Last week review (Aug. 17-21)

Analysis Materials 24 August 2015 17:17 (UTC +04:00)

Aug. 18

Top official: Azerbaijan ready to provide all available experience to create Int'l Turkic News Channel

The need for a common information space in the Turkic world for quickly responding to developments, taking place not only in the region but also in the world as a whole, lies at the heart of creation of the International Turkic News Channel, said Ali Hasanov, Azerbaijani president's aide for public and political affairs, head of the presidential administration's public and political affairs department.

Trend's reporter said that Hasanov made the remarks in Astana at a press conference held after a meeting of the Information Ministers and Executives in Charge of Media of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTSS). Hasanov said the idea of creating ​​a channel, which was proposed by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been supported by the leaders of Turkic states.

He added that the new channel will allow confronting the monopoly in the field of news and information, and to offer own story of the developments that are taking place.

Hasanov also noted that Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed a joint document in Astana in connection with the creation of the channel.

"We believe that now it is the time to enhance cooperation in the field of information and media of our countries, in particular - to sign a memorandum between the national channels and information agencies," said Hasanov. "In this regard, the efforts and coordination of work in this sphere are very important for us. Four Turkic-speaking states, represented here, have decided to create a common news channel."

Hasanov also underscored that Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev support this initiative.

"The country is ready to provide all the available experience in the economic, socio-political sphere to bring overall benefits to the Turkic-speaking states, for the work of news agencies and national channels," said Hasanov.

Azerbaijani president's aide also expressed confidence that after this the image of the Turkic world in the eyes of international community will rise and the creation of the common channel will positively impact the developments taking place in the region, and around the world.

"The International Turkic News Channel will convey the developments taking place not only in the four countries creating it, but also in neighboring countries such as Russia, Iran," said Hasanov.

He underscored that the developments taking place in these countries will be covered impartially and independently.

Central Bank of Azerbaijan lowers rates on interbank payments

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan has twice lowered the tariffs for interbank payments made through the AZIPS system (national interbank real time payment system), the CBA said.

By its other decision, the CBA introduced changes to tariffs for spending cash, according to the message. So, 0.15 percent tariff, applied to large denomination bank notes (50 and 100 manats), has been eliminated. Tariffs for the secondary, subsequent withdrawal and receipt of cash during the day were established at 0.05 percent.

"These solutions are aimed at encouraging a decrease in interest rates," said the message. "The solutions will support optimization of operating costs of banks and reduction of prime cost of financial resources."

The CBA also made a number of decisions, which will serve to strengthening corporate social responsibility, while at the same time they will encourage financial lending institutions to offer products that meet the needs of consumers.

Aug. 19

Stadler speed train delivered to Baku

The third of five speed trains, purchased by Azerbaijan Railways CJSC at the Stadler Minsk plant, has been delivered to Baku, Nadir Azmammadov, spokesman for Azerbaijan Railways, said.

He said that these trains are designed for passenger transportation via the Baku-Sumgait route.

"Moreover, three of five trains purchased in Riga for the Keshla-Yalama line, are already in Baku," Azmammadov said.

Stadler double-decker train is designed for 919 passengers. It is equipped with an air-conditioning system. This train will have Wi-Fi in the future.

Earlier, Azmammadov said that the fee at the Baku-Sumgait electric train could hit 50 or 70 Azerbaijani qepik.

Earlier, the Baku-Sumgait-Bilajari electric trains reached the destination point within one hour 22 minutes. This time will be reduced up to 40 minutes after reconstruction.

At present, the Baku-Zabrat-Sumgait trains reach the destination point within one hour 29 minutes.

After the reconstruction of the ways, this time will be reduced up to 52 minutes.

Azerbaijan expands dry cargo fleet in international waters

The Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company has increased the number of vessels engaged in cargo transportation outside the Caspian Sea, the company said.

Garadagh bulk carrier with a carrying capacity of 3,000 metric tons was jacked up through the Volga-Don Canal to the Azov Sea, where it reaches the Black Sea.

"Thus, it became the third vessel involved outside the Caspian Sea after Uzeyir Hajibeyli and Natavan dry cargo ships. It will also carry dry cargo in the Mediterranean basin."

Aug. 20

New head of Intelligent Transport Management Center appointed in Azerbaijan

Rufat Imanov has been appointed director general of the Intelligent Transport Management Center of the Azerbaijani transport ministry, a source in the Azerbaijani transport ministry said.

