details added (first version posted on 14:01)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
Billions of dollars, invested in major oil and gas projects, namely, Shah Deniz, Trans-Anatolian and Trans Adriatic gas pipelines, will ensure long-term, sustainable development of Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev said.
The president made the remarks during the speech at the opening of the 21st International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition on June 3.
"Hundreds, and perhaps thousands of new Azerbaijani companies, which will work as contractors, will get the contracts," the president added. "This will lead to the opening of tens of thousands of new jobs and contribute to the development of non-oil sector of the country's economy. The reason is that the building and assembly and infrastructure projects will ensure the non-oil sector's development," Ilham Aliyev said.
He noted that Azerbaijan's main goal is to develop the non-oil sector, something that the results of the recent years indicate.
"Azerbaijan's non-oil sector is growing annually at least by 9-10 percent. So, the diversification of the country's economy is being ensured," the president said.
Ilham Aliyev went on to note that the main foundation of the country's economic situation was laid in 1994.
"This shouldn't be forgotten. All of the country's success came after the signing of the 'Contract of the Century' in 1994, and the organization of this exhibition," the president said. "We took advantage of this situation very effectively and turned the oil capital into the human capital. The investments made by the Azerbaijani side ensure the general development of the country today."
According to the president, the investments made in education, modern technologies, the aerospace industry and other areas ensure the country's future, and Azerbaijan's financial position is very stable.
"In the past several years, Azerbaijan had a successful way, in terms of economic reforms. The country's foreign debt is eight percent of GDP. The unemployment is at a level of five percent. The strategic currency reserves are 70 percent of GDP. The country's competitiveness is growing. The Azerbaijani economy ranks 39th place on competitiveness index in the world, according to the Davos World Economic Forum estimates. Azerbaijan was able to achieve all this with the help of the reforms," Aliyev said.
"But if not for the oil factor, the country's rich deposits, resources and their effective use, more time would have been required to achieve all that," he said.
The president noted that Azerbaijan has great respect for the past, adding that it appreciates the activity of its friends, partners, both foreign oil companies and the organizers of the exhibition.
"This led to our common success, and resulted in more than 400 companies participating in the exhibition today."
The 21st Caspian International Oil & Gas Exhibition, the largest event in the energy sector of the Caspian region, is taking place between June 3 and June 6 at the Baku Expo Center.
Every year, Caspian International Oil & Gas Exhibition gathers leading specialists and leading enterprises in the oil and gas industry to demonstrate advanced technologies for the extraction and processing of oil and gas, transportation and logistics, as well as industry related services.
The exhibition offers an opportunity to discuss trends in the development of the oil and gas market, potential prospects for cooperation in the Caspian region and the development of solutions for energy security issues around the world.
Some 402 companies from 29 countries present their products and services at the exhibition. Famous companies from around the world attend the exhibition. These companies include those which were involved in the Contract of the Century - State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), BP, Statoil, OMV, TPAO, Lukoil and many others.
Local companies comprise 35 percent of the total number of exhibitors, while the total growth of the exhibition has reached 10 percent.
The four day exhibition will also feature a substantial business program. Over 500 delegates from more than 30 countries will take part in the annual conference.
More than 50 representatives of state bodies, leading experts in the oil and gas industry and chief executives of major oil and gas companies from different countries participate in the conference.
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