Economic players representing thirty companies of the Principality have visited Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan last week. It must be said that the destination of the new mission organized by the Monaco Economic Board is not the most accessible. Why has the MEB decided to lead a trade mission in the Caucasus country situated on the Caspian Sea? In the former Soviet republic wedged between Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Iran?
“It’s a gamble,” responds Michel Dotta, President of the Monaco Economic Board, “It would be more comfortable driving business leaders in Belgium or Italy. But they do not need us to consider prospects in these countries. They expect us to add value. Through the MEB, they have the opportunity to network in a less affordable country.”
A similar example occurred recently during an economic mission conducted in Kazakhstan. A few months later, leaders of the country returned to Monaco to solidify their first contact together. And to do business.
The Monaco delegation went to Azerbaijan for this same goal.
“Currently, there are business opportunities in this region,” said Michel Dotta, President of the Monaco Economic Board.
Ludovic Subran, expert in international economy – “It’s worth it. Connecting with troubled countries will bear fruit in the medium and long term.” He came to Monaco last September, explaining to Monaco leaders that there is a lot of interest in exploring this corner of the world. According to him, stuck between the Russia, Turkey and Iran, “the Bermuda Triangle of business”, “Caucasus countries are trying to hold on to their own game.” By, for example, diversifying their economic activity.
Azerbaijan lives mainly on oil. Oil represents 50% of the state budget and 70% of its exports. The declining price and weakening economy point to diversifying, “There are business opportunities in this region,” concludes Michel Dotta.
Has the success of asphalt paved the way?
Monaco has a card to play. A range of sectors of interest from Azerbaijan companies are represented in the delegation of the MEB: telecommunications, finance, tourism, renewable energy, logistics and food. The first morning of this two-day stay in Baku was dedicated to meetings between business leaders, hoping that relationships would deepen by the next day. And during this economic mission, the Monaco delegation also met with the organisers of the Grand Prix Formula 1 in Baku, (the first edition was launched on the 19th of June, on a racetrack coursing through Monaco.) Will this successful race on asphalt, pave the way for successful business prospects? First answers next week.