Baku, Azerbaijan, June 24, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with the Swiss Confederation's
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to launch the second phase
of the Azerbaijan Corporate Governance Project. IFC will work with companies
and banks to further improve their corporate governance practices and minimize
their portfolio risk. IFC will also work with educational institutions
to strengthen corporate governance training and with the government to
improve the regulatory environment. A public education campaign will
help increase awareness and enhance the media’s capacity to cover the
The first phase of the project achieved considerable results:
-Two ministerial decrees for improving corporate governance and investor
protection were issued.
-A multiagency taskforce to help improve the legislative framework for
corporate governance was established by the government.
-An external audit regulation for commercial banks was drafted by IFC and
adopted by the National Bank of Azerbaijan.
-Clients attracted $17.9 million in investment by improving their practices.
“Our cooperation with IFC has been very fruitful. Several joint events,
as well as support for translating the OECD Guidelines on Corporate
Governance for State-owned Enterprises, are examples of such cooperation.
It is indeed good news that IFC is helping launch the project’s second
phase, because it will be of great value to us. We look forward to a long-term
partnership,” said Sanan Tapdigov, Director of Corporate Governance Division
at Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economic Development.
“For SECO, partnering with IFC to finance
projects like this means helping improve the country’s investment climate.
Sound corporate governance practices foster private sector and capital
markets development, helping reduce poverty. This is our main strategic
objective. Phase one was so successful that we are excited about phase
two,” said Nailya Safarova, National Program Officer, Swiss Cooperation
Office for the South Caucasus at the Embassy of Switzerland.
“The demand to improve corporate governance practices in Azerbaijan is
increasing rapidly, as demonstrated by the establishment of a multiagency
taskforce. IFC will help Azerbaijani companies attract more investment
and contribute to developing the private sector, which is an important
part of IFC's strategy. Phase two will build on the achievements so far
and include new tasks that will help improve corporate governance systems
and practices,” said Caroline Bright, IFC Project Manager.
The three-year project builds on IFC’s expertise in Central Asia, Eastern
Europe, and the Caucusus. It is funded by SECO.
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 1996. To date, IFC has invested
$266 million from its own funds and $104 million from syndications in 37
projects in the country and has implemented advisory projects in banking,
corporate governance, leasing, SME development, housing finance, securities
market development, investment promotion, and business environment.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is the Swiss Confederation's
competence center for all the core issues related to economic policy. Its
aim is to create basic regulatory and economic policy conditions to enable
business to flourish and benefit all. SECO also represents Switzerland
in the large multilateral trade organizations and international negotiations,
and is involved in efforts to reduce poverty and help developing countries
with transition economies build sustainable democratic societies and viable
market economies. Each year, Switzerland spends about 1.9 billion francs
on development cooperation and transition assistance to countries.