Videoconference held between Signify executives, Azerbaijani president (PHOTO)

Videoconference held between Signify executives, Azerbaijani president (PHOTO)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 22

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On the initiative of Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), a videoconference has been held between President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the company’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Rondolat, General Manager for the CIS Eric Benedetti and other executives of Signify.

The company was established in 1891 and operates in 74 countries of the world, providing services and selling products to 140 countries. “Signify”, the world’s leading provider of lighting equipment, systems and services, is one of the top 10 green companies.

President Ilham Aliyev: Good morning!

Chief Executive Officer Eric Rondolat: Good morning!

President Ilham Aliyev: I am very pleased to see you.

Eric Rondolat: Thank you for taking the time. I am also very pleased to see you.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you! I remember our meeting in Davos. I am told that we have made good progress since then. Despite the fact that the situation associated with coronavirus somewhat interfered with our plans, I am told that everything we discussed and agreed on is currently being implemented.

Eric Rondolat: Yes, this is absolutely right! We are very pleased that 33,000 LED lamps will be installed in Baku, thanks to which a large amount of energy will be saved. The savings rate is at least 50 percent. This project is ongoing. We are also very pleased that you fully support us. We started this work by creating communications. This is done so that it is possible to create a connection between the installed lamps as a next step.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good! I am glad that, as I have already said, everything is on schedule. I have been informed that after the meeting in Davos, your team visited us in March. As you noted, the first stage will already be implemented before the end of September. It includes thousands of new street lighting lamps in Baku. This will primarily cover the areas with poor street lighting. At the same time, as you noted, we will save a lot of energy, which will benefit our people. As we discussed, after this first project we have major plans on expanding our joint activities and covering Baku and other cities. At the initial stage, we may cover large cities. We talked about street lighting in Sumgayit. As far as I know, the evaluation process is now underway. So I hope we will have long-term cooperation in this area.

Eric Rondolat: Yes, we would also like to carry out this work in full. Due to COVID-19, we may have a certain delay in the execution of work. However, I believe that we are all set to complete it.

Eric Rondolat highlighted the role of establishing lighting systems in ensuring road safety in the city. He expressed hope that at the end of the pandemic, the company he represents would successfully continue cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Eric Rondolat: We are very pleased that we can apply the latest lighting innovations in Baku.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, thank you. I am aware that your company has already implemented several projects in Azerbaijan together with the public and private sectors. However, the project we discussed in Davos and are jointly implementing now is, of course, the largest project. As we discussed earlier, it has great potential for the future because this is the first experience. I am sure that this will be a very successful experience and municipal authorities and city governments will benefit from this in the future. It has been noted that we will save a large amount of energy and fuel produced for other purposes, of exports and improve the life of the city.

Eric Rondolat: As I have already mentioned, at the next stage we will provide communications, thanks to which additional opportunities will be provided. Thus, the lighting of the city of Baku will become a component of the “Smart City”. Thank you again for your support!

Azerbaijani President’s Assistant Natig Amirov spoke about cooperation with Signify and promising projects.

Natig Amirov: Mr. President, first of all, I want to express my gratitude to you for the fact that, despite your busy schedule, you have organized this meeting and provided us with the opportunity to discuss all issues related to this project with Signify. In fact, work on the “Baku Smart City” lighting project is going well and a lot has already been done. They have completed our contract. In July, the process of importing all lamps into our country will begin and will end in late September and early October.

Eric Rondolat: Mr. President, I will mention another question. The whole world is currently in crisis. We know that you are taking very serious measures in the Republic of Azerbaijan in order to stop the pandemic.

The Chief Executive Officer of Signify said that work is underway on modern technologies in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and stressed that he was ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan in this area.

President Ilham Aliyev: The virus has affected all countries. It is clear that it will not disappear and we will have to live with the virus. Therefore, I believe that these precautions, of course, have entered our lives for a long time. For this reason, we need modern preventive tools that would meet the most complex technological requirements. We are doing our best to protect our citizens. From the very beginning, we took very important preventive measures, which allowed us the opportunity to protect our citizens and find a way out of this situation with minimal losses. Our efforts were also acknowledged by the World Health Organization, which has described Azerbaijan as an exemplary country in the fight against coronavirus. Of course, I fully support your technology initiative to assist in the self-defense of humanity.

Eric Benedetti, the company’s general manager for the CIS, spoke about the work carried out in connection with lighting of various parts of Baku, including the central historical part of the city.

The Signify sales manager for the Caucasus and Central Asia region Andrey Zakharkiv spoke about the “Smart City” project, which will be implemented in Baku, and pointed to the readiness for the implementation of the pilot project.

Eric Rondolat touched upon issues of cooperation in the field of a significant increase in agricultural productivity, including the field of livestock breeding, poultry and agriculture, the production of environmentally friendly agricultural products, reduction of water consumption, and expressed his willingness to share experience with Azerbaijan in these areas. During the conversation, issues related to the application of modern technologies to the field of agriculture and to the training of young personnel were also discussed.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thanks to the reforms carried out in this field, we see that more and more young people want to become agricultural specialists, and the number of young people choosing this profession at the Agrarian University is growing. We are applying a new e-agriculture system. This helps us a lot in increasing the effectiveness of an important area of our life and economy, because it is possible to say that 50 percent of our population lives in rural areas. Therefore, I am sure that this will become a very important new project we can jointly implement. In general, Azerbaijan is ready for new technologies and innovations. We have already created a powerful human capital for this, and our technologies related to state and social services are now being used by a number of other countries. Therefore, we are absolutely open to new technologies, as they lead to new prospects, dynamism, progress, jobs and welfare.

Eric Rondolat: Thank you Mr President. I know that you are very busy. I am very grateful to you for taking the time this morning and for the fact that after our last meeting in Davos, work is proceeding at an extremely fast pace. You can rely on our company and me personally. We are ready to support all the joint projects we plan on. I am very glad that you attach importance to the development of technologies in your country, as some countries often don’t realize that technology is a means of developing a country or do not attach importance to it. You in Azerbaijan demonstrate that these technologies are very advanced. We don’t want to take too much of your time. I am very glad to have the opportunity to speak with you, and wish the Republic of Azerbaijan continued progress. I know that 28 May is Republic Day. I was born in a country where the month of Ramadan is celebrated and I know that it is one of the last days of the month of Ramadan today. I congratulate you on this occasion and express my deep appreciation once again.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much! I appreciate this a lot. I highly value our personal relations. They are focused on the result. I believe that your modern technologies aimed at improving people's lives, strengthening the economy, saving resources and obtaining better results in agriculture make a good unity with our country’s desire to become one of the leaders in the application of these technologies. I know that your company is one of the global leaders in this area. Therefore, the more new technologies you invent, the more opportunities there will be for our cooperation. Thank you for that. I look forward to seeing in person soon.

Eric Rondolat: So do I, Mr President.

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