiting from its global experience,” said Yagub Eyyubov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The agreements aim to help further streamline licensing and inspections regulations, support the government in developing an investment policy and promotion framework and implementing a national FDI strategy. The project will also help address challenges in the agribusiness sector—an important source of jobs and key to boosting non-oil growth—by enhancing access to quality seeds, streamlining regulations along agribusiness value chains, and modernizing the national food safety management system, to help reduce the administrative burden on the private sector and increase food exports.
Simone Haeberli, (Chargée d’Affaires of Embassy of Switzerland, Deputy Regional Director of Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus) said: “A healthy business environment and a conducive investment climate are key to private sector development and economic growth. At this stage in the ongoing reform process, we have witnessed and continue to witness that private sector development is a key priority for Azerbaijan and enjoys full support of the country’s leadership. Switzerland stands ready to further support the government of Azerbaijan in its efforts to develop a new economic model.”
“To ensure a sustainable and resilient economy, the country needs to tap into new sources of growth, and we are glad to see the government taking steps in this direction,” said Jan van Bilsen, IFC Senior Regional Manager for the Caucasus and the Russian Federation. “Our advisory program aims to help local businesses grow, attract foreign investments to Azerbaijan and make regulations more business-friendly for local private companies, helping them expand and create more jobs.”
Azerbaijan became a member of IFC in 1995. Since then, IFC has invested around $473 million, including $73 million in mobilization, financing 56 projects across a range of sectors, including financial services, infrastructure, and manufacturing. In addition, IFC has supported around $100 million in trade through its trade finance program and provided $250 million for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. IFC has also implemented a range of advisory projects aimed at encouraging private sector growth.