The International Finance Corporation (IFC), in cooperation with the Alat Azad Economic Zone, an export-oriented industrial zone created to promote the diversification of Azerbaijan's economy away from the oil sector, will seek opportunities to support potential investors in developing relevant projects.

According to information provided by IFC to APA-Economics, despite the fact that the oil sector is the main pillar of economic development in the country, Azerbaijan also utilizes the opportunities available in the non-oil sector for innovative initiatives for the private sector, including the Alat Free Economic Zone (abbreviated Free Zone or through AFEZ in English), intends to promote

This approach was also reflected in the document "Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for socio-economic development" adopted last year.

To support this strategy, IFC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the competent authority of the Alat Free Economic Zone.

According to the memorandum, a consultant to companies interested in operating in the Free Zone and a supporting framework for the development of projects at the initial stage will be established.

IFC will provide support and advisory services for residents of the Free Zone in partnership with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and the AFEZ authority.

The goal is to help companies identify and develop relevant investment projects that will ensure Azerbaijan's transition to a "net zero" carbon environment and climate change-resistant development.

"Alat Free Economic Zone is at the center of efforts to build a knowledge-based, competitive economy characterized by modern energy, transport and logistics infrastructure in Azerbaijan, creating a unique environment for investors.

Our cooperation with IFC will help us to achieve this goal by following the most advanced international standards," said Valeh Alasgarov, chairman of the authorized body of the Alat Free Economic Zone.

In the Alat Free Economic Zone, located close to the Baku International Sea Trade Port and transport corridors, the government of Azerbaijan is creating an independent legal and regulatory framework, providing tax and non-fiscal incentives and building appropriate infrastructure to attract export-oriented, high-value-added and industrial activities to the Free Zone. and develop.

"In recent decades, the locomotive of Azerbaijan's economic growth has mainly been the oil and gas sector.

However, radical changes in the region's geopolitical situation and the development of energy systems, as well as the government's long-term strategic economic reform plans, require the diversification of the country's economy, said Rena Karadsheh, regional director of IFC for Europe.

- Partnership with AFEZ is an integral part of our efforts to support this process, because the diversification of the economy will ensure the country's global competitiveness and the prosperity of future generations of Azerbaijanis."

Azerbaijan has been a member of the International Finance Corporation since 1995.

During the past period, IFC invested nearly 500 million US dollars (including 73 million dollars attracted from other lenders) in a number of economic sectors of Azerbaijan, such as financial services, infrastructure and industry.

In addition, IFC supported trade turnover of around $100 million through the trade finance program and allocated $250 million for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

IFC has also implemented various advisory services projects to support the development of the private sector.