Last week review (May 21 - 26)

May 21

Fitch revises Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund's outlook to stable; affirms at 'BBB-'

Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund under the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Republic (AMF) to Stable from Positive and affirmed its Long-term foreign currency and local currency ratings at 'BBB-'. The rating action reflects the revision of Azerbaijan's Outlook (see "Fitch Revises Azerbaijan's Outlook to Stable; Affirms at 'BBB-'" dated 11 May 2012 at www.fitchratings.com) as well as Fitch's assessment of continuing robustness of the support framework in place for AMF from its sponsor (Central Bank of Azerbaijan Republic). AMF's ratings are equalised with the Azerbaijan sovereign rating, reflecting the entity's public sector status, its tight control by the sovereign through the central bank and its important role in the government's housing finance policy. Fitch uses its public-sector entities rating criteria and applies a top-down approach in its analysis of AMF.

Azerbaijani processing center expands online payments services

Azerbaijani processing center Millikart expanded current services for cardholders of banks served by it. From now on, besides getting information on the balance, statements of accounts, transactions Card-to-Card - transfer of funds from one card to another using the page of iBanking, as well as payments of fees of mobile operators, users can take advantage of more advanced services of online payments by cards.

There has been added possibility to pay for public services -Azerigaz, Azersu, BES; Internet - Adanet,Azeronline, Azstarnet, Eurosel; cable television -Aile TV, B&B TV, Connect, KATV1 along with the already existing list of mobile operators - Azercell, Bakcell, Nar Mobile. The service is completely free of charge.

Payment for services through a "personal account" on page of iBanking is very easy and convenient. The main advantages are: saving and repetition of payments through payment templates; automatic payments through direct debit; tracking the history of payments.

Azerbaijani state agencies start receiving online-payments

Several Azerbaijani state agencies will render online-payment services through its Internet resources soon. Azerbaijani GoldenPay company, operating as a system integrator, has been chosen as an agency which will deal with the technical side of the system. At the initial stage, the online-payment services will be available on the webpages of the State Migration Service, the State Committee for Standardization Metrology and Patents, the Ministry of Economic Development, the State Property Committee, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the State Maritime Administration and the State Administration of Civil Aviation.

Azerbaijan, Russia are preparing to update agreement on cooperation in statistics

The protocol was signed by the heads of the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan and the Federal State Statistics Service of Russia in the result of negotiations held in Baku. The meeting was attended by Chairman of the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan Arif Veliyev and head of the Federal State Statistics Service of Russia Alexander Suriname, whom have discussed the current state of bilateral cooperation and the its future development. The sides expressed their intention to strengthen cooperation in the publication of statistical publications, exchange of statistical methodology and data. New priorities for the development of cooperation taking into account the interests of both parties in the field of statistics.

Azerbaijan, Mexico to cooperate in aerospace industry

Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan supports cooperation of Azerkosmos with Mexican Space Agency. The issue of bilateral cooperation was discussed by Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov and CEO of Mexican Space Agency Javier Mendieta. "The development of political and economic relations between the two countries positively affects the establishment of cooperation in information and communication technologies," Abbasov said.It is necessary to encourage mutual investment opportunities of Azerbaijan and Mexican companies in the ICT sector that will play an important role in expanding the markets of both countries, the minister said.Informing the Mexican side about the space program in Azerbaijan, launching of telecommunications satellite Azerspace into orbit in the year-end, Abbasov said that the cooperation between the two countries in this area will be fruitful.In turn, Mendieta expressed willingness to consider the possibility of cooperation between the Mexican Space Agency and Azerkosmos.Meetings with authority of production association Teleradio, Azerkosmos were held and familiarization with the laboratory of the National Aviation Academy and the scientific research conducted in Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory were implemented in the frame of the visit.

