Last week review (April 15-19)

Analysis Materials 23 April 2013 16:58 (UTC +04:00)

April 15

Azerbaijani President receives Astrium CEO and Director of International Development at EADS

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received President and CEO of Astrium company Francois Auque and Director of International Development at European Aeronautic Defense and Space company Jean-Pierre Talamoni.

Ambassador: Israel and Azerbaijan enjoy wonderful relations

Israel and Azerbaijan enjoy wonderful relation, close cooperation and partnership in many areas, Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz said.

According to him, the two countries have good trade relations that are constantly expanding.
"Azerbaijan and Israel have three billion dollars trade turnover and we are going to do it more. Economic cooperation covers the areas of water management, medical technologies, telecommunications, agriculture," Harpaz said.

According to him, Israel is making efforts to develop trade ties. Significant cooperation is also observed in the field of energy.

Israel has recently discovered gas fields on land and intends to use the experience of Azerbaijan in this sphere.

April 16

Tajikistan learns about Azerbaijan's pension insurance experience

Tajikistan intends to learn about Azerbaijan's experience in reforming the pension insurance system, a statement made at a meeting with a Tajik delegation and Chairman of the Azerbaijani State Social Protection Fund Salim Muslimov said.

The decision over Tajikistan's learning Azerbaijan's experience in the development of the pension insurance system and implementation of reforms was made within the EU twinning project.

Muslimov said that Azerbaijan's experience in this field has been chosen as a successful model among those implemented with the support of the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. The model can be useful for countries with a transitional economy.

Tajikistan appealed to the Azerbaijani State Social Protection Fund to allow it to examine the experience of reforming the pension insurance provision, introducing the information and communication technology in the field of administrative governance and human resources development.

Azerbaijani President attends opening of motor-road in Hajigabul

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of Gubaly-Baloglan-Pir Huseyn motor-road in Hajigabul region.

Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov briefed President Ilham Aliyev on the construction of the Gubaly-Baloglan-Pir Huseyn road which will provide comfort not only for inhabitants but also for visitors of Xanagahi Historical-Architectural Reserve.

Ceramic Slab Production Plant inaugurated in Hajigabul region

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev participated at the inauguration of the Ceramic Slab Plant at the Gilan Ceramics Park in Hajigabul.

President Ilham Aliyev was informed that another facility - new ceramic-magnetic plant will be built in the area.

Azerbaijan's strategic currency reserves hit $48 billion

Strategic currency reserves of Azerbaijan has increased by 2.6 percent compared to the beginning of 2013 to $48 billion and this is sufficient to finance three-year import, Azerbaijani Minister of Taxes Fazil Mammadov said at a meeting of the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers to discuss the results of the country's socio-economic development in the first quarter of 2013.

"This is one of the main indexes in the world scale from the point of economic security," he noted.

April 17

Kazakhstan ready to create right conditions for Azerbaijani investments

Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan has reached $450 million which does not meet the existing potential between the two countries, Aktau's mayor Edil Zhanbyrshin said.

"Today, we see opportunities for investment. I think the presence of Azerbaijani companies in Kazakhstan may be increased particularly in the energy sector, the field of food security, ecology, recycling of household waste, production of various consumer goods and other areas," Zhanbyrshin said.

"Kazakhstan will present its experience of creating special economic zones an example being the free economic zone in Aktau," he said.

According to him, Kazakhstan is ready to create the necessary investment climate for Azerbaijani companies and there is a potential for their activities both in the city of Aktau and in the region.

"Currently, there are about 100 Azerbaijani enterprises operating in Aktau along with the Kazakh side," the mayor said.

The Kazakh delegation also visited the Sumgait Technology Park.

Azerbaijan to create logistic centres in Kazakhstan

Azerbaijan is going to create logistic centres in Kazakhstan, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan Niyazi Safarov said at the Azerbaijani-Kazakh business forum in Baku.

According to him, the president set a task of expanding foreign economic relations and for this purpose Azerbaijan is using a variety of functional means.

According to Safarov, these include the creation of logistic centres in foreign countries, including Kazakhstan which will promote further activation of relations between the countries.

ADB announces plans to expand areas of financing projects in Azerbaijan

The new partnership strategy of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with the government of Azerbaijan for 2013-2017 will be approved in October 2013, ADB's Resident Representative for Azerbaijan Olli Norojono said.

"Currently, the strategy is undergoing the final approval procedure and is under the intra-examination", Norojono said.

The head of ADB's Baku office noted the possibility of the bank's participation in the financing of new areas such as solid waste management, alternative and renewable sources of energy, modernization of railway transport and urban public transport under the strategy.

"There are currently two ADB missions in Baku - one in transport, the other in water supply," Norojono said.

At present, the ADB has seven active projects in Azerbaijan with a current portfolio of $990 million. 46 percent of the portfolio falls to the transport sector, 16 percent - to the energy sector, 36 percent - to city services, that is, improvement of water supply, sanitation, and so on.

