Ms. Zhala Hajiyeva is currently the Executive Director of the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association. She is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of microfinance institutions. She is an experienced executive leader with more than 15 years of expertise in project management, microfinance, access to finance, and financial sector development. She has been engaged in promoting diversification of financial products, leading country- and regional-level microfinance networks, and introducing policy-level innovations in the financial industry. She has nearly 10 years of expertise in the field of association management and development. Her contribution towards sustainable development of the country-level network was recognized by several awards issued by the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network, USAID–Iraq, IFC, and EBRD.
In April 2017, she was awarded with a Medal of Progress by the President of Azerbaijan Republic for her contribution towards economic development and expanding entrepreneurship in the country.
She served at the Board of Directors of the Microfinance Centre for Central and Eastern Europe and New Independent Stattes from May 2008 to May 2014, on the last five years of which she served as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors. In November 2009–November 2015, she served at the Board of Directors of the SEEP Network. In 2012, she served as a member of the SEEP’s Association’s Development Advisory Council. In 2013, she served as a Board member and Chair of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Commission, and a member of the Financial Institutions Commission within the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs (Employers’ Organizations) of Azerbaijan (ASK). In October 2017, she became Deputy Chair of Azerbaijan Women Entrepreneurs Association (AWEA).