The 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region for Thursday, June 4:
1Why China Can Profit From Turkmen LNG To Europe. “A plan to transit liquid natural gas from Turkmenistan to Europe has been bandied about in the past, the urgency of putting this plan into action has never been greater. Despite the myriad of economic, geographic, and geopolitical obstacles, Turkmenistan still represents a viable alternative to Russia. The question is — how does energy-hungry China feel about the prospect of the European Union exploiting Turkmenistan’s resources? The answer? Most likely indifferent” writes Aviv Lubell for Global Risk Insights.
2The Russian Challenge. “The root cause of the challenge posed to the West by Russia lies in the country’s internal development, and its failure to find a satisfactory pattern of development following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin and his circle are not the same as Russia and its people, and their interests do not necessarily coincide. The West has neither the wish nor the means to promote, or for that matter to prevent, regime change in Russia. But Western countries need to consider the possible consequences of a chaotic end to the Putin system.The West needs to develop and implement a clear and coherent strategy towards Russia. As far as possible, this strategy must be based on a common transatlantic and European assessment of Russian realities. In particular, policy should draw on the evidence of Russia’s behaviour, not on convenient or fashionable narratives”. [Chatham House]
3An ‘are you kidding me’ foreign policy.“Today, the United States calls for Russia to respect the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, but conveniently omits even a nod to Azerbaijan. There is not even condemnation of repeated acts of aggression by Armenia. In fact, these past years, Azerbaijan has been repeatedly attacked for how its young and emerging democracy functions. And omnipresent on the U.S. radar screen are perceived human rights abuses such as closing mosques when there are unsavory clerics calling for Shariah law and the overthrow of the rightful and elected government” writes Norma Zager for the Washington Times.
4Kazakhstan is building a new major ferry complex in the port of Kuryk in the Caspian Sea.Commissioning of the ferry complex is scheduled for December 2016, according to the company.The volume of cargo transshipment by the new complex will be at the level of 4.1 million metric tons per year, according to the feasibility study of the project.Implementation of this project began in April 2015.Construction of 16 buildings and facilities is planned at the territory of the complex within the framework of the project.The terminal will be located on the area of 21 hectares. At the same time, it is planned to construct 14.34 kilometers long access road and 11.58 kilometers long dead-end track. The expansion of the Aktau sea port and the construction of the ferry complex in the Kuryk port will increase the port capacity of Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea up to 24 million metric tons via the TRACECA and the North-South corridors, the company said. Moreover, the ports of Kazakhstan will be able to handle six million metric tons of ferry cargo annually.
5How to succeed in Iran: lessons from Russia and China. To succeed in Iran, Schweitzer recommends raising capital locally and taking advantage of existing infrastructure and expertise. Ideally, the only imports should be upper management and know-how, he says. Now, Arjan Capital consults foreign firms interested in a range of sectors: construction, hospitality, energy and branded retail. “Like the Chinese, the Iranians love western brands, so we bring a few very serious companies…with a long-term vision,” Schweitzer adds. “No one comes to build just one hotel. They are coming to stay because the cost of getting established is significant.” As in other transitioning economies, staffing poses a particular challenge for foreign firms. After years of isolation from international trends, Iranian workers lack the skills to fill middle and upper management positions. “If you needed in Russia 20 years ago 16 interviews to fill one job, you’re looking at double that in Iran,” Schweitzer says. [the guardian]
6Jereh Group participated in the 22nd International Oil and Gas Exhibition in Baku and showcased its stron.g capacity with the offering the latest and customized oil and gas solutions for the local market demand. Rich in oil and gas resource, Azerbaijan has become an important regional natural gas producer with the start of production in the Shah Deniz field in 2006. Strong demand resides offshore to boost Azerbaijan’s oil and gas production which could enhance its energy export to the Western. Jereh showcases its offshore engineering strength backed up by reliable manufacturing power with operating cases sharing onsite. “We are capable of providing offshore platform, offshore drilling package and auxiliary equipment with electrical control system” expressed Mr. Vova Du, manager of Jereh’s Azerbaijan market claims to the media, “in this March, Jereh came into alliance with Plexus, the world leading oil and gas company, which equips us with POS-GRIP technology and will definitely create significant impact in the subsea field and compelling benefits for our customers around the world”.