May 22

Regular car-ferry service can be established between Turkmenbashi and Baku

The idea of establishing a regular car-ferry service across the Caspian Sea, in particular, between the ports of Turkmenbashi and Baku, 'deserves full support'. In this regard, one of the main issues on the agenda of a forum recently held in Ashgabat, was the development of this type of shipping.

The discussion was held during the international conference "Prospects for development of transport and transit of Central Asian and Caspian region", which was intended to contribute to the implementation of the UN agenda, in particular, the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action to implement the potential of landlocked and transit countries.

The event was organised by the Government of Turkmenistan in collaboration with the International Road Transport Union, with the support of specialised institutions and structures of the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Intergovernmental Euro-Caucasus-Asia Transport Commission (TRACECA - Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia).

The forum was attended by representatives from 20 countries and 15 international organisations.

Azerbaijan begins construction of Baku White City Office Building

The construction of a new building within the Baku White City project is about to start.

A development of international level, Baku White City Office Building features offices, commercial areas and apartments, Azerbaijan development company said on Tuesday. The design height of this 10-storey building occupying 2 hectares is 50 meters, total area - 20,000 square meters. Baku White City Office Building includes underground and a guest parking estimated for up to 365 cars. Along with landscaping, installation of solar panels generating144.1 kWh per day for alternative energy solutions is stipulated, which indicates the project's environmental commitment, the statement says. At its initial design stage, Baku White City Office Building became well-known among architects on an international arena and was repeatedly nominated as 'the Best Project of the Future' at various international exhibitions. The project is designed by the British company Atkins.

Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan ferry communication back in service

The problems that occurred earlier in connection with ferry communication between the ports of Baku and Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan) have been eliminated. Earlier there were failures in the ferry communication between two Caspian ports. This was due to a delay in the processing of rail movement and transportation. The problems with rail movement created a problem for normal operations, both for the port and the railway. Turkmen rail problems with diesel locomotives were the reason for the delayed trains. After talks and work carried out, the problem was solved. At present, ferry communication between the ports is being carried out without any hitch.

Fifth Astana Economic Forum opens in Kazakhstan

The Fifth Astana Economic Forum has opened in Kazakhstan. President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed forum participants. This year the Astana Economic Forum brought together an unprecedented number of participants - about 8,000 people from 90 countries. The topic of the forum is "Global Economic Transformation: Challenges and Prospects". AEF-2012 program will be moving in three directions, including the most important topics of socio-economic development of the country and global economy. A signing ceremony of agreements and memorandums will be held during the forum. Some 50 agreements worth, according to preliminary estimates at least $ 2 billion are ready for signing. The signing ceremony will take place following the first three business forums during AEF between the Kazakh and foreign companies. A number of exclusive events are scheduled as part of AEF 2012 - briefing "Dialogue of leaders: new financial and economic policy," CNN televised debate on "Rethinking Integration: Lessons for Emerging Markets", debates of the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists - "Creating a single world currency", televised debates of Kazakhstan TV - "G-Global" and Food Security", lecture for the Nobel Prize winners. The traditional result of the Astana Economic Forum will be recommendations for governments, which will be sent to the secretariats of the UN, IMF, World Bank, the organizing committee of the G20 summit, and other influential international organizations.

May 23

Azerbaijani, French cities sign memoranda of understanding

An Azerbaijani delegation of officials and businessmen took part in a wine festival in the French city of Auxerre. The festival "Vine flowers of Auxerre" was attended by around 20,000 people and was held on May 18-21. Only Azerbaijan was involved in the festival this year as a guest of honor from foreign countries. At the site, dedicated to the country, the Azerbaijani wines were exposed and opportunity was provided to get acquainted with the cuisine and music of the country. As part of the visit the delegation of Azerbaijan visited the vineyards and wine production facilities, where the parties shared experiences.

During the visit, the Azerbaijani cities of Ganja, Shamkir, Goygol and Balaken and the Supreme Council of the Joigny community of Burgundy signed a memorandum of understanding.The organizers of the visit were the Azerbaijani Embassy in France and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation.

