Draft Agenda – Subject to change

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WEDNESDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2014

08.30   Registration

Azerbaijan means business: key messages to investors and businesses – Economic Diversification is the Key

09.00   Official welcome

Word of welcome: Vanessa Raine – Business Director

Moderator: John Patterson – CEO, I2Offshore

Keynote welcome speech:

HE Irfan Siddiq OBE – UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan

Speakers:

  • Tale Heydarov – Chairman, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS)
  • Charles Hendry MP – Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
  • Lord…
  • Minister Azerbaijan….
  • Rufat Mammadov – President, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO)
  • Ilham Aliyev – Deputy Executive Director, Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC)
  • Simon Walker – Director-General, Institute of Directors (IOD)

 

SESSION 1: Challenges and opportunities in the ICT Sector – the new fuel for the Azerbaijani economy

Moderator: Farid Ismayilzade – Founder and CEO, GoldenPay

ICT has become the second most profitable sector in Azerbaijan’s economy, and the Azerbaijani government has put its development at the forefront of its agenda as the nation seeks to become an ICT hub for the region. The State Fund for the Development of information Technologies was established in 2012 and operates as a state body with the remit of stimulating functions in the IT field.

“We will continue to take measures to reduce the dependence of the economy on oil, and will also continue with a balanced development of the non-oil sector.”Shahin Mustafayev
, Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development.

The ICT sector has, over the last decade, enjoyed an average annual growth rate of 25–30 percent. In 2012, the sector grew by 17.3 per cent, reaching approximately US$2 billion. Professor Dr Ali Abbasov
, Azerbaijani Minister for Communications and High TechnologiesSource: http://www.the-report.net/azerbaijan/oct2013/704-ict-2013-the-year-of-ict

Speakers:

  • Professor Dr Ali Abbasov – Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and High Technologies
  • Azerfon LLC
  • Sumgait Technological Park – AIC
  • Infipro Inc

 

11.30–11.45    Coffee Break

 

Session 2: Finance, financial services and banking

Moderator: Vugar Farman Aliyev – Director, KPMG Azerbaijan

The government of Azerbaijan has significantly increased its budget expenditure in recent years due to its continued strong hydrocarbon export revenues. This has facilitated increased growth in other areas, including the financial services sector. Today, this sphere represents around 31 per cent of GDP, leaving it open to investment opportunities.

Azerbaijani banks managed to avoid damage during the international economic downturn, due to limited exposure to credit from abroad. Today, credit is increasing, a new securities market is emerging, and there is growth within the insurance and microfinance sectors.

Most Azerbaijani banks are small, with the remaining state-owned bank, the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), still accounting for 34 per cent of banking sector assets. The privatisation of IBA is under consideration, but although 23 banks have some foreign shareholding, only five are majority foreign-owned.

To date, foreign investment has so far come mainly from international financial institutions, and from the Russian Federation, Turkey, and the Middle-East.

Regulation and supervision: International standards and good practices have been respected within all institutional frameworks in Azerbaijan, and this will continue to be the case under the Financial Sector Assessment Programme, scheduled to resume in 2014. There are plans to channel resources, destined for non-hydrocarbons sector development, into the economy through private sector commercial banks.

Trade Finance: Trade finance and SME credit lines from external funding agencies are needed in Azerbaijan today, despite the improved access of Azerbaijani banks to international market funding. Azerbaijani banks urgently need capital, and assistance in the form of equity could be the way forward.

Microfinance: The microfinance sector is well-established in Azerbaijan, dominated by Access Bank and FINCA, which account for nearly 50 per cent, although the smaller providers still require funding.

Insurance and leasingFurther regulation is needed in this sector, together with increasing capacity and conceptualising reforms to create a more competitive environment. Leasing remains lacking in the market.

