Baku, May 25, AZERTAC
“The European bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) implemented 30 projects worth $ 270 million in Azerbaijan. We are interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in oil and non-oil sector,” said President of the EBRD Suma Chakrabarti at a press conference as he visited the country as part of a trip to three Caspian states on May 24-25.
The EBRD President met President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to discuss the EBRD-Azerbaijan cooperation, the government’s recent and planned reforms, the Bank’s support for the strategic cross-border energy project, the Southern Gas Corridor, and potential cooperation in the country’s banking sector, including what could be the first local currency bond to be issued by an international financial institution.
During the visit, he gave a press briefing to Azerbaijani and international media.
Summing up his meetings, Suma Chakrabarti said: “It was a very successful visit. I was able to discuss a variety of important subjects with the President, the government and the civil society representatives. In the meetings, I noted that the recent drop in oil prices presented an opportunity for the diversification of the Azerbaijani economy by growing the non-oil and gas private sector. This is a development that the EBRD strongly supports. I also stressed that for long-term private sector growth, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises, it is crucial to have a vibrant and viable financial sector. The financial sector is currently facing a combination of short-term issues such as low liquidity in the local currency and rising levels of non-performing loans combined with structural issues of fragmentation, asset quality and governance. The EBRD is prepared to work with all stakeholders to find solutions. With regard to oil and gas, we will aim to make strategic investments which will guarantee the country’s long-term economic health. In that context we will support the Southern Gas Corridor, a project which diversifies export routes for Azerbaijan and is also important for energy security in Europe.”
The EBRD President added that the Bank is considering supporting the two pipelines that form part of the Southern Gas Corridor, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) where the EBRD is considering providing a syndicated loan of up to €1.5 billion, and is also in the early stages of considering co-financing the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).