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IFC and Swiss Government Launch Second Phase of Azerbaijan Corporate Governance Project


In Baku:
Rasmina Gurbatova
Tel: (+99412) 497 - 8981

E-mail:
RGurbatova@ifc.org

In Moscow:

Ilya Sverdlov

Tel: (+7495) 411-7555

E-mail:
ISverdlov@ifc.org


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 topic.

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.


About IFC

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.

 
About SECO

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.