Speakers:

  • Central Bank of Azerbaijan
  • State Committee for Securities
  • Jon Edwards – Deputy Head, Equity Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange
  • World Bank/ADB
  • Unibank
  • AzSigorta (Gilan Holding) 

 

Keynote: ASAN – A new innovation in public services

Keynote: The European Games – Gavin McAlpine

 

Session 3: Grand construction projects – a master plan

Moderator: Hugh Mulcahey – Partner, Concerto LLP

“The area known for a century as the Black City will turn white. It will become clean and flowers will be grown. It will come to be known as a beautiful region of Azerbaijan.” Former President Heydar Aliyev, National Leader of Azerbaijan.

The Black City appeared at the end of 19th century in the eastern part of Baku. It is a piece of urban heritage from the first oil boom and the result of urban development from a distant past. It played a major role in the oil industry for more than a century, and was where the ‘black gold’ was refined, stored and prepared for transportation.

In 2006, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev proposed a comprehensive action plan to improve ecological conditions in Baku. Steps were undertaken to remove industrial pollution from the peripheries of the city, decontaminate the land, and improve the coastal boulevard.

The decision was therefore made to remediate and redevelop the Black City area, located alongsisw the main route connecting the capital with its international airport.

The Baku White City project encourages both local and foreign investment, and offers a wide range of residential and commercial buildings of various sizes. Investors will soon be able to select suitable units for investment and construction, from small villas to large-scale urban projects.

Speakers:

  • Fosters & Partners / Atkins
  • Rep – Baku White City

 

Session 4: Energy – the Southern Gas Corridor enters the construction phase

Moderator: Mehmet Öğütçü, Chairman, Global Resources Partnership

The Southern Gas Corridor is rapidly taking shape and coming closer to bringing Azerbaijani Caspian gas to the European market. Let’s not forget that the Shah Deniz development, and construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) are only the initial steps for what is to come – namely a Southern Corridor energy highway that will eventually carry Central Asian, Caspian, Iranian, Iraqi and Eastern Mediterranean gas flows via Turkey to high-value international markets.

In June 2013, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) won a tender to take control of DESFA, the Greek public natural gas transmission system operator, outbidding Gazprom in the process. A week later, Azerbaijan and the Shah Deniz Consortium selected TAP over its rival Nabucco West for the transportation of Caspian gas to Europe. The volumes flowing through TANAP will increase from 16bnm3 (bcm) annually, planned for 2020, to 23bcm by 2023 and 31bcm by 2026.

By the end of May, several agreements were signed with Turkey to increase the stake of Turkish national oil and gas company TPAO in Shah Deniz 2 to 19 per cent and Turkish pipeline corporation BOTAS’ share in TANAP to 30 per cent. TANAP shareholders plan to lay the pipeline's foundation in the second quarter of 2014, with it being commissioned in 2018. The costs of the TANAP project are estimated at between $10–11bn.

The main risk to the Southern Gas Corridor comes from its competitor—the prospective Russian-led South Stream Gas Pipeline. However, the Bulgarian Prime Minister has ordered a halt to construction work on this pipeline project, which was planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidate the Russian energy grip in Europe.

It is a bigger game, coupled with huge opportunities and risks, both geopolitical and economic. The game is not over yet – it requires an integrated management of energy, geopolitics, finance, investment and human capital.

Speakers:

  • Charles Hendry MP – Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
  • Murat Mercan – Turkish Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
  • David Merkel – Former Deputy Assistant US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and Professor, Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy
  • Rufat Afandiyev – UK Director, State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR)
  • ????? Vice-President, Shah Deniz Development, BP
  • Michael Hoffmann – External Affairs Director, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
  • ??????Director-General, DG Energy, European Commission

 

Final word: Education – Keeping the Energy of Growth Running

Keynote Address – The Rector, Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA)

13.00–14.00

Closing comments

Speakers:

  • H.E.– Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK
  • H.E. Irfan Siddiq OBE – UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan
  • Tale Heydarov – Chairman, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS)
  • Christopher Pincher MP – Chair, Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group and Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee

End of Forum: Networking Lunch

14.00–17.00

B2B Meetings

Interested companies are kindly requested to register with:

Vanessa Raine

E-mail : vanessa.raine@teas.eu

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