Baku, February 16, 2022 – The European Union (EU) and the World Bank (WB) signed today an Administrative Agreement for the Azerbaijan Rapid Technical Assistance Facility (AZTAF). This three-year program, with a total budget of EUR 5.25 million, funded by the EU and managed by the World Bank, aims to provide advisory and analytical support and capacity building to the Government of Azerbaijan in line with the Azerbaijan 2030 National Priorities.
In particular, AZTAF will help enhance social inclusion and connectivity, spur economic reforms, strengthen public sector governance, and facilitate an effective post-COVID-19 recovery. The Agreement was signed by Sarah Michael, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan and Peter Michalko, EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Mr. Elnur Aliyev, the First Deputy Minister Economy, attended the signing event.
The AZTAF program includes a series of programmatic and on-demand activities that are aligned with the four priority areas of the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership Priorities, including: strengthening institutions and good governance; enhancing economic development and market opportunities; boosting connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate action; allowing for mobility and people-to-people contacts.
“This EU-World Bank Facility will provide fast and tangible support to the government of Azerbaijan’s socioeconomic development agenda. It will bring benefits to Azerbaijani citizens, including the most vulnerable, by specifically supporting the mitigation of the long-term socio-economic impact of the COVID-19,” said Peter Michalko, EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan. “This initiative will also link up with the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for Azerbaijan, as part of which the European Union has recently announced an investment potential of EUR 2 billion, to be implemented in close cooperation with relevant International Financial Institutions.”
AZTAF builds on the World Bank Group’s ongoing and long-standing engagements in Azerbaijan in areas, such as inclusive growth, public and corporate governance, green growth, human capital development and social inclusion. It will complement the Bank’s current efforts and resources to intensify support to the government’s strategic priorities through additional capacity-building, knowledge exchange and analytics.
“We are delighted to partner with the Government of Azerbaijan and the European Union to deliver this ambitious AZTAF program. We believe it will support key government programs and reforms that are helping Azerbaijan modernize its economy and institutions, improve service delivery, develop its human capital, and build a greener future for all,” said Sarah Michael, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan. “It has high relevance to our current country program and will inform our upcoming Country Partnership Framework with Azerbaijan."
AZTAF program includes specific activities that respond to the Government’s immediate priorities. These activities will support a wide range of government priorities, such as state-owned enterprises governance, public procurement, water resources management, “Smart Villages,” digital connectivity, energy efficiency, women’s entrepreneurship, disability, and inclusion.