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media highlights of the week

Media Highlights of the Week

Author:Caspian Policy Center

Apr 30, 2019

Energy

IMF Expects Azerbaijan’s GDP to Increase Five percent Azerbaijan's oil GDP volume will grow by five percent in 2019 according to the forecast of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). IMF data show that the national GDP volume will reach $45.2 and $47.4 billion in 2019 and 2020 respectively. “The launch of a new gas pipeline, the reorientation of budget expenditures to the domestic economy and the continued improvement in the services sector will contribute to Azerbaijan’s economic growth,” a representative of IMF said. “A fall in the inflation rate opens up opportunities for mitigating monetary policy in Azerbaijan.” Kazakhstan Looking to Increase Uranium Exports to India Bulat Sarsenbayev, Kazakh ambassador to India, held an interview on April 24 in which he revealed that Kazakhstan was investigating increasing its uranium exports to India. Nur-Sultan, which exported 5,000 metric tonnes to India from 2015-2019, is looking to export 7,500 tonnes of the metal for the next five-year period. Sarsenbayev noted that negotiations with the Indian atomic energy company were ongoing but were “moving positively.” Ashgabat, Riyadh Mull Prospects for Co-Op in Gas Industry Head of Turkmenistan’s Turkmengas state concern Myrat Archayev during his working visit to Saudi Arabia met with Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of this country Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih.  Energy diplomacy is one of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy directions. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project will become the next step in the implementation of the energy strategy of Turkmenistan, the report said. EBRD Inks Agreement with China’s Universal Energy on 30MW Solar Project in Eastern Kazakhstan On April 26, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed an agreement with Shanghai-based Universal Energy on the construction of the 30MW Zhangiz solar power plant in Eastern Kazakhstan. The signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation with the participation of Nan Yi, President and CEO of Universal Energy, and Nandita Parshad, managing director of the sustainable infrastructure group. Russia and Armenia Collaborating on Long-Term Gas Contract Sergei Prikhodko, First Deputy Head of the Russian Government Office, stated on April 29 that Russia and Armenia are collaborating on the development of a long-term gas contract valid until 2030. Moscow is the largest supplier of natural gas to Armenia, delivering 2 billion cubic meters annually. The previous long-term gas contract between the two nations expired at the end of 2018, and though a short-term agreement was signed to prevent interruption of gas supplies, it will expire at the end of this year. Alternative Energy to Reach 25-30 Pct of Total Electricity Production in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan is moving ahead in the development of the renewable energy sector, as it aims to increase the share of alternative energy in its total electricity production. In March 2019, Yashma wind power plant produced more than 11 million kWh of electricity, said spokesman for Azerishig OJSC Tanriverdi Mustafayev. BP Examining Hydrocarbon Production in Uzbekistan’s Ustyurt Plateau BP and Uzbekneftegaz are considering developing hydrocarbon reserves in the Ustyurt Plateau in Northwestern Uzbekistan. While BP has only completed a preliminary analysis of the project, BP COO Gordon Birell suggested that signs point to the presence of commercially viable reserves on the plateau, providing grounds for further study of the deposits. Turkmenistan Promotes Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline Passing Through Azerbaijan The possibilities of supplying Turkmen natural gas to Europe — and particularly the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project (via Azerbaijan), which has raised the interest of investors from many countries — are being considered, according to the Turkmen Dovlet Habarlary state agency (TDH).  This was discussed during the meeting of the Turkmenistan-UK Trade & Industry Council (TUKTIC) in Ashgabat, which was attended by Baroness Emma Nicholson, representative of the House of Lords of the UK Parliament.

