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Azerbaijan has seen robust economic growth over the last three years, but it still faces major transition challenges across most sectors. During the past strategy period, which started in 2007, Azerbaijan’s economy grew by an average of 14.8 per cent a year, driven by an oil and gas boom that accounted for 47 per cent of GDP in 2009. The non-oil economy benefited from spill-over effects of this, with the construction and service sectors growing respectively by 13.1 and 11.8 per cent on average. Over the medium term, GDP growth will remain largely dependent on developments in the oil and gas sectors. In 2010 GDP is expected to grow by 4 per cent.
Azerbaijan has already implemented reforms that are important for growth and the beginning of a recovery from the crisis within the non-oil economy is a positive sign.
However, the progress of structural reforms has been uneven. Large transition challenges remain across most sectors of the country’s economy.
Financial reforms outlined in the strategy will promote economic consolidation and modernisation through increased competition, pivatisation or changes in regulation.
Improving the business environment will encourage competition and attract more foreign strategic investors, which will work towards diversifying the Azerbaijan economy.
The EBRD and Azerbaijan
To help speed up reforms and address some of the challenges facing Azerbaijan, the EBRD’s activities there will focus on three main areas: industry, commerce and agribusiness, finance and energy and infrastructure.
To build up a more attractive investment environment, private sector development in Azerbaijan will be supported.
Priority areas include increasing investments in the country’s non-oil sector, funding financial sector development and support for small business entrepreneurs.
The Bank will also seek to engage with other international financial institutions and the business community in policy dialogue with the authorities, in order to implement reforms and improve the investment climate.
These will include investment climate issues, mobilising donor financing in support of the preparation and implementation of projects, advisory support, institution building and legal transition work.
Since the beginning of its operations in Azerbaijan, the EBRD has invested about €1.2 billion in 114 projects, with over 60 per cent of the projects being investments into the development of the private sector.
Last updated 7 December 2010