USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Visits Azerbaijan

USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Visits Azerbaijan

Society
19 October 2019, 15:03 52
BAKU – Today, Dr. Alex Sokolowski, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, concluded his four-day visit to Azerbaijan. "I've traveled to Azerbaijan several times in the past, but this trip is particularly special for me because it is my first visit to Azerbaijan in my capacity as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development’s Europe and Eurasia Bureau. I was fortunate to be able to travel outside of Baku to meet some of the people USAID works with in the beautiful regions of Lankaran and Guba, and I had very productive meetings in Baku with senior government officials. Both sides walked away with some clear steps forward for how to advance USAID’s partnership with the government. I also met with civil society and media representatives to seek their input on how we can support their dialogue with the government. Civil society and media are valuable tools to help governments better meet the needs of their citizens,” said Dr. Sokolowski at the conclusion of his visit.
 
During the trip, Dr. Sokolowski met with Ali Hasanov, Head of the Department for Public and Political Issues of the Presidential Administration; Mr. Inam Karimov, Minister of Agriculture; Mr. Rufat Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Economy; and Mr. Emin Huseynov, Advisor to the First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan to discuss the successful partnership between USAID and Azerbaijan towards advancing economic diversification and supporting key reforms initiatives. 
 
On October 16, Dr. Sokolowski travelled to Lenkaran where he met with Mr. Taleh Garashov, Head of the Executive Committee of Lenkaran, to discuss working together to support the development of local agriculture and building economic opportunities for local women and youth. He then met with local youth who attended a vocational training supported by USAID and the International Organization for Migration to discuss their ideas for expanding employment opportunities for young people. He also met with a woman entrepreneur who was able to modernize and expand production of her citrus farm with USAID support and another entrepreneur who used supplemental funding from USAID to open a citrus cold-storage facility that extends the shelf-life of locally produced citrus fruit. Since 2014, USAID’s $10 million investment in technical assistance to private agribusinesses like these in Azerbaijan has created $70 million in agricultural exports. This is a huge achievement on the part of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs.
 
On October 17, Mr. Sokolowski travelled to Guba where he met with Mr. Ziyaddin Aliyev, Head of the Executive Committee of Guba. They discussed partnership on current USAID-funded projects to support the development of rural communities and the district’s agricultural sector. Mr. Sokolowski visited a USAID-supported fruit nursery and agricultural training center in Guba that produces a wide range of fruit saplings from virus-free rootstocks and teaches local farmers how to maximize their fruit production.
 
During his visit, Mr. Sokolowski also met with international organizations, other donors, and representatives of civil society and media. Dr. Sokolowski has visited Azerbaijan several times since 2004 as part of his work for USAID.