Last week review (feb.27-march 3)

Feb. 27

Azerbaijan holds bilateral talks with six member countries of WTO

Delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev, participated in the regular working group meeting, as well as in bilateral meetings on goods and services in Geneva in the framework of the IX round of multilateral talks on Azerbaijan's membership in the WTO. Bilateral talks were held with the U.S., EU, Norway, Canada, Ecuador and Japan. The Azerbaijani delegation also held meetings with several officials of the WTO and UN experts during the visit to Geneva. Negotiations with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Georgia have been completed and protocols were signed. The country is in the process of signing the protocol with Moldova, which still considers the document, while Kyrgyzstan has agreed to sign.

Georgia transfers gas pipeline network to SOCAR management

The Finance and Economy Ministry of Adjara handed the gas pipelines built in the Adjaran villages of Bobokvati, Khutsubani, Kveda, Sameba and Ochkhamuri over to the management of the SOCAR Georgia Gas Company as part of the programme of assisting the villages. The company will operate the system for 49 years and was instructed to commission the gas pipeline within six months.

Schedule of Azerbaijan's repayment of IMF loans revised

The process of repayment of loans borrowed earlier by Azerbaijan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to complete by 2016. Earlier it was planned to complete repayment in 2013.

Feb. 28

Azerbaijan, Slovakia discuss energy cooperation

Azerbaijani Deputy Industry and Energy Minister Gulmammad Javadov has recently received Slovakian Ambassador to Russia and Azerbaijan Josef Migash. It was reported that the sides discussed cooperation between the countries, particularly in the energy sector. Javadov told the ambassador about the recent progress made by Azerbaijan in the oil and gas sector, the discovery of new deposits, and perspective oil and gas development plans.

Seismological study begins in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea

The Caspian Geophysical Company has begun a three-way geophysical study in the Umid field and Babek perspective area in the Azerbaijani sector of Caspian Sea. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Caspian Geophysical signed a contract and work at sea has already begun accordingly. Work on the contract area is carried out from the geophysical vessel Gilavar.

Azerbaijan, Jordan discuss prospects of mutual investments

Jordan is the most stable country in the region, having favorable conditions for making foreign investments, Jordanian Prime Minister Aoun Khasawneh said at a meeting with the Azerbaijani delegation headed by Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev. The Azerbaijani delegation made a short-term visit to Jordan on February 27. The possibilities for economic cooperation and mutual investment were discussed at the meeting. Jordanian investment projects and projects for economic development were presented at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The embassy said that the Azerbaijani delegation's visit will have a positive impact on the development of future relations between countries, especially the cooperation in the economic sphere.

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan plan to establish JV in petroleum engineering and construction

The possibility of establishment of a joint venture by companies of Azerbaijan and the Aktobe province of Kazakhstan in the field of petroleum engineering and construction is being discussed, deputy head of the department of business and industry of akimat (regional authority) of Aktobe province Tles Utesinov told Trend on Tuesday. Last week Baku hosted Azerbaijan-Kazakh business forum attended by representatives of 80 companies from the Azerbaijani side. Kazakhstan was represented by a delegation of business circles of the Aktobe province, headed by akim (head) Archimed Muhambetov. Utesinov said as a result of a business forum Aktobe plant of non-metallic pipes arranged to buy the ether resin from Azerkimya, and the Kazakh company "Akpan" engaged in exploration and drilling wells for oil and gas agreed to provide technical services to the Azerbaijani side in the oil and gas sector. In addition, Aktobe International Airport agreed to cooperate with Azerbaijan "Silk Air" in the field of freight and passenger traffic, and the Kazakh Aktyubrentgen agreed to supply X-ray equipment to Azerbaijan. Agreement between the parties was reached in the field of agriculture. In particular, the Kazakh company As An, KazFrukt and Kokonis agreed on the supply of fruits and vegetables from Azerbaijan.

President: Azerbaijan to continue making efforts for comprehensive development

Baku Expo hosted conference on the third year of implementing the "State Program of Socio-Economic Development of Regions of the Azerbaijani Republic in 2009 - 2013". President Aliyev attended the conference.

Presentation on the results of the third year of implementing the State program was shown at the conference. It reflects the country's achievements in recent years in the field of socio-economic development. Data on the health care and education facilities, built in the country with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation have also been reflected. The section dedicated to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, tells about the successes achieved in the past year in the autonomous republic in the socio-economic sphere. Stands on the development of entrepreneurship gave the statistics on the share of private sector in the growth of gross domestic product, different spheres of production and service. A special stand was dedicated to successes of Azerbaijani sportsmen in national and international competitions, construction of new sports facilities and the state's concern for development of sport.