According to other order, signed earlier by Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov, former director general of the Intelligent Transport Management Center Elnur Abdullayev was appointed head of the State Road Transport Service.

Earlier, Imanov worked as the head of the public relations and innovative development department in this center.

Iran, Azerbaijan to establish joint bank - minister

Iran and Azerbaijan discuss creation of a joint bank and the opening of branches of the two countries' banks in Baku and Tehran, Mahmoud Vaezi, minister of communications and information technology of Iran, co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

He said the branches of the new bank will operate in both Azerbaijan and Iran. Vaezi went on to add that several private banks of Iran are interested in entering the banking market of Azerbaijan.

The two countries have limitations in the banking sector now, therefore, cooperation between banks isn't at an appropriate level yet, Vaezi said.

"There is a branch of Bank Melli Iran in Azerbaijan, but it is not active," the minister said, adding that preliminary talks on these issues were already held, and it is expected that they will be resolved during the visit of the head of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Elman Rustamov to Iran.

Vaezi didn't mention the exact date of the visit.

He also touched upon the topic of Iranian money blocked in the accounts of Azerbaijani banks, which amounts to about $200 million.

"The representatives of the banking sector of Azerbaijan and Iran are discussing the use of this capital," he said. "A part of these funds is planned to be directed to the oil sector, and this was discussed during my last visit to Baku. Another part of the funds was directed to increase the capital of Bank Melli Iran."

Vaezi said that the expansion of cooperation in the banking sector is necessary for the further development of trade relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.

"Currently, the trade turnover between our countries is about $500 million," the minister said. "I think that it's not a very good indicator for the two neighboring countries and peoples so close to each other. Azerbaijan and Iran have set a goal to increase this figure four times, up to $2 billion."

Today, there are 43 banks operating in Azerbaijan and 28 banks in Iran.

Aug. 21

IFC increases funding for Azerbaijani business

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided Azerbaijani AccessBank with a subordinated loan worth $ 25 million to stimulate small business lending, IFC said. IFC's support will help the bank to increase the number of micro, small and medium enterprises, served by the bank, the statement said.

"Such enterprises are the key sources of employment and innovation," the statement said. "But they often face with a limited access to loans and other forms of financing. This support is expected to contribute to the development of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector and promote the country's sustainable development."

"We warmly welcome IFC's support which is our shareholder and a close partner," Michael Hoffmann, AccessBank General Manager, said. "The allocated funds will be delivered to the micro, small and medium businesses through an extensive network of our branches for these businesses to further stimulate the economy of Azerbaijan."

As of July 1, 2015, AccessBank's assets totaled 1.16 billion manat, of which 722 million manat - in foreign currency. The total loan portfolio exceeded 840.4 million manat, deposit portfolio - 282.6 million manat. The total capital amounts to 158.7 million manat.

AccessBank was founded in 2002 by BSTDB, EBRD, IFC, KfW, the German consulting company LFS Financial Systems (LFS) and Access Holding.

The bank concentrates on lending to small and medium businesses. It has a wide branch network through Azerbaijan and employs over 2,000 people.

Fitch upgraded AccessBank's rating up to Investment Grade "BBB-" with "Stable" outlook in 2014. Azerbaijan has been cooperating with IFC since 1995. IFC's portfolio on Azerbaijan exceeds $400 million, which have been allocated for the implementation of more than 70 projects.

Aug. 22

Azerbaijan's satellite surveying RSA territory

The SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 (AzerSky) Direct Receiving Station (DRS) was installed at South African National Space Agency (SANSA), according to a post on the website of the Airbus Defence and Space.

The SPOT 7, named AzerSky, was transferred to Azerbaijan's control in line with an agreement singed Dec. 2, 2014 between Azerbaijan's AzerCosmos and France's Airbus Defence and Space. Under the agreement, the Azersky and SPOT 6, belonging to the French company, will be used jointly to provide high quality services.

The Airbus Defence and Space said the SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 DRS installed at SANSA premises allowed covering the entire country, or 1,221,000 square kilometers, at 1.5 meters resolution in just three months. The Azersky and SPOT 6 can carry out daily surveying of a six million square-kilometer area of the Earth surface.

The SPOT 6 was launched Sept. 9, 2012, and AzerSky (SPOT 7) on June 30, 2014.