For Immediate Release
Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Azerbaijan hosted a reception to celebrate the achievements of a three-year economic growth project. The formal reception marked the completion of the Azerbaijan Competitiveness and Trade (ACT) project and allowed U.S. Ambassador Richard Morningstar and USAID to thank its counterparts, partners, and beneficiaries for their contributions to the success of the project. The reception gathered representatives from the U.S. and Azerbaijani governments, private sector partners and counterparts, and beneficiaries including from the regions outside of Baku.
The $22 million ACT project, co-financed by USAID and the Azerbaijani Government, helped Azerbaijan to improve its domestic business environment; develop a free and transparent trade environment; and improve targeted agricultural value chains in Azerbaijan.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmud Mammadguliyev expressed his gratitude to USAID for the support for the economic development reforms in Azerbaijan. Ambassador Morningstar stated, “Among the many accomplishments of this project, I would like to highlight the progress the Government has made toward World Trade Organization accession. This includes more than thirty pieces of legislation and administrative procedures drafted or approved.” USAID Mission Director Dr. Brooke Isham highlighted and stressed USAID’s commitment to Azerbaijan’s growth and development working hand-in-hand with the government. She stated, “Through the ACT project USAID worked to support growth in the non-oil sector through: improvements in the business enabling environment, greater transparency and openness in the trade environment, and increased competitiveness of Azerbaijani goods and services especially in the agriculture sector.”
Over three years, the USAID ACT project worked with the public and private sectors to improve competition, taxation, banking, and job creation, among others. The project also partnered with the banking sector to increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises, in particular in the agricultural sector. It did so by streamlining lending processes, and developing mechanisms to encourage banks to increase lending to the sector.
Furthermore, the ACT project supported the Government of Azerbaijan in meeting international trade and investment standards and assisting in the process of accession to the World Trade Organization. The project improved market competitiveness of pomegranates, apples, hazelnuts, and aquaculture. The project introduced new production technologies for local institutions and the capacity to use them.
Last updated: March 12, 2014