By Sara Israfilbayova
The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is interested in financing the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, said Ihsan Ugur Delikanli.
The BSTDB President made the remarks at an event dedicated to presentation of the bank’s opportunities for business and banking sector of Azerbaijan on June 13.
“I hope that the Azerbaijani government and other partners will consider our participation in the SGC project and a positive decision will be made,” said Delikanli.
The SGC, worth about $40 billion, envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian Sea region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.
As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
Delikanli further stressed that the BSTDB is interested in funding projects in Azerbaijan in manats.
Such funding can be implemented through the issuance of manat bonds by the bank, according to Delikanli.
“We are already carrying out similar work in three countries. We are currently working on this issue jointly with Azerbaijan’s Financial Market Supervisory Body. The bond issuance volume will depend on the demand. I think we will proceed straight to the issuance right after completing the preparatory work,” he said.
He also noted that BSTDB offers medium- and short-term project funding, corporate loans, participation in companies’ capital and various guarantees.
“Our main proposals are aimed at supporting the development of non-oil sector of Azerbaijan. In addition, we intend to support small and medium enterprises in the country through cooperation with local banks. It is a priority for us,” Delikanli said.
In turn, Finance Minister Samir Sharifov noted that the BSTDB since the start of its operation has allocated loans worth €360 million to Azerbaijan’s private sector
Azerbaijan's share in the bank's loan portfolio is 8.3 percent, according to Sharifov.
“Azerbaijan also participates in the bank's share capital, where the share of our participation is 5 percent. We are the seventh largest shareholder of the bank,” he noted.
The minister went on to say that in total, the BSTDB has allocated loans worth $4.3 billion for projects in the countries of presence since the start of its activities.
Deputy Economy Minister Sahib Mammadov, for his part, stated that Azerbaijan demonstrates resilience to external shocks and adverse processes thanks to the implemented reforms.
“Diversification of the economy and development of the non-oil sector and entrepreneurship are among the basic constituents of the economic policy, pursued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. In this context, it is very important to cooperate with international financial organizations,” he said.
Mammadov reminded that Azerbaijan has recently adopted strategic decisions aimed at improving the business environment in the country.
The BSTDB is a multilateral development bank serving 11 countries (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Armenia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia) that are members of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).
It supports economic development and regional cooperation by providing trade and project financing, guarantees, and equity for development projects. The Bank supports both public and private enterprises in its member countries and does not attach political conditionality to its financing.
The BSTDB commenced its operational activities in June 1999.
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