Ilham Aliyev received delegation of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

03 march 2020, 11:00

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Jurgen Rigterink.

Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- You are welcome! I am very glad to see you. I hope that your visit is very productive. As you know, I had the opportunity to meet with President Chakrabarti during the Davos forum, discuss upcoming plans and review the work done. We are very satisfied with the level of cooperation. The portfolio for Azerbaijan is in excess of $3.5 billion. I am told that this covers more than 170 projects. The good point is that the private sector accounts for half of them. I think that this is also a very good indicator of diversification of the Azerbaijani economy because the private sector in Azerbaijan is concentrated in this area. We are working to help them become competitive. We are glad that our non-energy exports are growing. This is an indicator of diversification. Of course, we have to do more. We are also grateful to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the strong support provided for our infrastructure projects at the right time. However, most of them have already been completed successfully. I want to express my special gratitude to you for your support of the Southern Gas Corridor. Recently, as part of the 6th meeting of the Advisory Council, we reviewed the work done during the year and upcoming plans. Thus, our partnership has always been very positive, as we have focused on the specific needs of the Azerbaijani economy at different times. I believe that this is also a good indicator of a very flexible approach aimed at the final result. Of course, over the years of our cooperation, Azerbaijan has changed a lot in all areas, including the economy. Therefore, the challenges and goals we are facing today are different from those we faced 10 years ago. Thus, our main goal is to develop the private sector, the non-energy economy, the green economy, and industrial production. We have probably reached the highest level of industrial production in the non-energy sector. Last year, it amounted to about 15 percent. In January this year, the figures are about the same. Thus, this indicates that infrastructure projects, as well as government support for entrepreneurship, have created a very positive investment environment. You know about our reforms from the Doing Business report. We are among top 20 most reforming countries. However, a lot still remains to be done. Therefore, I think that in the coming period – we are beginning 2020 with good results – just like before, we must plan on our short- and long-term steps and strategies properly in order to receive the same support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. I am sure that all your connections will help us to achieve this goal. Welcome again.

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First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Jurgen Rigterink expressed his satisfaction with the long-standing relations between the bank he represents and Azerbaijan. Noting that the bank has so far invested more than $3.3 billion in the country, Jurgen Rigterink also said that the current investment portfolio is $1.1 billion.

Remembering the meeting of President Ilham Aliyev with the Executive Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Davos, he emphasized that the words of the Azerbaijani head of state on climate change and activities towards reducing external debt had aroused interest. Giving a high assessment to the economic reforms carried out in Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Jurgen Rigterink pointed to good opportunities for implementing joint projects in the country and expanding cooperation.

During the conversation, the sides stressed the need for discussing specific areas of cooperation in the field of renewable energy, transport, private sector development, land reclamation and water supply, and other areas.

During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the prospects for expanding cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.