January 26, 2005, Baku—The International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group,
announced today the launch of its Azerbaijan Corporate Governance Project.
The project will assist Azerbaijani joint stock companies, including banks,
to improve their corporate governance practices. The project is funded
by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (seco).
The project will work with companies on the issues of protecting shareholders’
rights, improving transparency and disclosure policies, and implementing
other best practices in corporate governance. To achieve these goals the
project will hold training events and seminars for managers and board members
The project will also work with the Azerbaijani government authorities
to improve the legislative framework related to corporate governance. In
this regard, the project will provide feedback to government authorities
on the effectiveness of the regulatory environment, assist in creating
a favorable legislative framework for joint stock companies, and facilitate
a public-private sector dialogue on regulatory and legislative issues related
to corporate governance. The main partners for these efforts include the
Azerbaijan Republic State Committee for Securities and the National Bank
In order to train the next generation of business professionals in corporate
governance, the project will work with educational institutions to help
them develop related curricula. It will also train instructors and
provide them with relevant course material.
IFC believes that sound corporate governance practices contribute to sustainable
economic development by enhancing the performance of companies and increasing
their access to outside capital. Christian Grossmann, Director of IFC’s
technical assistance programs in the former Soviet Union, remarked that
“the Azerbaijan Corporate Governance Project will substantially advance
the state of corporate governance in Azerbaijan, and we believe that our
work will be a significant contribution to the development of the Azerbaijani
A press conference to mark the official launch of the Azerbaijan Corporate
Governance Project was held on January 26, 2005. Speakers at the
press conference and the official ceremony on behalf of the Azerbaijani
government included Heydar Babayev, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Republic
Committee for Securities; Farhad Aliyev, Minister of Economic Development;
and Rufat Aslanli, Director of Banking Supervision Department of the National
Bank of Azerbaijan. Other speakers included IFC’s executives, representatives
from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, and the
project’s management and staff.
For the editor:
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector lending arm
of the World Bank Group. The mission of IFC (http://www.ifc.org/)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in emerging markets,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in transition and developing countries, mobilizes capital
in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and
environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice
to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04,
IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23
billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its
own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) is the Swiss Confederation’s
competence center for all the core issues related to the economic policy.
Its aim is to create the basic regulatory and economic policy conditions
to enable business to flourish for the benefit of all. Representing Switzerland
in multilateral trade organizations as well as in international negotiations,
seco is also involved in efforts to reduce poverty and help developing
countries with transition economies build a sustainable democratic society
and viable market economy. Each year Switzerland spends approximately 1.7
billion Swiss francs on economic development cooperation and transition
assistance to countries.