World Bank, IMF and Parliamentarians Convene in Baku to Hear Of The "Great Example" of Azerbaijan

May 24, 2013, 02:57 ET from Azerbaijan Monitor

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The World Bank, the IMF and more than 200 MPs have convened in Baku to be told Azerbaijan is a "great example of what resources combined with effective development policies can achieve".

The comments were made by Belgian MP Alain Destexhe, President of the Parliamentary Network, at the tenth annual conference of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which is being held east of Europe for the first time.

Opening the event he told delegates from 70 nations that the warning for developing nations is that resource wealth must be used to improve the lives of the citizens, and this has happened in Azerbaijan.

"An endowment of natural resources is simply not enough. They have to be combined with a sustainable framework for development," he said, adding that Azerbaijan's triumph has been to reduce poverty from 50 percent in 2001 to 7.6 percent in 2011.

His words were well-received by many MPs from developing nations who used the two day audience with the World Bank and IMF to air their grievances relating to development funds and the conditions applied by donor nations.

IMF Chief of Public Affairs Sabina Bhatia welcomed the robust debate in Baku saying: "There is suddenly a great desire to engage with IMF and the World Bank. It allows us to explain some of the policies we have been pursuing with their countries."

The conference was told Azerbaijan is set to help developing countries as a donor nation, having itself recorded a remarkable transformation over the past decade.

"Azerbaijan can be a good example for the rest of the world, especially for resource-rich countries as it efficiently used its resources for poverty elimination, development and economic growth," said Elman Rustamov, Governor of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.

World Bank Vice-President Cyril Muller agreed saying: "In this region in particular you had evolutions in last 10-15 years that have been remarkable. What they have done right is focusing on building institutions, strengthening policies and governance.

"I think that it is meaningful that his country is hosting the conference. It is sign of maturing institutions and successful economics."

Event host, Azerbaijani MP Elkhan Suleymanov, said hanging over the success story of Azerbaijan is the unresolved two decade long conflict with neighbouring Armenia, which he called on the visiting MPs to protest "before it is too late".

He warned a key reservoir controlled by occupying Armenia is now at risk of collapse through neglect, and this has the potential to kill thousands of his fellow citizens living downstream.

SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor