Press release

EY Azerbaijan Country Managing Partner Mr. Ilgar Veliyev makes presentation at Azerbaijan Investment Summit

Baku, 17 March 2015

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EY Azerbaijan is a Gold sponsor of The Economist’s Azerbaijan Investment Summit, which this year took place at the Four Seasons Hotel Baku on 17 March 2015. During the event EY’s Country Managing Partner for Azerbaijan Mr. Ilgar Veliyev made a presentation at a panel discussion dedicated to economic diversification and increasing the share of non-oil sectors.

The Summit assembled over 150 international policymakers, industry CEOs, influential government and academic leaders, investors and NGO representatives to discuss the key opportunities and challenges that characterize a nation in transition.

The first panel discussion was dedicated to economic diversification, which is a key element of the government’s “Azerbaijan 2020: Vision into the Future” program. Mr. Veliyev took part in this session together with Mr. Taleh Kazimov, Member of the Executive Board, Chief Executive Officer Designate of PASHA Bank, Mr. Horia Adrian, Area Manager for Emerging Europe of Holcim, Dimitri Gvindadze, Lead Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Rufat Mammadov, President of AZPROMO.

The panelists stressed that it’s important for the government to encourage the non-oil sector and a business environment for entrepreneurs which is crucial. Mr. Veliyev noted that Azerbaijan has made remarkable progress in developing its economy. “I hope that we’ll achieve a lot beyond the oil sector, converting oil revenue into a sustainable economic future. The important issues are the development of Azerbaijan’s regulatory system, infrastructure and entrepreneurship and access to capital markets. These factors will boost the economic environment in the country,” he said.

Mr. Veliyev also shared his views on what significant changes need to happen to improve Azerbaijan’s business environment. “Boosting the middle class, developing entrepreneurship and creating an overall infrastructure and business environment are important for people to succeed and develop without any obstacles. The government continues to sponsor and support business projects, which is strategically important for Azerbaijan and which has led to huge improvement in electronic services such as banking and tax payment. These developments are encouraging individual entrepreneurial projects. At the same time, we need to educate entrepreneurs so that they know their rights,” said Mr. Veliyev.

Mr. Veliyev remarked that the government is open to collaboration with regional partners and that empowering entrepreneurship will lead to investment, which will improve various sectors. “A balanced economy, one that’s not oriented only towards the oil industry, will let different private sectors achieve success in the market. That will open up new opportunities for business and I strongly believe that Azerbaijan will come out of the situation much stronger than it was before,” he concluded.

The Azerbaijan Investment Summit 2015 provided an excellent opportunity for the regional and international communities to share experience on economic diversity and discuss the positive outlook on investment environment in the region.

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EY in Azerbaijan
EY made a major commitment to Azerbaijan and the region with the opening of our office in Baku 20 years ago. Today, in addition to being the leading audit firm in Azerbaijan, we are the leading firm in the region. Because of our experience and depth of knowledge, we have been able to assist both domestic and international companies as well as state-owned entities in developing and in facing the challenges of the international economy.

2014 was the 20th anniversary of EY in Azerbaijan. We currently have more than 170 staff in our Baku practice, who serves our clients in Azerbaijan. EY's strength in the Caspian Region and the firm's commitment of resources are important to the entities operating in the region. It means that as we grow, EY will continue to demonstrate a tradition of hiring and training local professionals to be leaders in our practice.