Business Forum France-Azerbaijan-Turkey: Three Countries, One Partnership, brings together 100 entrepreneurs

Press Release: Around 100 business leaders, diplomats and professionals met in Baku on 6 July during the Business Forum France–Azerbaijan–Turkey: Three Countries, One Partnership. This provided them with the opportunity to share their knowledge on sustainable city development and agriculture and learn about the prospects for co-operation in the Azerbaijani market.

Hosted in the brand-new Boulevard Autograph Hotel facing the Caspian Sea, the Forum was organised by the Embassy of France in Azerbaijan, and sponsored by ENGIE and Thalès, in partnership with Business France, the Azerbaijan–Turkish Business Group, Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Agency (AZPROMO) and The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS).

Teyba Guliyeva, Member of the Board of Directors, Azerbaijan–France Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIAF) and Regional Director, Société Générale bank, opened the Forum by informing the audience about the successful registration of the Chamber. She stated that the main purpose and goal of the Chamber was to contribute towards the development of Franco-Azerbaijani business relations, identifying the opportunities in each country and assisting companies on both sides in finding the right partners in France and Azerbaijan. All Forum participants were invited to join the CCIAF as members from September 2015.

Cengiz Gul, Chairman, Turkish–Azerbaijan Business Council, welcomed the audience by outlining a brief history of Turkish business development in Azerbaijan. Mr Gul revealed that Azerbaijani–Turkish trade turnover in 2014 amounted to $4bn, and this is expected to reach $10bn during the next few years. Turkey is currently the biggest external investor in the Azerbaijani non-oil sector. 

As the Forum focused on the concept of the ‘Sustainable City’, presentations by French, Azerbaijani and Turkish professionals were dedicated to Smart Cities, infrastructure and environment. There was also an outline of existing case studies and success stories where French and Turkish companies co-operated with Azerbaijani partners.

French businesses at the forum included ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez), Thalès, Alstom, Bouygues Construction, Total, Schneider Electric, SUEZ-Environment, Systra, Areva, CNIM, Iveco Bus, and Smoove. The Azerbaijani companies AzerSu, Akkord Construction, Baku Bus and Azersun delivered presentations. The other Azerbaijani companies participating at the Forum were Azenco, Milla, Aztexnika, Aztikintiyol, AzTransportA Ltd., Pasha Construction, Shamkir Agropark, Synergy Group and Temiz Sheher.

The forum also included a roundtable focusing on the agricultural and food industry, which included discussions between various French and Azerbaijani companies, including Azersun, Lactalis, BCDE, Gilan and the Synergy Group. Representatives of TEAS Turkey and TEAS France also participated in the Forum. Rena Rzaeva, Head of TEAS in Istanbul, gave a brief presentation on TEAS’ activities during the roundtable.

A highlight was the presentation by H.E. Matthias Fekl, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Tourism Development and for France Overseas. Mr Fekl, who attended the closing ceremony, expressed his gratitude to the organisers of the Forum and the participants. Stressing the importance of the private sector and its role in the country’s economy, he commented that the French Government would give full support towards the further development of projects and would be ready to adapt to the specific needs of the Azerbaijani marketplace.

Rufat Mammedov, President, AZPROMO, closed the Forum by urging Azerbaijani companies to seek closer engagement with their French counterparts.

The Forum concluded with a series of lively business-to-business (B2B) meetings that enabled representatives to continue the dialogue and discuss potential collaboration.