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High-Level Forum on Economic Diversification

March 6, 2019

Baku, Azerbaijan


The Government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank Group are hosting a High-level Forum on Economic Diversification, in Baku on March 6, 2019. The Forum will bring together representatives from the Government, the private sector, and the World Bank to share global experiences, and exchange views and recommendations on ways to achieve quick and sustainable results on non-oil diversification.


  • The new normal of low oil prices has created a completely new environment for Azerbaijan's economy. The sharp decline in oil prices since the end of 2014 has led to a double devaluation of the local currency, which in turn has created large pressures on the financial sector.

    Fiscal consolidation, monetary tightening and severe financial sector distress led to a decline in economic activity in 2016, the first decline during the last two decades, with a modest recovery in subsequent years. Today, the size of Azerbaijan's economy (in US dollar terms) is about 60 percent of its size in 2014.

    Against this backdrop, the importance of economic diversification and non-oil sector development have become more acute. However, economic rebalancing would also entail more investment-friendly policies, improving physical infrastructure involving private sector participation, and easier access to capital. 

    In recent years, the government of Azerbaijan has taken important steps toward reducing the country’s dependence on oil and gas, and diversification of the economy through enhanced participation of the private sector in ensuring sustainable growth. In response to the external shocks, the government also established the Financial Stability Council to help stabilize the economy and coordinate policies. 

    Within its program of support to strengthen the country’s resilience to shocks and enhance its competitiveness, the World Bank Group has been cooperating with the government of Azerbaijan in many areas, with a special focus on building the country’s capacity for non-oil sector development and private sector participation.

    This high-level Forum is a continuation of the dialogue to help the government of Azerbaijan achieve quick and sustainable results on non-oil diversification. 

  • Wednesday, 6 March, 2019


    Press Opportunity | Registration of Participants




        Opening Remarks


    • Mr. Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Prime Minister
    • Ms. Mercy Tembon, Regional Director for the South Caucasus, World Bank
    • Mr. Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy





    • Macro and Growth aspects of non-oil sector development, speaker: Mr. Wolfgang Fengler, Lead Economist, World Bank
    • Informality, shadow economy, the role of private sector, speaker: Rajul Awashti, Sr. Public Sector Specialist, Global Tax Team, World Bank
    • Reforming Doing Business in Azerbaijan, speaker: Global Doing Business Team
    • Presentation by Director of Payment systems and settlements department of the CBAR   Ms. Kamala Gurbanova
    • SME Agency presentation


       Panel discussion: Policies to enhance the role of the private sector

       Moderator:  Wolfgang Fengler


       Panel participants:

    • Chairman of the Central Bank Mr. Elman Rustamov
    • Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population Mr. Sahil Babayev
    • Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Inam Karimov
    • Minister of Taxes Mr. Mikayil Jabbarov
    • Deputy Minister of Economy, Mr. Niyazi Safarov
    • Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, British Petroleum
    • US Charge D’Affaires, Mr. William Gill (TBC)
    • Aliya Azimova, IFC Head of Office in Azerbaijan (TBC)


    Closing remarks:


    • Naveed Naqvi, Country Manager, World Bank, Azerbaijan.
    • Ziyad Samedzade, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Committee of Economic Policy, Industry and Enterprise





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