Japan allocates new grant to Azerbaijan

The Japanese government has allocated a grant worth 777 million yen or $7.45 million to Azerbaijan to upgrade the equipment for the reclamation and irrigation. The grant agreement was signed in Baku.

The funds will be allocated within the total grant assistance program of the Japanese government.

Around 30 excavators, bulldozers and other equipment designed for reclamation and irrigation will be purchased for these funds.

SOFAZ increases number of foreign managers

According to the consolidated statement of the financial activities of the State Oil Fund audited by Ernst & Young, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) chose State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) as its investment managers, thereby increasing the number of its foreign managers to five.

'The agreements with the new managers were signed in 2012 before that the fund's assets were managed by Deutsche Asset Management International GmbH, Credit Suisse and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD belongs to the World Bank Group)', the statement says.

According to the agreements, the financial institutions manage SOFAZ assets in accordance with its general investment rules.

Trading house of two European cities opened in Baku

Trading house of two European cities - Lommer (Belgium) and Bergeijk (Netherlands) were opened in Baku.

The opening ceremony was held within the official visit of mayors Peter Vanvelthoven and Driek Van De Vondervoort (he is also a representative of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands) to Azerbaijan.

Bresser Eurasia BV company head Leon Sweegers was appointed head of the trading houses.

April 18

Ambassador: Bilasuvar border checkpoint to work around clock

The Bilasuvar border checkpoint will work around the clock, Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakayin said, the Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan reported.

He said the town of Bilasuvar (Iran) and the border checkpoint will turn into a free economic zone.

"Bilasuvar will become a part of the Araz Free Economic Zone," he said. "An agreement has already been reached with the management of the Free Economic Zone."

After Bilasuvar (Iran) turns into the free economic zone, the operation period of the border checkpoint will increase and operate around the clock, he said.

Azerbaijan's Communication Ministry signs grant agreement within E-government project

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan signed a grant agreement worth $3.7 million with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea on the creation of training centres under the e-government project in Azerbaijan.

The project includes the creation of 15 training centres in the regions. These will be established in Ganja, Nakhchivan, Sumgait, Mingachevir, Barda, Lankaran, Gazakh, Zagatala, Imishli, Gabala, Goychay, Shirvan, Shamakhi, Guba and Sheki.

They will be equipped by South Korean experts. Training will be conducted for civil servants. Long distance education is also planned to be launched.

Azerbaijani State Oil Fund announces plans on real estate investment in 2013

The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) plans to invest about $1 billion in commercial real estate in one of the Asian countries by late 2013, SOFAZ said.

In particular, at present, the opportunities of investing in commercial real estate in Singapore, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia are being considered, SOFAZ said.

"The investments envisaged for this year are planned to be invested in commercial real estate of one of these countries," SOFAZ said.

SOFAZ said that around $ 600 million are planned to be invested in shares of the companies in developed countries. SOFAZ has not named the specific markets of investments.

AZPROMO and Chinese Council for Promotion of International trade sign agreement

The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Fund (AZPROMO) signed a memorandum of understanding in Baku.

The document was signed within the framework of the Azerbaijani-Chinese business forum held in Baku.

According to the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Niyazi Safarov, 69 companies with Chinese capital operate in Azerbaijan. They are mainly involved in trade, construction, agriculture and communications.

The business forum was attended by officials from both countries as well as representatives of companies representing the food industry, construction, production trucks, ICT, energy, logistics, processing and tourism.

April 19

Minister: Azerbaijan, Macedonia to sign agreement on investment protection

Azerbaijan and Macedonia will sign an agreement on the protection and promotion of mutual investments, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at an Azerbaijani-Macedonian business meeting. The agreement will be signed during Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's official visit to Azerbaijan.

He added that entrepreneurs working in the areas of agriculture, tourism, ICT and construction are attending a business meeting.

Gruevski said that the economy of the two countries is rapidly developing. This creates good opportunities for expanding mutual cooperation. The Macedonian prime minister invited Azerbaijani businessmen to examine the business opportunities in his country.

"There are relatively low tax rates in Macedonia," he said. "So a favourable business area was created. There are three free economic zones, as well as special tourism zones in the country. Their number will increase in the future."

Azerbaijan and Iran to intensify works on Aslanduz-Horadiz customs station

The intensification of work on the restoration of Aslandyuz-Goradiz border checkpoint will promote the enhancement of trade between Azerbaijan and Iran, Head of the State Customs Committee Aydin Aliyev said at a meeting with Iranian Ambassador Mohsun Pakayin.

The ambassador said that Iran has a positive attitude to the proposal for the restoration of the checkpoint and hopes that it will start functioning again in a few days.

Pakayin stressed the need for working meetings between the officera of border customs checkpoints of both countries, solution of the problems in the field of customs in place, as well as conducting joint trainings for studying of the customs legislations of the two countries.