Last week review (May 6 – 10)

May 6

Azerbaijan to double share of alternative and renewable energy sources

The share of alternative and renewable energy sources will be doubled up to 20 per cent in Azerbaijan by 2020, deputy head of the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources Jamil Melikov said at the symposium 'Risk insurance in alternative and renewable energy sources'.

He said that almost a half - 9.7 per cent of all alternative energy sources will fall to renewable.

Melikov said at present, the State Agency is preparing a database of the energy potential of the country's regions which will help attract investors.

Fitch Affirms Azerenergy JSC at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable

'Fitch Ratings' international rating agency affirmed Azerenergy JSC's Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB-' with a Stable Outlook and short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F3', Fitch Ratings reported in its statement.

Azerenergy JSC's ratings and Outlook are aligned with those of the Republic of Azerbaijan (BBB-/Stable/F3), reflecting its strong legal, strategic and operational ties with the Azerbaijan state, the statement says.

CBA: Breeding ground for new economic policy formed in Azerbaijan

A breeding ground for the implementation of a new paradigm of development of Azerbaijan, namely growth strategy in foreign markets, is being formed today, an article by the chairman of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) Elman Rustamov published in the Azerbaijan Banks Association's magazine 'Banks and business' says.

"Today, with the start of the structural transformation of the global economy, countries with economies of a small and medium volume seek development opportunities in foreign markets. Partial modification of the model of the Chinese economy and the change in its focus on the domestic market creates opportunities to export to other countries. These conditions form a breeding ground for the implementation of a new paradigm of development in Azerbaijan," Rustamov said.

According to him, the experience of countries that have achieved success in the export-oriented development shows that such a model requires the production and export of at least 70 per cent of products under international commodity classification and in general, an output of 50-70 per cent of GDP to foreign markets.

"Today, the total non-oil export of goods and services in Azerbaijan exceeds $6 billion. Apart from the production of goods, the services sector also has the potential and advantages to become a significant export cluster," Rustamov said.

Azerbaijan hosts international conference on "E-government: innovations in customs"

Gabala hosted the fifth anniversary International Scientific Conference on "E-government: innovations in customs". Some 102 representatives from 55 world countries attended it.

The conference was held to discuss the global practice in developing and using the e-government, modern forms of cooperation between public organizations in the field of e-governance, using the information and communication technologies in the field of customs and other areas of the economy, as well as examining the current situation on innovative methods of governance and exchanging the experience in this area.

New state program for e-government development prepared in Azerbaijan

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan has prepared a draft State program for the development of "e-government" for 2013-2015, the head of the department for the development of the information society of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies Isbyandiyar Aliyev said.

According to Aliyev, the project was submitted to the government, and works on the implementation of all activities envisaged by it will begin upon its approval.

"The approval of the program is expected in June 2013," Aliyev said.

Belarusian and Azerbaijani MPs consider perspective cooperation in IT field

Cooperation in the field of IT can be one of the most promising directions for the development of relations between Belarus and Azerbaijan, head of the working group of the National Assembly of Belarus on cooperation with the Parliament of Azerbaijan Nikolay Samoseyko said at a meeting with the head of the working group on inter-parliamentary relations of the Milli Mejlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan with the Parliament of Belarus Ziyad Samadzadeh, BELTA reported.

Nikolay Samoseyko noted that, in his view, the cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan does not require additional impetus, but there are still niches that have to be filled. For example, in the field of IT technologies in which Belarus has already created a decent base, as well as in agriculture.

May 7

President: Future development of Azerbaijan's economy looks very attractive

The private sector is very strong, and future development of Azerbaijan, from the economic point of view, also seems to be very attractive, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said during the first South Caucasus Forum in Baku.

"The Azerbaijani government managed to implement the economic reforms," the President said. 'The transition period from point of view of economic development is over, and now 83 percent of our economy is produced in private sector."

The President noted that currently, main part of attention goes towards country's non- energy sector, and diversification of economy.

"The first 3 months of 2013 were marked with enormous growth in non-energy sector, which is more than 11 percent.

"Azerbaijan has very preferable conditions for foreign companies to make investments in the country," the President said.

