Our Analytics 24 june — 14:43

Ilham Aliyev held talks with Anna Bjerde ... Another 150 million dollars (Our comment)



Azerbaijan and the World Bank (WB) have signed an agreement on loans totalling $150 million for the implementation of two projects. The agreements were signed in mid-June and provide for the issuance of WB loans in the amount of $150 million to expand the self-employment program and to develop the justice system.

On March 5, 2020, the WB approved a $100 million loan to Azerbaijan to finance a project to support employment. Credit funds were allocated for 14 years, including a 4-year grace period, the bank said. The goal of the project, designed for 5 years, is to help the most vulnerable segments of the population of Azerbaijan get a job, to promote self-employment opportunities in labour markets. The project is aimed at women, youth, people with a low level of education and internally displaced persons in the country.

President made it clear that cooperation with the World Bank will continue

Just note that the issue of this loan was discussed recently during a video conference between the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev and the new WB Vice President Anna Bjerde and other representatives of the bank. The head of state expressed special gratitude to the WB for the fact that the bank did not slow down with a response to its appeal for support in connection with the self-employment program. The appeal was submitted in January 2019, and in less than a year all the preparatory work was completed. 'I was informed that WB participation in the self-employment program will be in the amount of approximately $100 million. Thank you for that. This year we plan to cover about 15 thousand people with this program, and additional funding from the WB, of course, is highly appreciated and welcomed,' said the president.

In turn, Ms Bjerde expressed gratitude for the contribution of Azerbaijan to the International Development Association (WB structure to assist the poorest countries through voluntary donations from member countries). 'I believe that this leads our ties even further forward,' she said. Having thus demonstrated the long, productive and mutually beneficial cooperation of Azerbaijan and the WB.

And another confirmation of this is the new WB loan for expanding the self-employment program and for developing the justice system. Of the total amount of $150 million, a large part, namely $100 million, accounts for the self-employment program. The project aims to strengthen the state self-employment program by supporting startups in the services and manufacturing sectors; expanding the program to include an average of 5,000 additional beneficiaries per year; improving management, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the program and testing of business support for beneficiaries with high potential for business development.

Azeri Daily has repeatedly noted that the Ministry of Labour of Azerbaijan attaches great role to the development of the self-employment program. At the same time, people not only forget about such vicious practices as dependency, the habit of receiving all sorts of benefits. And with their work, with some financial support from the state, they are establishing their own business, which can soon become very profitable. This issue takes on a special meaning in the current period when the coronavirus pandemic is destroying all spheres of the world economy before our eyes, leaving millions of people without work.

Government relies on self-employment

And $100 million, of course, will be a good help in the further development of self-employment in the country, providing thousands of hard-working families with their own business. True, not all of this amount will come to the country in one day. At the same time, millions of tranches of the WB will be enriched annually with no less than the amount that the state has been allocating for these purposes for several years. In particular, the Ministry of Labour estimates the amount of financing the self-employment program for 2020 at 63 million manat or $37 million at the current rate.

In short, we note that the WB on March 26 approved the provision of another loan of $50 million to Azerbaijan to continue reforms in the justice system. Credit funds were provided for 11.5 years, of which 4 years is a grace period. The total cost of the project, designed for 4 years, is $70 million, of which 50 million is a WB loan, and $20 million is the share of the Azerbaijani government. But this is the topic of another article.

In the meantime, President Ilham Aliyev, during the video conference, among other joint projects, in addition to self-employment, where there is a clear program, named another important industry: medical insurance. 'We planned to start the program in the country in January. However, in connection with the coronavirus, we had to postpone it until January next year. But there are already several cities covered by the program. We have good results. Therefore, I believe that until the end of the year we will continue to work with you in an appropriate manner on the structuring of this system, since this is an innovation for us. It's one thing when it is applied in one, two, three cities, another thing, all over the country,' said the head of state. The president made it clear that the cooperation between Baku and the WB will continue.

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