Security

Turkey Holds Military Drills with Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan The first-ever joint military drills of Turkey, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan were held on April 27 in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan. A separate delegation from the Turkish Armed Forces has traveled to Azerbaijan to participate in the Mustafa Kamal Atatürk 2019 drill from May 1-3. Eight Candidates Enter Kazakhstan’s Presidential Race Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission finished accepting applications for candidates for the upcoming snap presidential elections. The candidates are current president Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, republican public association Uly Dala Kirandary (Eagles of the Great Steppe) writer Sadybek Tugel, chairman of the territorial association of trade unions of the West Kazakhstan region Amangeldy Taspikhov, parliamentary deputy of the Majilis Diana Yespayeva, chairman of the board of the NAO National Agrarian Research and Education Center Toleutai Rakhimbekov, Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan candidate Mazhilisman Zhambyl Akhmetbekov, public association Halyk Demography (Popular Demography) public figure Zhumatay Aliyev, and National Patriotic Movement Ult Tagdyry (Fate of the Nation) politician and journalist Amirzhan Kosanov. Turkmenistan Receives Credentials from New Oman Ambassador Chairperson of the Turkmen parliament Gulshat Mammadova received credentials from the ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman Qasim Mohammad Salim Al Salhi. Iran and Russia to Hold Joint Drill in the Persian Gulf Iran has announced that Russia will dispatch a fleet to its southern waters sometime this year. The announcement came after Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami met with his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoygu on the sidelines of the 8th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow. Croatian Embassy Opens in Baku The official opening ceremony of the Croatian embassy was held in Baku.  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Azerbaijani Minister of Taxes Mikayil Jabbarov, Croatian Deputy Ministers of Foreign and European Affairs Vice Skracic and Ivana Zivkovic attended the opening ceremony.

Economy

Iran Hopes to Circumvent U.S. Sanctions with Blockchain Technology Blockchain technology is a way to circumvent U.S. sanctions, said the secretary of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution of Iran Saeed Reza Ameli. "Blockchain could be an opportunity to expand the private sector's performance and cooperation systems," he said, adding that this technology requires regulation. Ameli believes that the blockchain technology provides the opportunity to bypass global governance systems. "Although the blockchain technology is aimed at creating new currency, it opens a new path, which is, in fact, new governance," he added. The Islamic Republic of Iran has unveiled its very first Bitcoin ATM at the 12th International Exhibition of Exchange, Bank, and Insurance in Tehran. Mellat Bank, Pasargad Bank, Melli Bank and Parsian Bank have reportedly jointly developed the digital currency. Azerbaijan, EU May Soon Complete Negotiations on New Agreement Azerbaijan and the EU may complete negotiations on a new agreement on strategic partnership in May, Head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan Kestutis Jankauskas said. Speaking at a conference on "Strengthening the institutional and administrative capacity of the Chamber of Accounts of the Republic of Azerbaijan" on April 29, he said that last week negotiations on trade issues were held. He added that a meeting dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the Eastern Partnership program will be held in Brussels in May. Kazakhstan to Export Electricity to Other EAEU Members Kazakhstan is looking to export electricity to EAEU countries, where it is also a member. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an economic union, which includes Armenia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan. "In the last three years the total volume of exported electricity reached 13.789 billion kWh (4 percent of the volume produced). Within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community's unified electricity market, formation the protocol between EAEU countries is be signed before March 2019. The event is to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the Eurasian Economic Community agreement signing," said Kanat Bozumbayev, the minister of energy. Turkmenistan Inks Agreements with UK Insurance Brokers Turkmenistan has signed two memorandums on cooperation in the organization of insurance and reinsurance with UK insurance brokers. In particular, the local company Hazar ätiýaçlandyryş OJSC (Hazar insurance) has entered into agreements with insurance brokers Ed Broking LLP and United Insurance Brokers Ltd. Uzbekistan Absorbs Over $3.5 Billion of Investments In 1Q2019, 29.88 trillion soums ($3,541,676,400) of investments in fixed assets were disbursed in Uzbekistan, of which 68.7 percent were borrowed funds, and 31.3 percent were the own funds of enterprises and organizations. In the reporting period, 41.8 percent of the total investment was utilized at the expense of centralized sources of financing, which is 23.9 percentage points more compared to the same period last year. Azerbaijan Elected as Vice-Chairman of Europe Region of World Customs Organization Azerbaijan was elected deputy chairman of the Customs Cooperation Council of the World Customs Organization (WCO), head of the Europe Region at the WCO Europe Region Heads of Customs Conference held in St. Petersburg. During the conference, the head of the UK Customs Service voiced a positive opinion about Azerbaijan. Four More Kazakh Agricultural Enterprises to Supply Products to China Kazakhstan and China have agreed on a veterinary certificate for the export of meat and meat products from Kazakhstan to China. The document includes the requirements put forward by the Chinese side for imported beef and lamb. As noted by the Ministry, veterinary inspectors from China examined several meat-processing enterprises of Kazakhstan. (Sources: AKIpress, Armenpress, AzerNews, Daily Sabah, Hindustan Times, Jerusalem Post, KazInform, Mehr News, New Europe, PV Magazine, Reuters, RIA Novosti, TASS, and Trend News Agency.)


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