Baku, Azerbaijan, August 19, 2008—Lars
Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, a member of the World
Bank Group, and Heydar Babayev, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economic Development,
this week signed a memorandum of understanding to help improve the country’s
business environment and ensure sustainable and diversified economic growth.
The IFC Azerbaijan Business Enabling
Environment Project, launched jointly with the government, will be implemented
in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and
BP on behalf of its partners. IFC will work with the government to reduce
the regulatory burden on private businesses, as well as advise the Ministry
of Economic Development in identifying the impact of regulation on private
companies and fostering dialogue between the government and private sector.
“Our priorities are clear: diversification
and sustainability. We need to create an environment where the overall
burden of work for businesses and the government is reduced, creating more
opportunities for a vibrant and competitive private sector. Azerbaijan
has realized consistent economic reforms, and we cooperate actively with
IFC in promoting private sector development, which is crucial for their
implementation,” said Babayev.
Drawing on experience across the region,
IFC will also help the government analyze the national system of permits
and licenses. Other efforts will include helping increase entrepreneurs’
awareness of their legal rights and promoting private sector involvement
in reforms through public education campaigns, advocacy work, and the launch
of the IFC SME Toolkit, an online portal.
“A strong business environment is crucial
for economic growth, job creation, and further investment in Azerbaijan,”
“Working with IFC, other countries
in the region have reduced business formalities by more than a third. This
is also a realistic target that Azerbaijan can achieve. It will help the
country become a leading reformer and remain attractive to national and
foreign investors,” said Aliya Azimova, IFC Country Officer for Azerbaijan.
Through its business enabling environment
work in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, IFC has helped governments amend
or enact 11 major laws and regulations that have led to $93 million in
cost savings for small and medium enterprises. IFC also helped draft or
amend 83 others that have been adopted by governments. IFC’s surveys of
smaller businesses have provided policymakers with detailed recommendations
for improvements. As of July 2007, 161 survey recommendations have been
adopted by various governments.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people should
have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07,
IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
Azerbaijan became a member of IFC in
1995. To date, IFC has invested more than $300 million from its own funds
and over $104 million from syndications in nearly 40 projects in the country.
IFC has also implemented advisory projects in banking, corporate governance,
leasing, SME development, housing finance, securities market development,
investment promotion, and business environment.
For more information about IFC’s
partners, please visit: