U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) organized the 1st U.S.-Azerbaijan Banking & Finance Forum in New York with the sponsorship of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, PASHA Bank, Boeing Company and GE. The forum took place at Harvard Club of New York, the city’s most exclusive private club, just steps away from America’s Fortune 500 companies and largest investment banks.
The first-ever forum gathering Azerbaijani and U.S. bankers and financiers included sessions on today’s shifting dynamics in the South Caucasus and bankers’ perspectives on the region.
The event brought together over 150 government officials, representatives of financial institutions, investment banks and funds, diplomats and journalists with the aim of exploring banking and finance partnership opportunities. Speakers included banking and finance leaders from Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, BNY Mellon, Bloomberg LP, Reuters, FINCA International, the World Bank, BP, Maroon Capital Group, SOCAR, PASHA Bank, IBA, AccessBank and Dentons.
USACC Executive Director Susan Sadigova and Co-Chairman Bill Delahunt opened the forum, welcoming participants and recalling the Azerbaijani banking industry’s important role in developing the oil and gas sector and diversifying the economy.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov, PASHA Bank Chairman Farid Akhundov, New York Chief Representative of the International Bank of Azerbaijan Faig Mammadov, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein and Citigroup Vice Chairman Zubaid Ahmad were among the forum’s keynote speakers.
In his speech, the Ambassador discussed Azerbaijan’s economic growth and achievements, stating that up to $150 billion have been invested in the economy so far. Highlighting the country’s strategic location between Europe and Asia, he noted that Azerbaijan was the first country to open the Caspian’s resources to U.S. firms and is a key partner in ensuring EU energy security. He also mentioned Azerbaijan’s partnership with American companies in launching its first satellite, in major infrastructure projects and economic diversification, and its purchase of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
During his address, Mr. Akhundov expressed PASHA Bank’s enthusiasm and support for the forum, which he referred to as a new platform for developing cooperation between U.S. and Azerbaijani banks.
Other speakers, including U.S. Department of Commerce Executive Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Lally, stressed the importance of enhancing business and trade ties between the United States and Azerbaijan and the need for U.S. companies to move beyond selling products and services in Azerbaijan to implementing large-scale non-energy projects.
Slated to become an annual forum, the event will play a central role in facilitating financial partnerships between Azerbaijan and the United States and attracting new investments to the South Caucasus region.
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