Baku, Azerbaijan, 15 July 2023 – In the wake of a high-level official visit to Azerbaijan, by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, earlier this year, an IsDB Group mission headed by Director of IsDB Group Regional Hub Turkiye (RHT), Dr. Walid Abdelwahab, visited the capital city of Baku, from 9 to 15 July 2023 to discuss and co-create the Group’s Country Engagement Framework (CEF) with Azerbaijan.
During the mission, the CEF team held separate meetings with Minister of Economy and IsDB Governor for Azerbaijan, H.E. Mikayil Jabbarov, as well as Minister of Finance and IsDB Alternate Governor, H.E. Samir Sharifov, where issues of mutual interest were discussed.
The IsDB Group team also held meetings with other key officials in several other ministries, development agencies, and private sector entities.
The IsDB Group delegation mainly focused on devising a framework for cooperation between the IsDB Group and the Government of Azerbaijan that would support the country’s efforts towards achieving sustainable and inclusive development as well as the ongoing substantial progress in promoting a more sustainable and diversified economy.
The main priority areas that were elaborated on for future finalization included “the reconstruction drive in Karabakh; promotion of regional connectivity comprising railway electrification and signaling, gas pipelines, and electricity transmission; decarbonization and renewable energy; private sector development to diversify away from traditional reliance on hydrocarbons; and promoting Islamic finance.
The Azerbaijani officials commended IsDB Group for being the first Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) to make significant investments in the country after its independence. They also encouraged IsDB to explore co-financing opportunities with the Arab Coordination Group to support mega infrastructure regional initiatives. The Government officials of Azerbaijan also expressed interest in leveraging its recent membership in IsDB Group’s insurance arm, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) to provide insurance coverage to IFIs to attract additional foreign resources and support key development priority initiatives, especially in Karabakh.
IsDB Group entities will be engaging with Commercial Banks to provide holistic financial packages, under the CEF, supplementing sovereign financing with suitable instruments for private sector financing to support the growth of the private sector. There are opportunities for the Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector (ICD)/PPP to develop projects in the renewable energy and health sectors. In addition, there is an opportunity to support awareness creation and capacity building for Islamic finance by IsDBI.
Building on the Bank’s historically strong relationship with Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA), new initiatives are to be shared for a joint scholarship framework under the Bank’s capacity development program for enhancing the national ecosystem for South-South and Triangular cooperation, mapping of Azerbaijan’s resource centers, technology deployment cooperation program, and poverty alleviation program.