State committee: Address register in Azerbaijan to be important tool for e-services

The address register created in Azerbaijan will be an important tool for the state bodies to render electronic services to physical and legal entities, municipalities, Deputy Chairman of the State Register Service of Real Estate under the Azerbaijani State Property Committee Rafig Jalilov said at the presentation of the project of creating the information address register system

Feb. 29

Visa identifies priorities for 2012 in Azerbaijan

Visa international payment system has identified ensuring of the reception of cards in anticipation of such events as the Eurovision 2012 song contest and the World Cup for women under 17 among the main activities in Azerbaijan in 2012, the regional manager for the CIS Visa International Alexander Kalita told reporters on Wednesday. The development of electronic commerce, which is planned to implement through the activating of trade enterprises, as well as work with issuers to encourage cardholders to pay for goods and services through the Internet, is a priority for Visa.

Azerbaijan, Russia finalise amendments to Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline agreement

Azerbaijan and Russia have almost completed the preparation of amendments to an agreement on oil transportation relating to the Baku - Novorossiysk pipeline, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said at a meeting with members of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC). Changes to the agreement envisage the possibility for third parties' transportation of oil through this pipeline, as well as a tariff reduction, depending on the increase in level of pumping

World Bank launches new project for IDPs in Azerbaijan

The World Bank (WB) has started a new project to improve living conditions and incomes of displaced persons in Azerbaijan, the WB Baku Office told Trend. "It is the third project to improve the welfare of internally displaced persons in the country. The work under this project began a couple of weeks ago," the bank said. The WB allocated its first loan for $10.7 million in 2001 to promote economic development of IDPs. The sum included $10 million of WB loan and $700,000 of the Azerbaijani government. The loan was spent on financing 199 projects of the IDP communities, and the project benefited 175,000 refugees. Some $12.6 million was granted on the implementation of second project, 11.5 million of which were allocated through a loan from the WB. However, the funds allocated for the second project was not enough, so there was a need for additional funding. However, the funds allocated for the second project was not enough, so there was a need for additional funding.

Baku Stock Exchange signs cooperation agreement with economic university

Baku Stock Exchange (BSE) and Azerbaijani State Economic University signed a cooperation agreement which provides for conducting such events on a periodic basis and participation of the BSE in the educational life of the university. Baku Stock Exchange under the support of State Committee for Securities (SCS) and jointly with the State Economic University of Azerbaijan (SEUA) organised a workshop on the topic of "Financial markets" for the students of the university. The working session of the workshop included the presentations about the Azerbaijani stock market and global financial markets delivered by the experts of the stock exchange and National Depository Centre as well as the representatives of the professional market participants such as Pashabank, Tekhnika Capital management and Qarant Invest companies.

World Bank reviews social projects in Azerbaijan

The mission of the World Bank (WB) on the project of social protection is in Baku, the WB Baku office told Trend. The mission, headed by the Project Manager Anastasia Alexandrova started the work on February 28 and will complete it to March 8. "The mission is in the nature of a review," the bank said. The loan agreement on the project was signed between the WB and the Azerbaijani government in November 2008. The total project cost is $54.6 million. As of September 2011, the WB allocated $26.7 million through the International Development Association. About $5 million were spent. The project consists of four main components aimed at modernizing the labor market, the pension system, including the improvement of labor legislation, labor protection system, employment services. The project covers five years from 2008 to 2013.

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and EU to support Southern Gas Corridor

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the EU are preparing two documents that will allow them to take delivery of the Caspian and in particular Turkmen gas to Europe, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister said at a meeting with members of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC). He said Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the European Union are preparing a political document to support the Southern Gas Corridor, as well as an inter-governmental agreement on Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. During negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the EU will discuss agreements outlining the legal obligations of the parties necessary for Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan for the construction and operation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline. Also on the agenda will be the legal framework to be applied to the issue of filling the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan including the recognition of commercial agreements.

Azerbaijan trading standards' e-database expands

The State Committee on Standardisation, Metrology and Patents of Azerbaijan continues to work on the formation of an electronic database which includes standards, certification regulations and other normally used documents

Azerbaijan to focus on creating large industrial companies

The main direction of developing industrial production in Azerbaijan is the commissioning of large enterprises, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said at a meeting with members of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC). "The commissioning of large enterprises should be carried out along with the development of small and medium industrial production," the minister said.

