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IOM Azerbaijan and SMS organized the 2nd meeting of the Working Group

On 22-23 November 2022, IOM Azerbaijan, in partnership with the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan organized the 2nd meeting of the Working Group, established in the framework of “Enhancing the Socioeconomic Benefits of Remittances in Azerbaijan” project funded by the IOM Development Fund.

The event held under the auspices of the Regional Training Center on Migration attended by more than 30 representatives of various government agencies, international organizations, banks, Azerbaijan’s diaspora organizations, migrants’ associations in Azerbaijan, and other non-governmental organizations started with the opening session where the participants were welcomed by Mr Vladimir Gjorgjiev, Chief of Mission for IOM Azerbaijan, and Mr Vahid Gahramanov, Head of the Migration Policy and Legal Support General Department of the State Migration Service.

In his opening remarks, Mr Gjorgjiev highlighted the importance of the project which is implemented in partnership with the relative government agencies, banks, diaspora, international, and non-governmental organizations. He noted that remittances in Azerbaijan represent an important source of income for households, particularly in rural areas. At the same time, remittances are an engine for the socioeconomic growth of the country. Hence, this project is very timely in the context of increased remittance flows to/from Azerbaijan.

“According to the World Bank’s and Azerbaijani Central Bank’s data, the total amount of remittances sent to Azerbaijan in 2021 equaled over 3% of GDP. During the first 6 months of 2022, remittance inflows totaled 1.6 billion USD. What is more, Azerbaijan hosts tens of thousands of migrants live in Azerbaijan that send a considerable amount of remittances back to their home countries. Hence, this project is very timely in the context of increased remittance flows to/from Azerbaijan,” said Gjorgjiev.

Mr Vahid Gahramanov noted that the successful implementation of the project will benefit not only migrants and their families, but also small businesses and the general economy of the country. “Since 2006 despite the implementation of various measures by certain partners in the field of money transfers, the creation of a relevant system or any other consistent result was not achieved. We have already started to see the results of the mentioned project and we hope that it will continue,” noted Gahramanov.

After opening speeches, the participants were informed about the results of an assessment of the government’s policies, strategies, and regulations, as well as the existing infrastructure, technology, and models pertaining to digital money transfers to determine legal, social, economic, and gender gaps regarding the growth of digital remittances and adjacent financial services, and stakeholder analysis. During the second day of the meeting organized virtually, participants were informed about various digital tools for remittances and IOM’s activities with regard to digital remittance solutions. The participants discussed and exchanged views about digital remittance solutions to determine what would be applicable to Azerbaijan.

The overall objective of the 2-year project is to contribute towards greater financial inclusion and use of digital financial services among Azerbaijani migrants abroad and migrants in Azerbaijan, and remittance recipients in Azerbaijan and abroad how to support sustainable livelihood development. This project is implemented with funding from the IOM Development Fund and in cooperation with the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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