ADB Vice-President Visits Azerbaijan and Reconfirms Partnership

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Mr. Wencai Zhang has expressed confidence in Azerbaijan's development agenda and said ADB is ready to increase its support for the government's economic reforms.

During a 4-day visit to Azerbaijan from 21 to 24 October, Mr. Zhang met with the President of Azerbaijan Republic Mr. Ilham Aliyev, Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Mr. Samir Sharifov, and other government officials. In his meetings, Mr. Zhang congratulated the government on its national development strategy, Strategic Roadmaps on National Economy and Key Sectors, which aims to diversify Azerbaijan's economy and promote sustainable development.

ADB is encouraged by Azerbaijan's commitment to accelerate structural reforms and improve public sector efficiency with the ultimate objective of achieving a truly diversified and internationally competitive economy, said Mr. Zhang. ADB stands ready to increase its support to the government's economic reforms and help the country attain its development goals to improve the lives of its people.

ADB is currently preparing a five-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Azerbaijan to begin in 2019. The CPS will be guided by ADB's new long-term strategy for Asia and the Pacific, Strategy 2030, adopted in July 2018, and the government's national development strategy. To reduce the country's dependency on oil, the CPS will support economic diversification through the expansion of the private sector, a more efficient public sector, and improving the country's infrastructure, capital and labor markets.

To reap the economic benefits of its strategic location between Europe and Asia, and to upgrade links between urban and rural areas, Mr. Zhang said that improving Azerbaijan's transport infrastructure will remain a priority for ADB. The bank will continue to support the participation of Azerbaijan in regional cooperation and integration, provide development knowledge and technical expertise, strengthen governance and institutional capacity, promote gender equality, and leverage digital technologies for innovative development solutions. Rural infrastructure, including irrigation systems, vocational education and training, finance (including SME financing), and urban infrastructure and services will also be areas for potential closer cooperation. ADB also aims to expand its private sector operations in Azerbaijan.

During his stay, Mr. Zhang visited an ADB-supported water supply and sanitation project in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The project, which is part of a larger multitranche financing investment program that reconstructed and built water and sewage infrastructure in several towns, has delivered a reliable water supply and improved sewage system to about 135,000 people in Nakhchivan city. State-of-the-art water and wastewater treatment plants, both using nano-filtration technology, have helped the government provide a significantly cleaner and healthier environment for the city's residents.

Since Azerbaijan joined ADB in 1999, the bank has committed total of $4.9 billion to the country through public and private sector loans, guarantees, and technical assistance grants.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members�48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

Source: Asian Development Bank