President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by the World Bank's newly-appointed Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller.
Vice President Cyril Muller said he visited Azerbaijan as part of a World Bank delegation in 1999, and recalled with pleasure their meeting with Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev. The World Bank's Vice President noted that he eye witnessed incredible progress in Azerbaijan two years ago when he visited the country, adding that Azerbaijan has gained great achievements in recent years. Cyril Muller expressed his confidence that Azerbaijan will continue to prosper.
Noting that ongoing development processes in Azerbaijan will continue in a new format, President Ilham Aliyev emphasized financial and economic difficulties in the first years of independence. The head of state noted that the country has made outstanding accomplishments ever since. President Ilham Aliyev said that significant work has been done – thanks to the purposeful use of the revenues generated as a result of the successful energy policy in Azerbaijan – in the fields of infrastructure, expansion of business opportunities, creation of new jobs, the increasing of local production, etc.
Noting that Azerbaijan is currently at a new stage of development, the head of state stressed the importance of institutional reforms and stimulation of entrepreneurship in terms of the improvement of the business climate in the country. Emphasizing the necessity of reducing the economy`s dependence on oil, President Ilham Aliyev said that the non-oil sector now accounts for 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The head of state said the energy sector accounts for 90 percent of exports, linking this to the fact that the non-oil sector output was targeted at domestic market. President Ilham Aliyev said that although not easy, export-oriented production would be a priority at the next stage.
The sides also exchanged views over the prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the World Bank.