WB: Azerbaijan's economy may grow 1% in 2018

Sat 12 August 2017 05:50 GMT | 09:50 Local Time

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The World Bank (WB) forecasts 0.5-1 per cent growth of Azerbaijan's economy in 2018, head of the WB Baku office Naveed Hassan Naqvi said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

According to Naghvi, this year the bank expects the country's economy to decrease by approximately 1-1.5 percent.

"Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani economy depends too much on the oil sector. But the decline in energy prices and the subsequent devaluation of the national currency created an opportunity for the development of other economic sectors. The current exchange rate will allow many potential exporters of agricultural products to sell them at more competitive prices in various markets,"the source said.

The decline in oil prices, Naqvi continued, means that the state revenues have declined and this forces us to think about reforms that will allow to diversify the country's economy.

"Naturally, the Azerbaijani government, proceeding from the situation in the world economy, continues to work on various reforms. In this context, we welcome the adoption of strategic road maps, which were published in late 2016 - early in 2017," he said.

Among other similar reforms, Naqvi also highlighted the creation of the Financial Stability Board. However, in his opinion, any reforms take time, so it is still too early to speak about their effectiveness. Nevertheless, the interlocutor of the agency added that the reforms implemented by the Azerbaijani government have the potential to have a very good effect on the country's economy.

The WB's expectations for the growth of Azerbaijan's economy are approximately similar to those of other financial organizations. Thus, the International Monetary Fund expects the economy of the Caspian littoral republic to decrease by one percent in 2017, and to grow by two percent in 2018. Dutch "ING Bank" predicts a reduction this year by one percent and an increase of 1.6 percent in 2018, the Asian Development Bank foresees a decrease of 1.1 percent and an increase of 1.2 percent, respectively, and Standard & Poor's "says the country's economy will drop one percent and increase 2 percent in the respective years.

Azerbaijan joined the World Bank Group in 1992.

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