7Gambling industry in Kazakhstan: Business Report 2015. This report is a comprehensive research of Gambling industry in Kazakhstan.The first two chapters of the report feature the country profile by giving general information on Kazakhstan and by thoroughly studying its economic state (including key macroeconomic indicators and their development trends). The third chapter covers common business procedures in the country: from starting a project to closing a business. This chapter elucidates the country’s fiscal system, existing labour practices, property rights regulation peculiarities and other issues vital for running business in this country. Further the report analyses Gambling industry in the country. This key chapter tells about main trends in the industry, identifies key market players (including major producers, traders, etc.), and evaluates trade operations within the sector in the recent years. [RESEARCH AND MARKETS]
8Russia’s High-Tech Oil Projects Unaffected by Western Sanctions. “Today, all projects involving Russian companies continue to be implemented. A number of foreign companies have suspended their participation due to sanctions introduced in regard to high-tech oil. This is of no vital importance for the development of such deposits as of today, our companies will continue to work with hard-to-extract oil deposits,” Novak said in an interview with RT.
9Several foreign investors show interest in Azerbaijan’s OGPC project. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) has received concrete proposals from several foreign investors on the possible participation in the project for creation of a new oil and gas processing and petrochemical complex (OGPC), SOCAR’s vice president for strategic development Tofig Gahramanov said June 4. ‘We have received several concrete proposals and started negotiations with the prospective partners, if the negotiations are completed successfully, the subsequent stages of the project can be implemented jointly with partners, he added.
10The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will lend up to €10 million to a private water utility, Vodnye Resoursy Marketing, which provides water and wastewater services to Kazakhstan’s southern city of Shymkent, the bank reported. The loan will be used for modernising the water and wastewater services in the city. Meanwhile the government of Kazakhstan will provide a capital grant in tenge equivalent to €8 million, and Vodnye Resoursy Marketing will invest the equivalent of €500,000 into the modernization project. “Privately-owned Vodnye Resoursy Marketing is among the best utility companies in the country in terms of its operational and financial performance, despite working in a low-income city. The new project will further demonstrate the benefits of involving private companies in providing public services in Kazakhstan,” the bank said.
EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Solid progress in supporting refugees
The Commission reported today good progress in the implementation and programming of €6 billion of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. More than 80 projects are currently up and running delivering tangible results to refugees and host communities in particular on education and health. Out of the €6 billion, some €4.2 billion has been allocated, of which €3.45 billion has been contracted and €2.22 billion disbursed to date.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations,said: “We continue to make good progress in the implementation and programming of the Facility. More than 80 projects to date provide vital assistance in the areas of education, health, protection and socio-economic support, and more projects are in the pipeline. We remain committed to continue our support to refugees and host communities in Turkey, addressing current needs and increasing resilience and self-reliance for the longer term.”
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management,added: “The European Union is continuing to support refugees in Turkey, in line with its commitment. 1.6 million refugees are receiving humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Looking ahead to the future, we are working to make our support more sustainable. We remain committed to continue working closely with Turkey to make this possible.”
Today, the twelfth Steering Committee meeting of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey took place in Brussels. It was chaired by the Commission and brought together representatives of EU Member States and Turkey.
The Committee reviewed the third annual monitoring report on the implementation of the Facility and confirmed the progress made in the programming of the second €3 billion tranche of the budget of the Facility. It completed the evaluation of project proposals in the areas of socio-economic support and municipal infrastructure to the tune of €845 million.
The 84 projects set up in the framework of the Facility bring forth concrete outcomes and a significant positive impact for refugees and host communities alike, facilitating the integration of refugees in the Turkish society.
For education, one of the priority areas of action, the EU signed a €400 million contract to continue its support to existing programmes, which is to be complemented by a further €100 million before the summer. This involves the construction of 136 school buildings and 50 prefabricated schools well under way. This progress in education infrastructure goes hand in hand with the implementation of the project for Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education System (PICTES), which benefits 400,000 students.
In the area of health, 5 million healthcare consultations have been carried out, with 178 migrant health centres now operational, employing over 2,600 staff, two thirds of which are Syrian refugees.