March 1

Baku railway station starts selling tickets through POS-terminals

Sale of passenger tickets through POS-terminals will begin in 15 offices of the Baku railway station from March 1, the deputy department of passenger transport company Azerbaijan Railways Madat Shihamirov said. "The introduction of POS-terminals is planned at all stations in various cities and districts of Azerbaijan in the future," Shihamirov said. Shihamirov noted that measures to automate the process of ticket sales are intended to improve the quality of services in passenger transport. POS-terminals were installed by AzeriCard processing center, which will allow passengers to use Visa and MasterCard for payment while buying a ticket.

Azerbaijan prepares concept of agricultural credit guarantee fund

Azerbaijan Microfinance Association (AMFA) has prepared a draft concept of agricultural credit guarantee fund, according to which the Fund may guarantee up to 80 percent of entrepreneur's loan. The maximum amount of loan guarantee set at 100 thousand manat in the concept. The decision to guarantee loans up to 25,000 manat accepted by the board and approved by the Supervisory Board. Decision for loans from 25 thousand to 100 thousand manat is made by the Supervisory Board. Fund must transfer the guaranteed sum to the credit of the organization if there is a risk of default. In the event of default mortgaged property passed over to the Fund within 90 days, which organizes the sale. The guarantee of the agricultural credits is required so that banks can insure their risks, and were interested in lending to small and medium-sized farms, chairman of the non-banking credit organization Finance for Development Jalal Aliyev said. The concept has been prepared under The mechanism of insurance of agricultural loans joint project of Azerbaijan Microfinance Association with Oxfam.

S&P: Azerbaijan least sensitive to eurozone deleveraging

Azerbaijan is among the countries least sensitive to eurozone deleveraging, report of the Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' new Emerging Europe Sensitivity Index (EESI) measures the relative vulnerability of 19 emerging sovereigns, including CIS countries, to potential disruptions to capital inflows from the eurozone. The higher the EESI score, the greater relative vulnerability of an emerging non-eurozone economy to shocks in the Eurozone

Post-crisis objectives of Azerbaijan provide stability of banking sector

Chairman of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Elman Rustamov received a delegation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), headed by the executive director of the bank's financial institutions Nick Tesseyman. The current activities of the EBRD in Azerbaijan and the prospects for future cooperation were discussed at the meeting. Rustamov expressed confidence in the development of the Central Bank cooperation with EBRD and said that several projects in the frame of cooperation with the banking system of Azerbaijan are being successfully implemented today.

March 2

Azerbaijan starts to prepare strategic development plan during next 10 years

Economic Development Ministry of Azerbaijan during the board's meeting decided to prepare an action plan with specific deadlines and executors of the tasks set in the speech of President Ilham Aliyev at the conference on the results of the third year of implementing the "State Program of Socio-Economic Development of Regions of the Azerbaijani Republic in 2009 - 2013".

Creation of single currency of OIC member countries is not real

Creation of a common currency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is not feasible at this stage, Iraqi Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Torhan al-Mufti told Trend. Torhan al-Mufti participated in the third forum of "think tanks" of the OIC countries on "Change and Transformation in the OIC" in Baku.

SOFAZ: EITI successful cooperation between state and civil society

The extractive industry transparency initiative is the most successful cooperation between the state, companies operating in the mining sector, and civil society, SOFAZ head Shahmar Movsumov wrote in a letter to the participants of a conference in Baku.

SOCAR implements necessary work to ensure transparency

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) implements all the necessary work to ensure transparency and public information, SOCAR vice president Suleyman Gasimov said during the conference "Prospects of EITI: A View from Azerbaijan" in Baku. "SOCAR makes the preparation and publication of consolidated annual reports on the activities that are available to all government agencies, foreign companies and public organizations," Gasimov said. All necessary data and information relating to the activities of the company, both inside and outside of Azerbaijan is regularly published on the State Oil Company site, Gasimov added. Beginning of employment in SOCAR on the basis of electronic messages and through the State Commission on Student Admission was also the innovation. It allows to ensure maximum transparency of the process and minimizing the presence of his course of subjective factors. Trilateral cooperation in the framework of EITI is important and should create conditions for further development initiatives in the long term, the representative of BP Araz Yusubov said.

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