Ilham Aliyev receives reps of MEDEF member companies (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on July 10 at 12:59)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 10


President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received representatives of the member companies of MEDEF- Movement of the Enterprises of France.

"I am pleased to see such a large delegation from MEDEF. This is a good example of our cooperation. As you know, I have repeatedly met with members of MEDEF in Paris and Baku. I recall a visit of a large delegation three years ago, and now 40 representatives of various companies are visiting our country. This is really a very good example of our partnership. This demonstrates that there is great interest in activities in Azerbaijan. Many of the companies you represent are already involved in various projects in our country," the president said, after welcoming the guests.

"The economic development of Azerbaijan progresses fast. At present, we are mainly working to diversify our economy, because this is the main priority. The reduction of dependence on the oil and gas sector is our top priority task today. We are doing our best to diversify the economy. It is no easy task, but I think that we have made good progress," he noted.

Looking at the economic indicators of this year, President Ilham Aliyev noted that the non-energy sector grew by more than 3 percent, while in agriculture there has been a record increase this year – by about 13 percent. In the non-energy industry, growth constitutes about 15 percent.

“This indicates that diversification is yielding good results,” the head of state said and expressed confidence that with active participation of local and foreign companies Azerbaijan would achieve its goals. Noting that the delegation would hold a number of meetings in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev expressed his hope that the visit will be very fruitful.

Speaking next, the President of MEDEF Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, said:

"Your Excellency, thank you very much! Thank you for receiving us here! It is a great pleasure and privilege for us to be here. I personally am visiting Azerbaijan and Baku for the first time. I would like to note with satisfaction that this is my first visit outside the European Union. I chose Azerbaijan as the first country, which is an indicator of the interest of the French business community in your country. As you know, MEDEF is an organization uniting 170,000 companies. Today I am part of a large delegation."

Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux noted that the delegation included companies representing 12 sectors, including banking, construction, energy, environmental protection, events organization, new technologies and others.

“It is very important for us to support these companies and convince them that Azerbaijan has great potential,” he said, stressing that the majority of members of the delegation were companies representing the non-oil sector.

French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Aurelia Bouchez thanked President Ilham Aliyev for meeting with representatives of French companies. She noted that French companies were working in Azerbaijan with great enthusiasm. Mentioning that the statements related to the diversification of the economy contained in the speeches of President Ilham Aliyev were worthy of attention, Bouchez stressed that results of work related to the diversification of the economy were already visible in Azerbaijan, which manifests itself through the diversity of activities of the companies represented here. The ambassador expressed confidence that French companies will make an effective contribution to the development of the Azerbaijani economy.

Expressing gratitude for the reception, Chairman of France-Azerbaijan Business Council of MEDEF International, Deputy CEO of SUEZ Marie Ange Debon, thanked the head of our state for the support provided for the activities of SUEZ in Azerbaijan. Speaking about the cooperation with a number of local companies and agencies in upgrading the infrastructure, Marie Ange Debon noted the importance of the work carried out in this area in Azerbaijan both in terms of economic development and for the lives of citizens.

She expressed hope that SUEZ will continue to contribute to this work. Marie Ange Dubon expressed their readiness to support projects being implemented in the field of environmental protection in Azerbaijan and contribute to the development of infrastructure.

They also exchanged views on the current state and prospects for cooperation in the field of transport, agriculture, renewable energy, high technology and other areas.

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