WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved two IBRD loans to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The first loan, in the amount of US$100 million, will support the Judicial Services and Smart Infrastructure Project (JSSIP). This project builds on the current Judicial Modernization Project, and aims at improved access, transparency, and efficiency of selected judicial services. The second loan, in the amount of US$50 million, is an Additional Financing for the ongoing Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project (AzRIP), which helps rural communities in Azerbaijan improve their well-being by supporting small-scale infrastructure and income-generating activities.
Judicial Services and Smart Infrastructure Project (JSSIP)
JSSIP constitutes a second phase of World Bank support for Azerbaijan’s efforts to improve the performance of its justice sector and strengthen access to justice, especially for the vulnerable. The project is designed to sustain Azerbaijan’s justice sector modernization by expanding access, strengthening due process, and ensuring transparency in the delivery of key justice and legal services.
“Modernization of Azerbaijan’s judiciary can play a vital role in the country’s future economic development,” says Henry Kerali, World Bank Director for South Caucasus. “The project will support this transformative process by supporting judicial infrastructure; introducing e-services; establishing more effective dispute resolution and business inspections systems; increasing transparency of judiciary; and improving legal aid services to citizens, particularly to vulnerable segments of the population, such as internally displaced persons and residents of remote regions. We hope the project will promote effectiveness of and public confidence in the judiciary.”
The Project has four components that will upgrade e-justice services, such as case filing and case management systems; improving business registry and inspections, and enforcement of judicial decisions; improving information technology capabilities of the justice sector; and expansion and modernization of judicial infrastructure.
Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project (AzRIP)
Almost half of Azerbaijan’s population lives in rural areas where infrastructure needs – such as community roads, irrigation and drainage, potable water, and health and education facilities – are still significant. The Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project brings local communities together, and directly involves them in identification, implementation, and monitoring of project interventions.
Implementation of the original project has, so far, benefited over 1.5 million people in more than 600 communities. Micro-projects, supported by AzRIP, helped improve over 2,000 km of intra-community roads, which significantly reduced travel times to schools and markets. Improvements in the local irrigation and drainage systems have positively affected over 700,000 farmers whose average productivity has risen by 30 percent.
“AzRIP has empowered rural people to take agreed decisions in identifying and addressing priority development needs of their communities. It has demonstrated a new and highly successful approach to public service delivery in Azerbaijan,” says Henry Kerali, World Bank Director for South Caucasus. “The additional financing will allow this operation to expand into new regions that have high concentrations of internally displaced persons in order to reduce their vulnerability and foster growth.”
The additional financing will support 670 more infrastructure micro-projects. It also will provide technical assistance for the identification and preparation of income-generating activities that will then be supported through AzRIP’s grant facilities.
The current World Bank investment portfolio in Azerbaijan includes 17 projects. Since joining the World Bank in 1992, commitments to the country have totaled over US$3 billion for 54 projects.