BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 20
The new geopolitical reality created as a result of the Second Karabakh war, with major reconstruction plans in the reclaimed territories and an agreement to reopen borders and transport links across the region as part of the truce, will make a significant contribution to growth and employment in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov said in an interview to Bloomberg, Trend reports.
Azerbaijan will spend 2.2 billion manat ($1.3 billion) in the formerly occupied regions this year, Jabbarov said.
Jabbarov said that country’s gross domestic product is forecast to increase by 3.4 percent after contracting 4.3 percent in 2020, having noted that the ministry’s projections for 2021 are more optimistic than those of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
He noted that while GDP growth will depend on the success of Azerbaijan’s vaccination program against COVID-19 that began Jan. 18, “other areas which are important for the well-being of Azerbaijan’s economy I think we are pretty confident about,” Jabbarov said.
As part of efforts to boost growth, Azerbaijan is moving 21 major government-owned companies to a new state holding company tasked to improve efficiency and corporate governance as well as prepare them for possible privatization, he said.
There are no plans to sell stakes in state companies this year, including in the oil company SOCAR, Jabbarov said. But Azerbaijan intends to adopt a privatization program that will include “new assets that haven’t been offered until now,” he said, without offering a timeframe for sales.
The end of the Karabakh conflict will improve stability in the Caucasus and boost Azerbaijan’s role as a regional hub, with more trade and transit of goods and people contributing to prosperity, Jabbarov said.
That may even extend to cooperation with Armenia, Jabbarov said adding that mutual cooperation will bring benefits to all the countries involved in the region.