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  15 March 2011, Baku. Azerbaijan Days opening ceremony
held in the WB Headquarters in Washington

The opening ceremony of the Azerbaijan Days was held in the Headquarters of the World Bank in Washington
on 15 March 2011 co-sponsored by the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the World Bank Country
Office in Azerbaijan.  

Theodore Ahlers, Regional Operations Director for Europe and Central Asia, World Bank, opening the
ceremony stated that, Azerbaijan has passed very rapid growth path in recent years and joined a group of
average income countries. Currently Azerbaijan is facing new prospects and challenges: “We are ready to be
with Azerbaijan in proper solution of these challenges. We are willing to further incrementally develop our
cooperation as we have done within the past 18 years. Azerbaijan has an expertise of being a sample for other
countries in proper management of revenues generated from natural resources and it is crucial to share this

Th.Ahlers stated that the Azerbaijan Days will play a significant role in development of relations between the
World Bank and Azerbaijan and that numerous bilateral meetings as well as acquaintance of the WB
employees with the rich cultural heritage of Azerbaijan will help the cooperation step to a new stage.

Mr.Elman Rustamov, Governor of the Central Bank further addressed the ceremony and expressed the pride
and honor with the Azerbaijan Days being held in the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington and
stated that, this is a significant event in the history of 20 year productive collaboration between the WB and
Azerbaijan. E.Rustamov conveyed President Ilham Aliyev’s congratulations and greetings to the event
participants and thanked the World Bank President Mr. Robert Zoellick for his support in organization of the
event. “I consider that, colorful program of the event will enable us to conduct an intellectual dialogue with our
friends and gusets as well as get to know rich cultural heritage of Azerbaijan”, E.Rustamov said. The CBA
Governor further highlighted economic development prospects of Azerbaijan and the strategy of cooperation
with the WB and mentioning the substantial role of the WB in the world economy stressed that, the
performance of the bank is of strategic importance for post-communist community. He said that, in the first
years of economic transformation, active support of the WB helped form and develop market economy as well
as deepen market mentality in transitional economies. Azerbaijan has been provided with support in all
directions since 1992 through collaboration with the WB. E.Rustamov stated successful endurance of the
cooperation with the WB within the program of modernization of production infrastructure, small and medium
businesses, poverty reduction.

E.Rustamov speaking on new challenges caused by the global economic crisis informed that, ideologies of
and approaches to sustainable development and globalization are already changing due to this reason. Active
debates and intellectual searches are under way for stable future of the world economy.

After the opening speech Elman Rustamov invited the event participants to get acquainted with the best
samples of the Azerbaijani culture.

To note, in order to present the Azerbaijani culture in the WB premises within the framework of the Azerbaijan
Days, there are installed special stands on the Azerbaijani economy, on the cooperation with the WB, carpet-
weaving and silk exhibition, photogallery on Azerbaijan organized, carpets are live weaved and national
clothing demonstrated. At the same time, the WB and IMF employees are treated to national dishes during
lunch to introduce the Azerbaijani cuisine to the accompaniment of classic Azerbaijani music. Videos and
posters reflecting rich cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, panoramas of Baku, as well as economic growth of the
country are displayed during the event.

To remind, Azerbaijan has been the member of the World Bank since 1992 and total USD 2,9 bln has been
allocated on 43 projects realized in various directions in Azerbaijan up to now. Azerbaijan is the country with the
largest loan portfolio in Europe and Central Asia after Turkey and Kazakhstan.


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