Duarte noted that EBRD will be ready to look at bankable projects across a variety of sectors with focus on diversification of economy.

“We’ll be ready to consider bankable projects in all sectors. Generally speaking, the EBRD continues working towards its climate finance goals and 36 percent of its total investments in 2018 went to the support of green economy. This is the trend we’d like to repeat in Azerbaijan as well,” she said.

As for EBRD’s priorities for Azerbaijan in 2019, Duarte noted that EBRD has a valid country strategy for Azerbaijan, which provides it with necessary guidance for investments.

Further, she talked about the process of disbursing loan for Lukoil Shah Deniz Stage II Extension in Azerbaijan.

“The project was approved by our shareholders but is yet to be signed,” said Duarte.

The project envisages provision of a loan to LUKOIL Overseas Shah Deniz Ltd to extend additional financing for its share in the second stage of the development of Shah Deniz, an offshore gas exploration and production project in Azerbaijan and one of the largest gas fields in the world. LUKOIL has a 10 percent stake in the Shah Deniz field. The project is managed by BP plc.

The loan is fully guaranteed by PJSC LUKOIL.

The project includes two additional bridge-linked offshore gas platforms, 26 subsea wells, 500km of subsea pipelines, and the expansion of the gas plant at Sangachal Terminal.

Azerbaijan has been cooperating with EBRD since 1992. In Azerbaijan, the EBRD focused on supporting local corporates with direct financing while helping partner banks in on-lending to MSMEs, supporting partner banks in the development of new financial instruments to target improved access to finance for women-owned and -run businesses, promoting competition and improving the business environment to deepen reforms, pursuing investments in energy projects that improve efficiency and energy security.

In order to support the authorities’ goals of promoting competition and improving the business environment, the EBRD  prioritizes engagement with private and public sector clients who can demonstrate a commitment to high standards of corporate governance and transparency and who have a commitment to improving management practices.

So, the EBRD’s investments in Azerbaijan in the first four months of 2018 increased by 253 million euros and at the end of April 2018 totaled 3.07 billion euros.

The bank reported that as of January 1, 2018, the EBRD allocated 2.817 billion euros to Azerbaijan.

The number of active EBRD projects in Azerbaijan was 48, and in total, the EBRD has implemented 165 projects in Azerbaijan. The portfolio of active projects at the end of April 2018 amounted to 1.429 billion euros, which is 21.5 percent more than at the end of 2017 year.

Almost half of the EBRD’s active portfolio in Azerbaijan – 707 million euros or 49.5 percent – fell on the energy projects, 42.5 percent or 607 million euros – on the infrastructure projects, and 4.9 percent (70 million euros) – on the industrial, commercial and agribusiness projects. Another 3.1 percent (45 million euros) fell on projects involving financial institutions.

It’s vital to note that the EBRD is not only operating in the capital city. In  fact, 23 percent of our projects are outside Baku.

In addition, statistics says that  51 percent of the EBRD’s clients in Azerbaijan increase their turnover – with a median increase of 14 percent – and improve their productivity by 35 percent, as they expand their business.