Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31
Azerbaijan is a strategic partner in the Caspian Sea region not only for Russia, but also for Europe and many other countries, Deputy Director General of Trend News Agency Lina Vaitkeviciene said.
She made the remarks during the Moscow-Baku video bridge on the topic “Russia - Azerbaijan: Agenda for 2019” organized Jan. 30 at the press center of Trend with participation of Baku Network and the North-South Center representation in Baku.
“This has been achieved thanks to the political reputation of authorities of Azerbaijan, which has established itself as a reliable partner,” she said. “Today, Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing, stable and secure country.”
She said that huge investments in the energy sector are the basis of Azerbaijan’s economic achievements. Vaitkeviciene recalled that the official opening ceremony of Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Southern Europe, took place in 2018.
“This is a great historical achievement that will change the energy map of the region and provide the Azerbaijani people with stable income for many years,” she added.
She said that over the past 15 years, Azerbaijan has also made huge investments in infrastructure development, that's to say, the modernization and construction of highways and railways, airports, electric and gas networks, etc.
“It is noteworthy that all these positive changes also took place in the country's regions, which were provided with good infrastructure,” she said. “Today, Azerbaijan is the only country in the region that actively participates in the creation of the North-South and East-West international transport corridors. This will allow Azerbaijan to become a transport hub of the region in the future. We are already witnessing that Azerbaijan is reaping the fruits of this potential, but I am confident that the “sweetest fruits” are expected in the future, since investments in infrastructure don’t generate income quickly. This is strategic investment in the future of the country. This will provide the Azerbaijani people with income in the long term, regardless of oil revenues.”
Recalling the year 2015, when oil prices plummeted, the deputy director general of Trend noted that Azerbaijan did a lot to diversify its economy.
“A great number of reforms in the customs, tax and other spheres were carried out in the country,” she said. “Industrial zones and parks were created throughout the country, where many projects are being implemented. More than 11,000 jobs were created there in 2018 alone. As a result of the work done, the non-oil industry in Azerbaijan grew by more than nine percent.”
She also touched upon the changes in Azerbaijan’s agriculture and tourism.
“Agriculture is a particularly important sector of economy for Azerbaijan, because more than half of the country’s population lives in rural areas,” she said. “I’d like to note the work done in this sphere. Agricultural machinery has been updated, new technologies have been acquired and benefits, including tax benefits. have been provided, Moreover, the infrastructure is being updated, many facilities for processing agriculture products have been built in Azerbaijani districts, and this allowed to open a great number of jobs. The work done in this area ensured a 4.6 percent growth in agriculture sector in 2018.”
She noted that the investments in Azerbaijan’s tourism sector for the recent years, as well as the reforms that have been recently carried out, have provided the country with rapid development.
“We are witnessing how the flow of tourists to Azerbaijan increases annually,” she said. "About three million tourists visited Azerbaijan in 2018. The development of the tourism industry brings great income to the country and also contributes to the opening of new jobs. This also makes great contribution to the economic development of the country.”
These reforms allowed Azerbaijan to achieve such a high 25th place in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 ranking, she said.
Azerbaijan entered the ten most reformed countries and rose by 32 notches compared to last year, and this is a historic event, she added.
“Such an achievement was never recorded in the history of the World Bank's Doing Business ranking,” she said. “This once again demonstrates the aspiration and potential of Azerbaijan in economic development.”
She noted that the rapid economic development of Azerbaijan, economic strength, stability, security and, most importantly, the political reputation of Azerbaijani authorities have secured the country’s image of a strategic partner in the Caspian region for many countries.