Lithuanian capital market experience to be presented in Baku

On May 24, 2012 the delegation of the Lithuanian Brokers Association, within the framework of its visit to Azerbaijan, will conduct a meeting with Baku Stock Exchange, the exchange members and several issuer companies.

The delegation will be comprised of the management of the Association as well as the heads of the Lithuanian brokerage companies, investment banks, angel funds and private investors. The guests will deliver a presentation at the meeting about the Lithuanian capital market experience.

May 24

Trains from Azerbaijan to Russia, delayed due to explosion on railway are to resume services

The movement of the Baku-St Petersburg and Baku-Tyumen train will soon resume, head of the press-service of JSC Azerbaijan Railways Nadir Azmammadov said on Thursday, commenting on the undermining of an explosive device under a freight train on the Aci Izberbash stretch in Dagestan (Russia). The explosion in Dagestan occurred at 08:10 Moscow time.

Azmammadov said the Baku-St Petersburg train has been stationary at the site of the explosion for two hours and the Baku-Tyumen train for about 40 minutes.

"Currently law enforcement agencies and repairers are working at the site. Traffic will be restored in the near future," Azmammadov said. The Baku-Moscow train will arrive at the site at 17:57 Baku time, which means it should arrive in the capital at 6:10 on May 25.

Azerbaijani operators allowed to use frequencies to deploy LTE network

All three GSM operators in Azerbaijan are permitted to use necessary frequencies for the deployment of the network LTE (Long Term Evolution), head of the regulation department of the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry Aliyar Tamirov said at a press conference on the presentation of the Azercell Telekom 4G network.

He said it allows all three players of the mobile market of Azerbaijan to start rendering services in the fourth generation (4G) standard.

"Last year, after 3G licenses have been issued to operators, the Ministry took a decision and announced about a need to take measures to deploy the 4G network. Thanks to this decision it was decided to allow all three operators to use appropriate frequency for the deployment of the LTE network," Tamirov said.

Accounting Chamber of Azerbaijan approves bill on budget amending

The Accounting Chamber of Azerbaijan discussed and approved the conclusion of the draft law on amendments to the state budget for 2012, the Chamber said in a statement issued yesterday. The Chamber focused on the analysis of macroeconomic indicators over the past period in 2012, and the factors affecting the economy, as well as the study of issues that make it necessary to adjust the income and expenditure of budget.

Office of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Azerbaijan to become headquarters for Cooperation with CIS

Office of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which will serve as the headquarters for Cooperation with the CIS will open in Azerbaijan, Deputy Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Shehhi said at a meeting with Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev. He also stressed the importance attached to cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Al-Shehhi said the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest constituent of the Chambers of Commerce of the United Arab Emirates.

Director General of Dubai Chamber Hamad Buamin said the Chamber includes 133 employees working in more than 100 countries.

He said the main reasons for opening a representative office in Azerbaijan is the formation of cooperation between countries at a high level, political and macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, favorable business and investment environment.

During its visit to Azerbaijan, the delegation from the UAE will hold meetings in a number of government agencies. During meetings held with Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and Azerbaijan Investment Company the UAE delegation was presented investment opportunities of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan to assist in hydrocarbon exploration in Saudi Arabia

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Soroof International (Saudi Arabia) in Baku signed a memorandum of understanding and long term projects in the petroleum sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The memorandum was signed by SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev and Prince Bander Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Saud.

The contract will be prepared within a month, Abdullayev said after the signing ceremony. A joint venture in which SOCAR will have 75 per cent equity will operate in Saudi Arabia in the coming months.

The contract includes the work of SOCAR in the oil and gas sector of Saudi Arabia and in particular the exploration of gas structures and the geological, geophysical and other works in which SOCAR has considerable experience.

Al-Saud stressed that currently Saudi Arabia aims to attract foreign companies in the exploration and development of advanced gas structures.

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