ADB Governors’ Annual Meeting underway in Baku
By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku is hosting the 48th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank.
About 3,000 participants, including senior officials, business leaders, investors, financiers, journalists, and civil society representatives from around the world gathered in Baku for the event, which kicked off on May 2.
Speaking at the event, Shahin Mustafayev, Azerbaijani Minister of Economy and Industry highlighted the socio-economic achievements of Azerbaijan.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao hailed Azerbaijan`s development, saying the Gross Domestic Product increased 4 times and poverty was dramatically reduced in the country. He said Azerbaijan is among the countries with the highest income.
Nakao further said Azerbaijan can achieve a lot in agriculture and tourism, and that the ADB is ready to provide support toward such goals.
Noting Azerbaijan’s great potential for agricultural development, he said the geographical location of the country allows it to make great achievements in the tourism sector.
“At present, a large part of Azerbaijan’s economy is focused on the oil sector, and taking into account the decline in world prices for energy resources, it is important to diversify the economy,” he said.
Nakao went to note that Azerbaijan has all the necessary resources to develop both of these sectors.
“You have a wonderful climate, ancient history and since ancient times, playing an important role in the development of the Silk Road, Azerbaijan has become a bridge between East and West,” he said.
He noted ADB has provided and continues to provide support to Azerbaijan in the development of its economy.
Since the start of its cooperation, the ADB has allocated Azerbaijan $1.6 billion for 12 projects in the area of road construction, energy, irrigation, water supply and sanitation improvement. Azerbaijan joined the ADB in1999, the country’s share in the bank’s capital is 0.5 percent.
On May 3, the meeting was continued with several seminars, but the key one, was the Governors’ Seminar that focused on the growth potential for the Asia and Pacific region and feature a world-class panel.
During a seminar on Rethinking Growth Potential and Growth Models, Samir Sharifov, the Azerbaijani finance minister hailed the economic development of Asian countries.
“It has made six percent in the past 20 years. And it is a big figure,” he said.
Sharifov highlighted the development processes in Azerbaijan, noting that the country`s gross domestic product has grown three times in the past decade.
He provided information about “Azerbaijan 2020: Vision of the Future” development concept. He said the main priority under this concept is the diversification of the national economy.
Lou Jiwei, Chinese finance minister called Asia “the world`s most dynamic and flexible” region.
“Asian Development Outlook 2015 forecasts developing Asia will achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.3 percent in both 2015 and 2016. The region also grew 6.3 percent in 2014,” he said.
Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesian minister of finance stressed the importance of diversifying the economy.
Nakao, for his part, hailed the fact that despite global financial crisis several countries managed to maintain growth rate.
The overall theme for this year’s meeting is “Fostering Partnership for Development.” Through the business sessions on 4 and 5 May, governors and ADB management will discuss ongoing and emerging challenges facing the region, and also highlight how our ongoing reforms will make ADB a stronger development partner.