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Investing in Azerbaijan– Gateway to the Newly Independent States Conference, May 7-9, 2003


Corrie Shanahan
Phone: +1-202-473-2258

Fax: +1-202-974-4384

E-mail:
cshanahan@ifc.org


Washington D.C., March 19, 2003—“Investing in Azerbaijan—Gateway to the Newly Independent States,” is an international investors’ conference to be held from May 7 to 9, 2003 in Baku, Azerbaijan.  The Conference will explore investment opportunities in the non-oil sectors of Azerbaijan - agribusiness, textiles, manufacturing, infrastructure, financial services and oil-related products/services.

Speakers will discuss the country’s economic reforms over the past decade, how those reforms are gradually improving the climate for business in Azerbaijan, and investment experiences and opportunities in non-oil sectors of the economy. Presentations will be made by high-level government officials, key representatives of leading international financing institutions (such as IBRD, EBRD and OPIC), local business people and international entrepreneurs with experience investing in Azerbaijan.  


The Conference will present a unique opportunity to meet with high-level government representatives in charge of attracting investments to Azerbaijan. Participants will be able to network with local entrepreneurs, and international business people interested in Azerbaijan and the region in general, and establish useful business links.  They will also be able to tour factories of foreign companies operating successfully in the country.


The Conference is being jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) of Azerbaijan, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) of Switzerland.  The Swiss Organization for Facilitating Investments (SOFI) is the organizer of the Conference on behalf of the sponsors.


Speaking about the Conference, the Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan, Mr. Farhad Aliyev, said: “Azerbaijan is an attractive investment destination not just for the oil sector, but for other sectors as well. The government is making serious and continuous efforts to open up the economy and to establish a regulatory framework, which is favorable to foreign investors.  While challenges exist, we are actively pursuing reforms to create a healthy business climate.  We would like foreign investors to join us and to explore together the opportunities, which Azerbaijan has to offer.  There is a lot more to Azerbaijan than just oil!”


Discussing his participation at the Conference, Mr. David Syz, State Secretary of Switzerland noted: "Based on Switzerland's in-depth knowledge of Azerbaijan, a country we represent in the Bretton Woods institutions, we believe that there is significant potential for investment in the non-oil sectors of the Azeri economy. Leading Swiss companies already operate in Azerbaijan and we intend to further support and promote Swiss and international investment in sectors other than oil. The conference is an important step in bringing these investment opportunities to the attention of international investors."


Mr. Khosrow Zamani, Director, Southern Europe and Central Asia at IFC said: “IFC supports efforts made by the Azeri government to promote foreign direct investment in the non-oil sectors given the importance of diversifying the country’s economic and employment base to improve living standards of people not linked to the oil sector.  Recognizing that much still remains to be accomplished, IFC will continue to help deepen economic reforms in the country and develop a sustainable private sector by working closely with the Government and other international institutions and businesses.  The Conference will be an opportunity for the participants to discover Azerbaijan’s potential and a forum for discussions on steps that must be taken by the Government to unleash the potential of the private sector in reducing poverty in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the people of Azerbaijan”.


For detailed information about the conference and to register, please visit the conference website:
www.invest-in-azerbaijan.com.



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The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group. IFC’s mission is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.  IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.


The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) is the Swiss government agency responsible for economic and labor questions.  seco offers its services in a variety of areas including world trade, economic integration in the European Market, development cooperation with developing countries and economies in transition, promotion activities to strengthen Switzerland's international competitiveness as an economic center.  It is also responsible for Switzerland's economic relations with various countries and regions.