Details added (first version posted on 16:43)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 22
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev took part in a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) titled "Regions in transformation: Eurasia" held Jan. 22 in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech the president said Azerbaijan became independent in 1991.
"That was a major transformation for the region and also the biggest challenge for us, because we got an opportunity to build an independent state," he said. "We had to build a state and also modern economy, based on market economy principles."
The president also spoke about the transformation that took place in Azerbaijan.
"Transformation for us was the transformation of the political system, because before independence we didn't have any, and transformation of planned economy to market economy," he added.
President Aliyev went on to add that from economic point of view, Azerbaijan's economy now is 85 percent private sector, adding that the policy of diversification of economy is also successfully implemented.
He said Azerbaijan is getting more and more independent from the pressure of oil prices.
"At the same time, a lot has been done in implementing major infrastructure projects, with assistance from international financial institutions in particular EBRD and others," President Aliyev noted.
He further said Azerbaijan has already become a donor country.
"We ourselves already finance several projects," the president added. "Now, our energy resources play role in the region, and just recently we launched a new mega-project, which is called the Southern Gas Corridor, to transport gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, which will probably be one of the biggest infrastructure projects of Europe."
He also noted that the diversification of economy is one of the most important elements for every country, especially those rich with oil and gas.
The Azerbaijani president further said that there are conflicts and threats in the region, including threats of terrorist attacks.
"And of course stability in the country can be provided fully when you, more or less, have predictable situation beyond it. Therefore our energy and transportation projects are aimed at broad national and regional cooperation, so that every country can benefit," he added.
The president said the policy Azerbaijani government pursues, is that everybody - producers, transit countries, consumers - should take advantage of opportunities.
"So it is a kind of teamwork, which Azerbaijan managed to create," he added.
He also said that the drop of oil prices is a challenge for Azerbaijan's economy, adding that it is needed to find positive moments even in something negative.
"It will mobilize us to be more efficient, to spend less, and learn to live with low oil prices that will be very useful for us," President Aliyev said.