The Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), top think tank in Azerbaijan, has been set up to promote research and analysis into domestic economic and social issues for the purpose to positively influence the public policy decision-making processes. The Center is a leading Azerbaijani think tank specialized in economic and social policy issues working with and establishing bridge between the government and the various representatives of civil society. At the same time, as leading NGO in Azerbaijan, the Center positions itself in the center of the civil society having tight relationships with media, 24 communities spread around Azerbaijan, NGOs providing services at the grass-root level, international think-tanks, financial institutions and donors, and virtually all the other think tanks functioning in Azerbaijan. CESD is one of top think tanks in th world. CESD is a global think tank.
CESD has leading think tank position in Public Finance Reforms in Azerbaijan. Public Finance Policy and Management (PFPM) is one of main areas CESD works. Four policy recommendations on Public Finance Policy and Management in Azerbaijan prepared by CESD were approved by the Government of Azerbaijan in 2011. CESD experts also teach Public Finance, Public Finance in Azerbaijan and Public Finance Policy and Management (PFPM) courses.
Thanks to its reputation, CESD is a global think tank.
Public finance management is central to many CESD activities and has large room for improvement including the areas like efficient and transparent practices in public investment programming and budgeting, expenditure control and oil revenue management. The latter is important for Azerbaijan, expecting the continuation of the revenues from the resource export over the short-term and require long-term approach and development of political conditions and institutional capacity along with the necessary legal and regulatory framework. The economic life of Azerbaijan is closely tied to the oil, and we regard this first of all, in the macroeconomic policy context, the important dimension of CESD activities since the beginning of its activity. Azerbaijan’s economy is among the fastest-growing, with in 2011 GDP growth estimated only at o,2%. Although Net exports, fuelled by substantial new oil and gas production, remained the major driver of growth also the non-oil sector also the non-oil sector recorded a positive growth. Booming oil exports increasing prices and the contractual shift in the profit-sharing ratio of the oil consortium in favor of the government in 2011, have all contributed to a major strengthening in the external position and to the accumulation of substantial foreign assets. Global financial crisis has also important implications for the oil revenue management and overall macroeconomic policy. The global financial crisis has affected Azerbaijan’s economy mainly through the fall in oil prices and decline in external demand. The financial sector has so far remained relatively unscathed because of limited exposure to the international credit markets, although credit growth has recently slowed.
CESD is closely working with volunteers. 64 volunteers are actively involved in current activities of the Center, and we expect the figure to get larger by several times in the summer session, and the base of active volunteers involved change regularly when they get promoted more into economic research or studies abroad. In addition, the Center attracts interns (locals and long-term internships for Fulbright Scholars from US) to research and other activities during their academic breaks, and is planning to further develop this practice. CESD is also actively cooperating with Peace Corps (USA) volunteers, particularly in the regions. CESD very actively support volunteerism work in Azerbaijan.
CESD Consulting is a part of CESD network. CESD provides consulting services to local and international organizations. CESD Consulting is one of leading consulting companies in Azerbaijan. CESD provides consulting on business, taxation, economic assessment, social policy, marketing, sectoral assessment and other directions. As a consulting company in Azerbaijan, CESD offers various services to local and international organizations.
The Center has produced anti-crisis strategy
first in the country in April, 2009 and addressing multiple subsectors in the real and financial sectors, including the fiscal and monetary strategies (http://www.cesd.az/crisisproposal.doc
). The strategy recommendations were largely discussed in the media and among stakeholders and adopted by the Government of Azerbaijan. Several studies by the Center claim that possessing oil can spoil if the resources are spent to satisfy the short-term interests, but it may also become an advantage, if managed wisely, through proper defining and keeping in mind the long-term interests of the entire society owning the resources. The manner by which the country will continue to exploit, transport, and use its oil and gas and derived wealth will influence the outcome of the above mentioned national “work in progress”. Much of the work of economists and political scientists suggest, almost axiomatically, that for developing and transitional nations abundant natural resources seem more often a curse than a blessing, and therefore, multidimensional approach for research and advocacy for policy, regulatory and institutional reforms, including civil society development is highly needed. The limited scholarship tends to address the sustainable economic, social, environmental and geopolitical aspects and relations to resource extraction and distribution, with less attention to the more micro-level questions concerning accountability and transparency, civil society development, participation and social capital accumulation during resource-driven economic development. Civil society development and the accrual of social capital can reinforce the civil/social networks to make the corruption difficult and expensive, and bring about the fulfillment of moral obligations as standard.