IMF Looking Forward To Cooperate With Azerbaijan In Preparation Of COP29 - Jihad Azour (Exclusive Interview)

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) WASHINGTON, U.S., April 24. The InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF) is looking forward to cooperate with theAzerbaijani authorities in preparation of the COP29, Jihad Azour,Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, IMF, said in anexclusive interview with Trend on the sidelines of the IMF Spring Meetings inWashington.

“We have a long standing relationship since the independence ofAzerbaijan and all the reforms that took place over the last 30years. And recently, in the context of COP29 that is going to beorganized in Azerbaijan, we look forward as an institution to helpAzerbaijan in the preparation and make this COP29 a successful one have regular policy consultation, also we provide technicalassistance to Azerbaijan,” he said.

Azour pointed out that as part of its mission, in addition tofinancial support that Azerbaijan doesn't need, IMF provides policyconsultation through its regular Article IV consultations.

“One third of our activity globally at the Fund is to providetechnical assistance in different areas such as fiscal, monetarypolicy, financial sector, also on some specific issues likestatistics. This is an activity that has been growing. Recently wehave opened a new center that serves the region, called theCaucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia Regional Capacity DevelopmentCenter (CCAMTAC). It provides technical assistance, but also aplatform for peer-to-peer cooperation between countries in theregion,” he explained.

Azour noted that Azerbaijan's economy has recovered andrebounded after the COVID-19 shock in 2021.

“In 2021-2022-2023, growth moderated and inflation eased. RealGDP in 2023 increased by 1.1 percent. It was mainly driven by thenon-oil and gas sector. This was mainly led by transportation,construction, and also by hospitality services. Growth andinflation are expected to moderate in the medium term. We expectgrowth in 2024 to improve compared to 2023 and reach 2.8 percent,in 2025, will remain at almost at the same level at 2.3 percent good news is that inflation remains around 5 percent this yearand next. And the debt to GDP is very healthy,18 percent of GDP, the economy is improving, yet at a moderate level,” headded.

Jihad Azour went on to add that IMF has regular engagement withthe Azerbaijani authorities. The IMF's missions regularly visitAzerbaijan.

“Therefore, we have an active relationship. During the SpringMeetings and Annual Meetings, we have the opportunity to discussseveral issues that are important in our bilateral relationship,but also for the region. Azerbaijan has now an important mandate,which is to organize COP29. COP is an important endeavor. I thinkit will be one of those important moments this year. And the Fundis ready to help. As you know, the Fund has scaled up its work onclimate in different fronts. We look forward to cooperate withauthorities in the preparation of COP29 and to bring regionaldimension to the priorities that the world is going to discuss inNovember this year,” he added.

Cooperation on green transition

Jihad Azour noted that the Fund does not finance projects buthelps countries to do the green transition.

“We have started to provide new facility that is calledResilience and Sustainability Facility. The purpose of it is tohelp countries to do the major transformation, both in terms ofpolicies and also in terms of structural reforms that will helpcountries to transition from the current status and move into moregreen economy. We are working on three levels for the region andalso with Azerbaijan on the issue of adaptation. Although ourregion is not one of the largest emitters, it's still one of themost affected. And therefore, it's important to help countriesdevelop through a certain number of policies and investmentcapacity to adapt and to reduce the negative impact of climateshocks.

The second level is mitigation of emissions and developing acertain number of new sectors, renewable, solar, and so on, thatwill increase the part of the non-carbon energy production. Thethird level is to help countries identify new investmentopportunities. This is a sector that is going to be one of the mostfast-growing sectors, and therefore it's an opportunity forcountries to use those sectors to increase investment. Azerbaijanis a country who has, on one hand, the potential, and resources todevelop new activities in the environmental sector,” he said.


Jihad Azour noted that Uzbekistan has, over the last few years,made important reforms to open the economy, attract investments,and liberalize their financial system.

“In addition to that, they are working hard in order to attractdirect investment and to grow their economy. The economy ofUzbekistan had a healthy level of growth over the last few years,growing in 2023 at 6 percent, projected to grow this year at 5.2percent. Uzbekistan was affected by the various shocks, COVID-19,war in Ukraine, and the impact of the geoeconomic fragmentations, going forward, it's important for Uzbekistan toaccelerate the transformation through reforms that will allowinvestments to flow faster and also to increase the connectivitybetween Uzbekistan and some of the key economic partners startingwith China and with Europe,” he said.

The IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department head notedthat it is important to continue the process of structural reforms,open further the economy for foreign investors, accelerate thetransformation of some of the state-owned enterprises, at the sametime maintain macroeconomic stability through tight fiscal policythat may require some additional consolidation and also improve thesocial protection network.


Azour pointed out that Turkmenistan is an economy that hasstrong reserves in gas and has a potential for growth.
“The way to expand this potential is to introduce additionalreforms to create a strong and well-established market economy,increase the institutional capacity to attract foreign investors,and strengthen the social protection framework in order to provideadditional social assistance and social inclusion. It's anenergy-producing economy and therefore it's important to diversifyfurther outside the gas and oil sector,” he concluded.

Follow the author on X: @Lyaman_Zeyn


Trend News Agency

Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.