Heydar Aliyev saved Azerbaijan from chaos, anarchy, civil war to guide the country towards prosperity, development
Q: Azerbaijan`s economy is becoming part of the world economy. We would like you to highlight main factors that have conditioned this success…
A: Certainly it is a wise, well thought-out policy that lies behind this success. As President Ilham Aliyev said we should try to ensure that Azerbaijan is developing rapidly.
Azerbaijan suffered serious problems in the first years of independence. The fact that the country faced the threat of losing independence was coupled with the inexperienced government`s activity. National leader Heydar Aliyev returned to political power in 1993. And it was national leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power that helped Azerbaijan overcome difficulties and embark on the path of development. The national leader`s wise and far-sighted policy was what saved Azerbaijan from being wiped out from the face of the earth. And it was the beginning of salvation.
The Contract of the Century has made the history as the first comprehensive economic decision taken by national leader Heydar Aliyev which has defined the main priority in the policy of his Presidential administration – the oil strategy. But even under those times, the significance of the Contract of the Century was not limited to the expected financial profits.
The launch of Azerbaijan’s new oil strategy has opened up extensive opportunities for the implementation of all our future plans. The launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline in 2006, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline after that, ushered in the renewal and diversification of Caspian hydrocarbon export infrastructure, and secured the direct access of Azerbaijani oil and gas to world markets.
Q: What will be the benefits of the third state program for the socio-economic development of regions?
A: The implementation of the state programs has changed the image of regions, served to prevent the non-proportional development of the country's largest cities and regions. Within the first two programs the efficient use of regions` natural resources and labor resources concentrated in regions, opening of new jobs, solving social problems, development of entrepreneurship, the reconstruction of the existing infrastructure was realized. The implementation of the state programs under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev for the socio-economic development over the past years greatly reduced the dependence of Azerbaijan’s economy on oil. The image of regions was changed and it played an important role in the overall development of the country.
Due to the implemented state programs aimed at development of regions, granting of concessional loans to farmers and increasing of subsidies to agrarian sector, construction of big enterprises, warehouses for storage of agricultural products in region, development of infrastructure and other factors the agricultural production grew from year to year.
Development of agricultural sector and growth of agricultural gross product was one of the main directions in the policy of non-oil sector development. On the other hand the growth of this sector also played an important role in reducing the level of poverty and unemployment.
Despite falling oil prices and continuing crisis in the world, Azerbaijan`s economy remains stable. Azerbaijan is hailed as a land of stability and development. This was possible thanks timely preventive measures and purposeful economic policy carried out under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.
Diversification policy paved the way for the establishment of strong and sustainable economy.
However, the head of the state set a goal to increase the non-oil economy over the next years. This will allow making Azerbaijan's economy more flexible, sustainable, meeting the modern requirements, as well as will significantly decrease the dependence on oil sector.
In general, if the first program had not been adopted in 2004, the current realities of Azerbaijan could be completely different. Regional development, support for entrepreneurs, development of the non-oil sector, reduction of our dependence on imports and creation of the export potential are the indicators of recent years. Last year we adopted the third state program on the socioeconomic development of the regions of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is confidently moving forward and has achieved sustainable development.
At the Cabinet meeting to discuss the results of the country`s socio-economic development in the first quarter of 2015, President Ilham Aliyev said: “Our reforms are praised by leading international financial institutions. The Davos World Economic Forum has honored Azerbaijan with 38th place in the ranking of the world’s most competitive economies. Our positions are improving with each year. We have gone up yet another step, and I think that 38th place in terms of competitiveness on a global scale is a great success for our young state. We have reached this place not because of oil and gas, but as a result of judicious reforms.” “Azerbaijan has secured dynamic development, and it is gratifying that our non-oil sector has grown by 7 per cent. This was made possible as a result of sound economic policies carried out in recent years. The funds invested in the Azerbaijani economy for many years, the policy of diversification and the development of the non-oil sector have enabled our economy to develop steadily and not depend on the oil and gas sector. Even the sharp decline of oil prices in the world has had no impact on our overall economic development. This is the uniqueness of Azerbaijan’s economic model, and these figures show once again how correct the path we have chosen is.”
Q: The main goal is to build diversified, effective and innovation-based economy. What role will “Azerbaijan-2020: Vision of the Future” development concept” play in this regard?
A: On the basis of the Decree of the Head of the State "Azerbaijan 2020: Look into the Future" Development Concept was developed with the participation of relevant government agencies, research organizations and highly qualified specialists, as well as in cooperation with international organizations operating in the country.
This concept is a document defining the main directions of the development for the next eight years and goals set forth. The document launches a new phase of development of the country and the main purpose is to be included in the list of the world's most developed countries in all indicators. As a result of the implementation of this concept in 2020 Azerbaijan will be politically and economically advanced and competitive country. Despite the fact that a crisis had already started in the region at the end of last year, Azerbaijan managed to ensure the dynamic development of the economy, and we finished last year with excellent indicators. As President Ilham Aliyev said: “These positive trends were continued in the first quarter of this year too. At the end of last year I was confident that 2015 would also be successful for the national economy. The results of the first quarter confirm these words. The gross domestic product has grown by more than 5 per cent. This is an excellent indicator both for the region and the world.” The head of state laid out the priorities at the Cabinet meeting: “I believe that this year our non-oil sector may grow even more. Growth of 7 per cent in the first few months, of course, is an excellent result. We should try to make sure that the non-oil sector accounts for a very large share of the gross domestic product.” “I can say that a very large class of entrepreneurs has emerged in Azerbaijan. From now on, the overall growth of our country will depend more on the development of entrepreneurship. Of course, the strategic areas that are in state monopoly should remain in state hands. These include the strategic transport infrastructure, the oil and gas sector and the strategic energy infrastructure.” “The other spheres are already emerging thanks to the private sector. Around 80 per cent of our gross domestic product is generated in the private sector. Last year was declared a "Year of Industry" and, as I have already said, this area received a lot of attention. We must fully provide ourselves with all building materials. We are already close to that. I voiced these figures in earlier meetings. We currently produce and export many types of building materials. And we need new markets for exports.”