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 Program Resume - Azerbaijan and the World Bank (WB)

 Duration: 31.03.1997 - present
 Location: Baku
 Sectors: Agriculture
Capacity building
Community development
Micro-enterprise development
Non-food relief aid
Socio-economic conditions
Water and sanitation

Azerbaijan joined the World Bank and the International Development Association (IDA) in 1992. The major focus of the World Bank's work to date has been to assist the country in its transition by providing policy advice, financing for both investments and the government budget, and coordination of aid. In particular, the World Bank is working with the authorities to strengthen the government's institutional capacity to manage its petroleum resources and formulate key policy changes to accelerate reform.

In April 1995, the World Bank approved its first project to Azerbaijan, an IDA credit to finance advisory services and create a framework to encourage foreign private investment in the petroleum sector (US$21 million). Another IDA project, approved in June 1995, provides a credit to improve the water supply in Baku (US$61 million).

In early 1996, two additional operations were approved: an Institution Building Technical Assistance Project (US$18 million) in July 1995, and a US$65 million Rehabilitation Credit (US$65 million) in August 1995.

Three projects were approved in Fiscal 1997. The Gas Rehabilitation Project (US$21 million), approved in September 1996, was designed to promote the efficient use of gas by upgrading measurement instrumentation, investments in equipment, and support for gas commercialization. The Farm Privatization Project (US$15 million), to accelerate the government's program for land privatization and farm restructuring of representative state and collective farms, was approved in January 1997.

The first Structural Adjustment Credit (US$70 million), approved in 1997, focussed on trade liberalization, privatization, legal and banking sector reforms. A credit for Urgent Environment Improvement (US$20 million) was approved in June 1998.

In March 1999 the government of Azerbaijan held an international conference, launching its public sector reforms with World Bank support. A Structural Adjustment Credit and related Technical Assistance Project to support these reforms have also been prepared.

In Fiscal 1999, four projects were approved: (i) a Pilot Reconstruction Project (US$20 million) plus a US$10 million supplement to facilitate the repatriation of internally-displaced persons as a result of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh; (ii) a Cultural Heritage Project (US$8 million) to support the government's efforts in the conservation and partial reconstruction of four historical monuments; (iii) an Education Project (US$5 million) to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning and provide assistance in curriculum development as well as the monitoring and evaluation of schools; and (iv) an Agricultural Development Project (US$30 million) to assist in increasing the productivity of private farmers. Furthermore, a supplement to the Structural Adjustment Credit (US$7 million) was provided to help alleviate the adverse effects of the Russian financial crisis.

In fiscal 20002, an Irrigation and Drainage Infrastructure Project (US$42 million) was approved to prevent the decline in supplying water to Baku City; eliminate further deterioration of the supply of irrigation water along the Samur-Apsheron Canal; and improve drainage and reduce water logging and salinity in irrigation areas along the Main Mill-Mugan Collector.

As of June 30, 2000, there were 15 operations in Azerbaijan with IDA commitments totaling US$411 million.

September 2000

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