Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 5 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova /
About $90 billion were invested in the Azerbaijani economy since the country's independence thanks to the creation of a favorable investment climate, Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said today at the opening of the Azerbaijani National Exhibition today in Tashkent. Half of this figure accounts for foreign investment, he said.
"Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the CIS and Eastern Europe in terms of foreign investments per capita and today the country is actively investing overseas," Mustafayev said.
He noted that the global financial crisis had a minimal impact on the economy. GDP growth was 9.3 percent in Azerbaijan in 2009.
"The results for this year also reflect economic growth and based on the first half of this year, the share of Azerbaijan's economy in the South Caucasus has exceeded 70 percent," he said.
Today, Azerbaijan has economic and trade relations with 140 countries. Its total trade turnover hit $20.2 billion, including exports of $15.7 billion and imports of $4.5 billion over the first nine months of this year. The foreign trade surplus reached $11.2 billion during this period.
The population's welfare significantly improved. The population's real incomes doubled per capita at 85 percent, with the average salary tripling, the minimum pension size rising 3.8 times and the minimum wage increasing 6.3 times compared to 2004 and 2009.
The poverty level decreased 4.1 times to 11 percent over the past five years. Azerbaijan has above-average incomes, and a strengthened position due to dynamic development, he said..
"International organizations highly appreciated the successful and continued development of the Azerbaijani economy and its stability during the crisis," Mustafayev said. "The Fitch Ratings has international rating agency assigned a 'stable outlook' investment rating to the country. In Doing Business 2009, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation recognized Azerbaijan as a leader in economic reforms. The country maintained thsi position this year."
In the "Global Competitiveness-2010" report compiled by the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan, as last year, ranked the first among CIS countries and 13th among 139 countries in terms of macroeconomic stability. Standard and Poor's also increased its outlook to reflct the country's economic stability from a "stable" rating to a "positive" grade.
Mustafayev stressed that Azerbaijan's current economic structure and market institutions are near to meeting the parameters of a country moving into sustained development.
As a result of successful economic and social policy over 2004-2009, GDP grew 2.8 times and growth in industry increased 4.2-fold, creating 30,000 new businesses and 840,000 new jobs.
The exhibition will show off 1,700 goods produced by some 170 Azerbaijani enterprises and companies, which have tremendous export opportunities.
This will be Azerbaijan's first national exhibition abroad. Bilateral working meetings are expected to be held among businessmen to encourage the increased exports of Azerbaijani goods to Central Asian markets.
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