WB making interim assessment of partnership framework for Azerbaijan (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.16

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

The World Bank is currently discussing several new and exciting operations with the government of Azerbaijan, Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

“Currently, we are making an interim assessment of our country partnership framework (CPF). This is a process in which we assess our performance in the first half of the strategy implementation, and decide if any changes are needed to make it more relevant for the country’s needs in the remaining period of its implementation. One of the recommendations would be to extend the period of our current country partnership framework by a year to be better position our support to the country over the coming years. We are currently discussing several new and exciting operations with the government of Azerbaijan. These cover sectors in which we have traditionally been active, such as transport, and we hope to work in a few new areas, for example, by supporting government’s self-employment program. But I should make one important note: the World Bank does not offer projects to governments. All projects we support are the government’s projects, and we only provide our finance and technical knowledge to help prepare and implement projects,” he said.

Molineus said the current CPF ends in 2020 and it is intended to launch a new one thereafter.

“Country partnership frameworks are underpinned by a very thorough analysis called Systemic Country Diagnostics. So, any potential change in our strategy and approach will be informed by that analysis. In developing our country strategies will work and consult with a broad range of country stakeholders such as government, civil society, academia, private sector, and media,” he explained.

The regional director noted that the World Bank has been Azerbaijan’s trusted partner over the past 27 years and has supported the country through its challenging early years of transition, helped rebuild its key infrastructure and implement important reforms.

“And we have in turn learned so much from Azerbaijan and have passed this knowledge on to other countries undergoing similar transitions. Now Azerbaijan is redefining its development strategy to bring private sector to the forefront of future economic growth, to improve quality of its human capital so that its remains competitive for the 21st century economy, to create quality jobs, particularly in rural areas, and to provide fast, efficient and broadly accessible public services. My priorities as the World Bank director for South Caucasus will be to make sure that we continue to support the government and people of Azerbaijan in this crucial period through a mix of financial, advisory, and convening services,” said Molineus.

Azerbaijan joined the World Bank Group in 1992. During this period, the bank allocated loans for the implementation of over 50 projects in the country worth over $3 billion. Seven more projects worth about $1.5 billion are being implemented.

Besides the loans, WB allocated 45 grants to Azerbaijan totaling $41.586 million in 1995-2014.

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