IFC supports development of private sector in Azerbaijan

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) aims to continue supporting Azerbaijan in “unleashing the power of its private sector” through strategic reforms that help attract investment, Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, told Trend.

According to van Bilsen, the corporation also aims to support Azerbaijan in improving competitiveness and driving sustainable growth.

“As part of those efforts, last week IFC signed cooperation agreements with Azerbaijan’s ministries of Economy and Agriculture as well as the Food Safety Agency,” he said.

He noted that these agreements will be of great importance for the achievement of all goals.

According to the regional manager, the purpose of the cooperation is to help ease doing business and attract investment to Azerbaijan’s non-oil economy.

Van Bilsen went on to say that IFC will support Azerbaijan in attracting investments – particularly foreign direct investment in the non-oil sector, and support diversification.

“As agriculture is one of the main sources of jobs in Azerbaijan, the industry needs to be competitive, both at home and abroad,” van Bilsen noted.

The regional manager also said that the sector faces a number of challenges. Value chains, for example, need further development; similarly, food safety management system needs to be further enhanced.

“To address existing challenges, our aim is to help streamline regulations and modernize the national food safety management system,” van Bilsen noted.

The IFC has been supporting the private sector of Azerbaijan for over 20 years, having invested $500 million over the past period. Some $350 million worth of investments were directed to trade financing, and investments were also made in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.