The EU is highly focused on ensuring the sustainability of the Facility’s humanitarian and development activities, which aim to support the Turkish authorities in a structural manner and to facilitate refugee integration. Under the humanitarian strand of the second tranche, the EU is implementing projects for a total of €50 million in addition the ongoing projects under the first tranche, those have already delivered tangible results for refugees and host communities.
The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey was set up in 2015 in response to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support Syrian refugees in Turkey.
It has a total budget of €6 billion divided into two equal tranches of €3 billion each, allocated over two periods: 2016-2017 and 2018-2019.Out of the operational funds of €6 billion, €2.22 billion has already been disbursed, €3.45 billion contracted, with over 80 projects rolled out.
The Facility provides a joint coordination mechanism, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The support seeks to improve conditions for refugees in Turkey as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to addressing the refugee crisis inside and outside the EU.
European Union and World Bank Support to Help Enhance Georgia’s Innovation Ecosystem
The European Union (EU) and the World Bank launched today the Increasing Institutional Capacity for Innovation (IICI) project, at an event held at Tech Park Georgia. Nika Alavidze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus, and Stig Kjeldsen, First Secretary at Delegation of the European Union to Georgia offered opening remarks at the event.
“The World Bank is proud to continue to stand by GITA as it transforms from a young ‘startup’ agency into a mature framework for Georgia’s coordination of its innovation and entrepreneurship policy and practice,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “With support from the EU, and the Bank’s technical assistance, this project will allow GITA to take the next step toward greater institutional capacity and effectiveness, test the potential for technology transfer, and improve opportunities for investing in innovative, early stage companies in Georgia.”
“Innovation increases SME competitiveness and creates jobs, and innovation policy is actually at the heart of the EU’s own Europe 2020 strategy for growth and job creation,” said Stig Kjeldsen, Cooperation Officer at the EU Delegation to Georgia. “Further assisting GITA in building Georgia’s innovation ecosystem falls naturally in line with the EU’s commitment to supporting business development in Georgia.”
The IICI project is financed by the EU to the amount of €2.7 million and will be implemented by the World Bank. The overall objective of the project is to increase GITA’s capacity to develop and implement innovation and entrepreneurship policies and programs with medium- and long-term strategies and results; test and demonstrate the viability of technology transfer between educational institutions and the private sector in Georgia; improve the deal flow of innovative start-ups ready for investment, and fund availability for early-stage companies.
The IICI project is expected to generate important results, including: easier access to support and finance for a greater number of small and medium enterprises and innovative firms, a more coherent public approach to supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs and a boost in overall innovative economic activity.
World Bank Group Releases Little Data Book on Gender
The World Bank Group today released the Little Data Book on Gender 2019 to provide an easily accessible entry point to statistics tracking gaps between men and women, boys and girls for 217 economies around the world with comparable data for 2000 and 2017.
In addition to demographic and economic information, the Little Data Book on Gender indicators include the proportion of women and men who use the internet, sex-disaggregated smoking prevalence, and the percentage of female graduates from science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs in tertiary education.
The book includes two indicators from the Women, Business and the Law database: the length of paid maternity leave and whether women are legally able to work in the same industries as men.
“Progress in eliminating poverty and ensuring shared prosperity can be enhanced and accelerated when we have good data,” said Caren Grown, World Bank Group Senior Director for Gender. “The Little Data Book on Gender offers policymakers and development practitioners easy access to data on males and females in the domains in which we work – health, education, and economic life. As sex-disaggregated data becomes increasingly available, there is no excuse to not use it in our policy dialogue and to inform choices about interventions.”
This edition of the Little Data Book on Gender also features online tables that will be updated quarterly.
“Regular online updates will make it easier than ever to see how women and men are faring across a range of global indicators, and to track progress over time,” said Haishan Fu, Director, Development Data Group. “This supplements the fuller, curated data and analysis tools provided by the World Bank Group, including through the Gender Data Portal.”
The Little Data Book on Gender shows remarkable broad progress toward gender equality in education enrollment and health, while gender inequality remains stubbornly persistent in access to economic opportunities. On virtually every global measure, the Little Data Book on Gender reveals that women are more likely than men to be engaged in low productivity activities, and to work more in vulnerable employment.
The Little Data Book on Gender can be accessed online through the World Bank’s Gender Data Portal, and can be used by researchers, journalists, policy makers, and anyone interested in gaps between men and women.
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