May 8

Baku's energy operator prepares for implementation of major projects in capital

Bakielektrikshebeke JSC (distribution and sale of electricity in Baku) has launched large-scale works in connection with the implementation of mega-projects in Baku and other major plans, according to the article by the head of JSC Baba Rzayev, published in the "Khalq Gazeti" newspaper.

In particular, the article says work on large projects such as "White City", "Green City" (amongst others) has begun in the capital.

"In connection with the establishment of the industrial park in Garadagh as well as preparation for the first European Olympic Games in Azerbaijan in 2015, Bakielektrikshebeke has launched large-scale works," Rzayev said.

Sri Lanka interested in energy cooperation with Azerbaijan

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov paid a visit to Sri Lanka and met with the Petroleum Industries Minister of this country Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, the Foreign Ministry's Press Service reported in its statement.

The possibilities of cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector were discussed at the meeting. The Petroleum Minister emphasized the interest of Sri Lanka in cooperation with Azerbaijan in this sphere. It was also noted that Azerbaijan has a rich experience in the field of training oil and gas industry specialists.

May 9

Kabardino-Balkaria offers Azerbaijan opportunity to increase trade and investment

Seven industrial enterprises of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria of the Russian Federation have submitted a proposal on possible cooperation with Azerbaijani companies that provide for the delivery of finished products as well as the establishment of joint ventures, the Azerbaijan Fund for Export and Investment Promotion's (AZPROMO) report published on its website said.

Russian companies also offer Azerbaijan the possibility of a joint venture in Kabardino-Balkaria for bottling drinking and mineral water.

The organisation of visits of Azerbaijani delegations to the modern enterprises of Kabardino-Balkaria on milk processing (Nalchik Dairy Combine LLC) and poultry (Veles-Agro LLC) are being offered in terms of an exchange of experience.

The possibility of attracting investors from Azerbaijan to invest in the Nalchik resort complex for major repairs or construction of a modern health centre is also under consideration.

May 10

Cost of new Baku master plan announced

According to preliminary estimates, the expected cost of the Greater Baku Master Plan may cost as much as 4-5 billion manat by 2030, head of the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture Abbas Alasgarov told journalists.

"The World Bank has come to a positive conclusion on the feasibility of the project," he said.

The project is being prepared together with U.S consulting group Kay Miller on economic development, Angelo de Urso of Italy on urban planning, Eptisa of Spain on environmental issues and Baki Dovlet Layihe Institutu design institute.

According to the plan, Baku's housing space will increase by 30 million square meters and will reach 65 million square meters by 2030. The city's population in this period will increase to 3.325 million people.

Greater Baku will include Baku and 11 surrounding districts, as well Sumgayit, Absheron and Khirdalan. Its total area will be about 250,000 hectares.

CBA prepares requirements to expand transparency of consumer loans

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) has prepared documentation for banks concerning their justification of interest rates on consumer loans, the CBA chairman Elman Rustamov said.

In accordance with these requirements, the data on interest rates will be reflected in more detailed and transparent way.

Rustamov explained these measures are implemented to ensure banks do not make use of the population's financial illiteracy and provide them with complete and transparent information substantiating the real interest rate on the loans provided.

Today, banks provide financial services to citizens at an average rate of 28-32 per cent. The effective rate reaches 40 per cent per annum.

EBRD expects acceleration of Azerbaijan's economic growth

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects the acceleration of the economic growth in Azerbaijan in 2013.

According to EBRD's regional economic prospects report, after successfully weathering the financial crisis, Azerbaijan's economy has slowed as the pace of oil extraction decelerated.

However, according to the report, the decline of oil output has been more than offset by the encouraging growth of the non-oil sector, led by construction and services.

According to the Bank's report, immediate macroeconomic risks continue to be mitigated by a very strong fiscal position including from oil reserves.

EBRD predicts Azerbaijan's GDP growth at 3.5 percent in 2013 and 4 percent in 2014 compared to 2.2 percent in 2012. The inflation, according to the Bank's forecasts, will amount to 3.4 percent in 2013 compared to 0.7 percent in 2012.

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