WB ex­pects Azer­bai­jan to be­come re­gional ICT cen­ter

Azer News - - FRONT PAGE - By Ni­gar Oru­jova

The World Bank of­fers Azer­bai­jan to de­velop the in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies trans­form­ing Azer­bai­jan into a re­gional ICT cen­ter, in­crease the do­mes­tic de­mand and de­velop the reg­u­lat­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

The WB chief econ­o­mist for Europe and Cen­tral Asia Mona Prasad and the bank's Coun­try Man­ager for Azer­bai­jan Larisa Leshchenko met with Azer­bai­jani ICT Min­is­ter Ali Ab­basov in Baku on July 25.

Prasad said that the pur­pose of the meet­ing is to dis­cuss the is­sues out­lined in Azer­bai­jan's Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion Re­port and study ad­vice and com­ments on the re­sults of dis­cus­sions and ex­change views.

Prasad high­lighted the ef­fec­tive work car­ried out on ICT, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, In­ter­net, and the satel­lite in­dus­try in Azer­bai­jan over the past 10 years, say­ing achieve­ments in this field con­trib­ute not only to the econ­omy of Azer­bai­jan, but also to the econ­omy of re­gional coun­tries.

" Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in the ICT sec­tor is re­garded as a right step to­wards di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the econ­omy. The World Bank sup­ports di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in three di­rec­tions: phys­i­cal cap­i­tal, hu­man cap­i­tal and re­forms of state in­sti­tu­tions. Th­ese very di­rec­tions are deemed as fac­tors that en­sure sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the econ­omy of coun­tries," she said.

Min­is­ter Ab­basov, speak­ing about the re­la­tions be­tween the min­istry and the WB, cited the cre­ation of suit­able con­di­tions for the de­vel­op­ment of fi­nan­cial ser­vices in Azer­bai­jan by us­ing the ex­ist­ing plat­form of national postal op­er­a­tor Az­er­post LLC, pro­vid­ing free ac­cess of the pop­u­la­tion in ru­ral ar­eas and small ur­ban cen­ters to bank­ing and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, and suc­cess­ful work on of­fer­ing cus­tomers a wide va­ri­ety of ser­vices through lo­cal post of­fices.

He ex­pressed hope that the co­op­er­a­tion with the World Bank would be con­tin­ued in the com­ing years.

In June, the WB ex­pressed in­ter­est in co­op­er­a­tion with Azer­bai­jan in the fields of broad­band In­ter­net, cyber se­cu­rity and e- govern­ment.

As of Jan­uary 1, 2013, Azer­bai­jan held talks with the WB un­der 56 projects on fi­nanc­ing credit agree­ments to­tal­ing over $ 3.122 bil­lion.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of 36 projects worth $ 894.1 mil­lion is com­plete, and the ex­e­cu­tion of 20 projects worth more than $ 2.228 bil­lion is un­der­way.

As of Jan­uary 2013, WB loans in the amount of over $ 1.714 bil­lion, con­sti­tut­ing 54.5 per­cent of the to­tal amount of the at­tracted cred­its, were used. In 2012, Azer­bai­jan spent $ 393.4 mil­lion from the al­lo­cated funds.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese loans, the WB al­lo­cated 44 grants to­tal­ing $ 41.37 mil­lion for Azer­bai­jan in 1995- 2012.

The WB chief econ­o­mist high­lighted the ef­fec­tive work car­ried out on ICT, In­ter­net, and the sa­tel­lite in­dus­try in Azer­bai­jan over the past 10 years.

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