International Business Forum- Azerbaijan

Hospitable, brother country Azerbaijan

During the short period, that I have spent in Baku for the International Business Forum, I understood from the sincerity and hospitality of the Azerbaijani people that, the saying “One nation two states” is more than a saying. I will share my observation about the Forum which had been such a valuable experience for me in Azerbaijan. IBF (International Business Forum) that I am a volunteer member of, is an international platform that represents 42 businessperson associations from 25 different countries that aims to accelerate social and economic development, strengthen communication, create a sustainable cooperation model and advance economic bonds between its members.

We celebrated the 25 th anniversary of International Business Forum, established by MUSIAD in 1995, in Azerbaijan. The event aimed to showcase the reconstruction and restoration plans for Karabakh which had been rescued from the Armenian occupation. IBF hosted more than 600 investors and businesspersons in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (KOBİA) of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economics, with support of the Turkish Ministry Of Trade, Azerbaijan Ministry of Economics, Turkey and Azerbaijan Businessmen and Industrialists Confederation, and MUSIAD’s Azerbaijan branch.

During the annual IBF event, Azerbaijan’s potential of trade and investment was evaluated, especially reconstruction and restoration plans for the Karabakh region. The heightened interest of investors coming from different countries to invest in Azerbaijan gave us hope about the future. During the forum, aside from the planning of the progress of strengthening of mutual trade bonds, proposed superstructure and infrastructure projects, proposed agricultural projects, increased trade volume, support for female entrepreneurship and investments in the energy sector were also discussed.

The most important step of international trade and investment planning is to get to know each other

It is crucially important to share information and evaluate factors such as the trade potential, investment needs, infrastructural capacity, production capacity of both countries, for investors to see what is ahead. Businessmen from Turkey, Middle East and Gulf countries, Turkic Republics, Europe and Azerbaijan that participated in the 25 th International Business Forum took the first steps for cooperation and investments that is ahead by taking the opportunity to participate in the forum. Azerbaijan has an important position in tax-free trade among the member states of Commonwealth of Independent States. Having a wealth of investment opportunities in the country in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health, construction and energy, also makes Azerbaijan a center of attraction.

Minister of Economics of Azerbaijan, Mikayil Jabbarov indicated the importance of the forum via expressing that this forum will contribute to the rise of investments in the liberated lands and is an important platform to increase the investment attraction of the country and to further develop it’s SME’s . Jabbarov also added that his government has already created projects in Karabakh such as industry parks that will increase attractiveness of the region for trade, and that he would be pleased to see foreign companies and investors in his country to take benefit from this strategy. The statement of the Minister showed us once again how our steps as MUSIAD undertaken via IBF are highly appropriate and necessary.

At the forum that I participated as a volunteer of IBF, I understood once again at first hand, how important the support of the business world is to broader bilateral relations between states. I believe International Business Forum is the first step for opening Azerbaijan to the outside world for investment, more especially the Karabakh region. I wish that the relationships created in the forum and the initialization of the investments that had been planned after the meetings will continue rapidly.