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IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Highlights Priorities for Azerbaijan


In Baku:
Rasmina Gurbatova
Phone: (+99412) 497-8981
E-mail: RGurbatova@ifc.org

In Moscow:
Ilya Sverdlov
Phone: (+7495) 411-7555
E-mail: ISverdlov@ifc.org

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 19, 2008—Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today said that IFC will expand its investment and advisory operations in Azerbaijan, focusing on developing the non-oil sector and improving the business environment.

During his first official visit to Azerbaijan, Thunell met with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev to seek the President’s view on how IFC can further support the the countries’ development priorities. He also discussed the government’s strategy for economic development beyond the oil industry with Abid Sharifov, Deputy Prime Minister and senior economic policymakers from the Ministry of Economic Development, the National Bank, the Ministry of Finance, and the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan.

“IFC’s investments in Azerbaijan have nearly quadrupled over the past two years, with more than 40 investments and 10 advisory projects delivered to date,” Thunell said. “Our goal is to help Azerbaijan diversify its economy and improve the business environment to grow businesses which generate jobs.”  

Thunell signed a memorandum of understanding between IFC and the government, outlining cooperation on improving the country’s business environment. The memorandum was signed by Heydar Babayev, Minister of Economic Development, on behalf of the government. IFC also committed a $5 million loan to Azerdemiryolbank to support the bank’s mortgage operations.

Thunell also visited a number private sector representatives, as well as local companies AZEL-Azerbaijan Electronics and ADA Group, which operates the Almali food retail chain. Both are IFC’s investment and advisory services clients.

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.

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