President Ilham Aliyev: Over past 16 years, Azerbaijan’s economy more than tripled

President Ilham Aliyev: Over past 16 years, Azerbaijan’s economy more than tripled

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 16

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Over the past 16 years, Azerbaijan’s economy has more than tripled, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council) in Baku on Oct. 15.

“Our summits are traditionally dedicated to topics which cover various areas of cooperation,” Ilham Aliyev said. “The theme of our current event, “Development of Small and Medium Enterprises”, is of great relevance. In 2017, the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprise was established in Azerbaijan. The objective of this agency is to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. A strong class of entrepreneurs with broad business opportunities has emerged in the country and abroad. To date, the Entrepreneurship Development Fund has provided 36,000 entrepreneurs with low-interest loans worth $1.4 billion. In 2018, the private sector’s share in the gross domestic product of our country amounted to 85 percent.”

“More than $270 billion has been invested in the country, half of which is foreign investments. Azerbaijan is a state with a small external debt. Azerbaijan’s external debt accounts for only 17 percent of the gross domestic product. According to this indicator, we are in ninth place in the world.”

“The reforms carried out in the economic sphere are also approved by international organizations,” Ilham Aliyev added. “The World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks Azerbaijan among top 20 most reforming countries. Azerbaijan is currently one of biggest investors in the Turkish economy. Thus, Azerbaijan’s investment in the Turkish economy is $15 billion and Turkey’s investment in the Azerbaijani economy is $12 billion.”

“The transport cooperation among our countries, historically located on the ancient Silk Road, is one of the important directions, of course,” the Azerbaijani president said. “Azerbaijan is an active participant in the East-West transport corridor. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, commissioned in October 2017, is our joint contribution to the restoration of the historic Silk Road. The cargo handling capacity of the Baku International Sea Port is 15 million tons of cargo and 100,000 containers. If necessary, the cargo handling capacity of the port can be increased to 25 million tons and 1 million containers. Azerbaijan as a reliable transit country continues its efforts to facilitate the access of Turkic-speaking countries to world markets. In 2018, 8 million tons of cargo was transported from Turkic-speaking countries through Azerbaijan.”

“We attach great importance to cooperation in the energy sector,” the Azerbaijani president noted. “Azerbaijan offers its opportunities in this area too. A portion of the energy resources of our partners from Central Asia is transported to world markets via Azerbaijan.”

“We must intensify our efforts to attract foreign tourists to our countries and encourage the flow of tourists among our countries,” Ilham Aliyev added. “In the nine months of 2019, a total of 2.4 million tourists visited Azerbaijan, of which 330,000 were people from Turkic-speaking countries. In the same period of 2018, this figure was 285,000.”

“Cooperation among our countries in the field of security is also expanding,” the Azerbaijani president said. “Last month, the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Secret Services of Turkic-Speaking States was held in Baku. Cooperation in this area is important from the point of view of strengthening the security of our countries and ensuring regional stability.”

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