Discussions focus on reform
The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, has concluded a short visit to Azerbaijan to discuss economic and political issues. During a meeting with the country's President, Ilham Aliyev, there were frank talks about the political and economic environment, as well as the continuing need to pursue reform and diversify the economy. The exploration of these themes continued in further meetings with government ministers.
The EBRD President stressed the importance of Azerbaijan continuing to uphold the highest environmental and social standards despite its departure from membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The Azerbaijani authorities told President Chakrabarti that they would adhere to revenue transparency and remain committed to principles of good governance, transparency and accountability in extractive industries. This issue and other developments were also discussed in meetings with representatives from civil society organisations.
The EBRD's efforts in Azerbaijan aim to help diversify the economy away from a dependence on energy and natural resources. The Bank has invested in many smaller, private sector non-energy projects. They each have a positive impact in helping to build the private sector and enhance skills. Sixty eight per cent of the Bank's investment in Azerbaijan is in the private sector - a crucial part of civil society.