Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan's economy competitive, diversified, not based on one source
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 16
Today Azerbaijan is a modern, developing, self-sufficient country with strong diversified economy, with a very high level of social protection, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
He made the remarks in his opening speech at the 5th News Agencies World Congress in Baku, Nov. 16.
"All our economic programs were implemented, some of them even before schedule. Azerbaijan's economy grew more than 3 times in the last 13 years," said the president. "We managed to cope with poverty, which is now at the level of 5 percent, and unemployment is almost at the same level."
President Aliyev went on to say that international organizations, reliable organizations, have a very high rank for Azerbaijan.
"For instance, the Davos World Economic Forum ranks Azerbaijan at #37, with respect to the competitiveness of economy. It shows that our economy is competitive, diversified, and not based on one source, which is energy," IlhamAliyev said.
"Therefore, further diversification of economy, the economic reforms, in the future will create even more opportunities for sustainable development of our country,"said the president. "And Azerbaijan, I am sure, in the coming years, will only become stronger and stronger."
He went on to say that Azerbaijan shows efforts to create broad regional cooperation, based on shared mutual interests.
"In particular in the area of energy and transportation, our initiatives already bring good results," he said. "Energy projects initiated by Azerbaijan in mid 90s, already brought a lot of prosperity to our region."
Ilham Aliyev went on to add that Azerbaijan was the first country to connect huge energy resources of the Caspian Sea with international markets, in particular noting the connection between Caspian, Black, Mediterranean seas by diversified pipeline system.
"That was one of the main achievements of Azerbaijan," he said.
"Today we work on the global energy project, which is called the Southern Gas Corridor," he said. "It will allow us to be a reliable exporter of natural gas to many countries. The cost of this project is around $45 billion, and Azerbaijan plays a leading role in implementation of this project."
The president went on to add that Azerbaijan today has established a very close cooperation with seven countries, the members of the project, and more countries are to join in the coming years.
"It will allow us to satisfy our demands to become a big gas exporter. It will allow the transitors and customers to have additional sources of energy, which all the countries need to develop their economy and industry," Ilham Aliyev said.
"Our energy policy is based on our national interests, and on cooperation," he said. "In this area Azerbaijan also demonstrates a very responsible approach, based, as I said before, on shared interests. All the members of the project must have their share of profit and we consider energy cooperation as an area which can unite, not alienate, countries."
"I think achievements in this area are already worth to be examined. The same can be applied to our initiatives to create reliable transportation corridors," said the president.
He said that Azerbaijan has an advantageous geographic location, but without infrastructure this location doesn't mean much.
"Therefore, our efforts were aimed at establishing the regional cooperation on the areas of transportation. Particularly, the East-West corridor, which is almost completed," said the president, adding that some tests have already been carried, with cargo trains crossing Azerbaijan from Asia to Europe.
Ilham Aliyev also named the North-South corridor, which is under implementation, adding that Azerbaijan took very important measures and steps in implementing this corridor.
"If you look at the map, you can see that both of these corridors will generate a lot of additional activity. It will stimulate growth, stimulate industrial development, allow companies and countries to export their goods and save time. North-South and East-West corridors for companies that send their cargoes, will save at least 2 weeks time," the president said.
He went on to add that such projects need investments.
"And we invest, also provide financial assistance to other partners in order to implement this project. This is aimed at regional cooperation, predictability, and also of course, at economic benefits and security. Because without security in the region, none of the projects I've mentioned can be implemented," the president said.
He went on to say that the security concerns are growing, as "situation around us becomes more and more tense". President Aliyev added that new sources of concern, such as threats, bloodshed, confrontation, wars, emerge, and this is of big concern.