Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 10
A meeting of Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers, dedicated to the social and economic development in 2014 and objectives set for 2015, was held on Jan. 10 under the chairmanship of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
"Despite a number of processes that took place in the world and in the region last year, Azerbaijan kept the pace of intensive development, and the country's people lived in safety in 2014," the president said, addressing the meeting.
He added that there is a strong unity between the people and government in Azerbaijan, which moves on the path of independence and development.
President Aliyev said over the last year, the country's economy has successfully developed, and despite the fall in oil prices in late 2014, the economy rose by three percent, and the non-oil sector increased by seven percent.
He also noted that the inflation in 2014 stood at 1.4 percent, and the population's cash incomes grew by 4.8 percent.
"During this period, some $27 billion was invested in the country's economy, of which $16 billion was domestic investments. Manat's rate is stable, the country's currency reserves rose, exceeding $50 billion," Azerbaijani president added.
He further said over 30 industrial enterprises and many new jobs were created in the country in 2014.
Ilham Aliyev went on to add that a number of grandiose projects were realized, and the second space satellite of Azerbaijan was launched into orbit to observe the Earth's surface in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan's president said thanks to the opportunities provided by the well thought-out economy, the attention to the development of social sphere was increased, and over 60 medical centers and more than 50 schools were built and commissioned in 2014.
"The country's population increased by 116,000 people, the ASAN service, which since the start of its work has received 3.5 million appeals, is operating successfully," President Aliyev said.
He went on to add that last year, the international relations of Azerbaijan were successful as well, the country carried out an active foreign policy in bilateral and multilateral formats.
"Azerbaijan enjoys great respect in the world," the president said, adding that the country is also an important factor in solving regional issues.
The president said Azerbaijan will further continue to actively cooperate with international organizations, noting that the attempts to undermine the positive image of the country, to slander Azerbaijan on international level are useless, and no one will be able to speak with Azerbaijan in the language of ultimatums.
Touching upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ilham Aliyev said with regret that in 2014 Armenia preferred imitation, instead of taking any constructive steps to resolve the conflict.
"Last year, Armenia several times resorted to open provocations, and these attempts were successfully prevented by the Azerbaijani army, and the enemy suffered heavy losses," President Aliyev said.
Then presentations on social and economic results of 2014 and the upcoming challenges were made by the Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov, Chairman of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan Elman Rustamov.
In the final speech, President Aliyev said the processes seen in 2014 show that this year will be very difficult for the global economy, and described the year 2015 as a test period for countries rich in natural resources, with regard to the falling oil prices.
"The well thought-out economic policy, diversification process, and unity between the people and government ensure that this year too will be successful for our people," the president said, pointing out the importance of keeping the focus on the development of the non-oil sector in 2015.
President Aliyev pointed out the need to continue lending to entrepreneurs on favorable terms, improving management principles at all state structures, and preventing cases of squandering.
He said the implementation of the projects that are important for the country and distinguishable for economic and social importance will continue.
President Aliyev also shared his thoughts on the execution of instructions on creating industrial centers in each district, construction of a large metallurgical complex in 2015, directing state investments to sustainable development, addressing environmental problems, and continuing the implementation of transport projects.
Noting the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway's construction, Ilham Aliyev added that the projects in the areas of air transport and shipping have been successfully implemented.
President Aliyev also said that the laying of foundation of the Southern Gas Corridor last year was a historic event. He added that the implementation of this project, which is the project of the 21st century, will be an important phase in the country's development.
The president further said that the preparation for the First European Games, to be held in Baku in a few months, is being carried out at a high level, and the organizing committee is working actively.
"The standards of the European Games will be defined in Baku," President Aliyev said, noting that it is not just a sporting event, but also a good opportunity for athletes and guests to explore Azerbaijan and development processes going on in the country.