Azerbaijani President addressed Davos Forum
Baku. Malahar Najafova – APA. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev took part in the panel session entitled “Regions in Transformation: Eurasia” held within the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Addressing the panel session, President Ilham Aliyev said that transformation started in Azerbaijan in 1991 – at the beginning of the independence.
“That was a major transformation for the region and also the biggest challenge for us, because we got an opportunity to build an independent state. We had to build a state, at the same time modern economy based on market economy principles,” he said.
The president said transformation for us was the transformation of the political system, because before independence we didn’t have any transformation of planned economy to market economy.
“Now private sector makes 85 percent of Azerbaijani economy. The policy of diversification of economy is successfully implemented. We are free from the pressure of oil prices, as the biggest part of our economy is generated in non-oil sector. Major infrastructure projects are being implemented with the assistance of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and others. Now Azerbaijan has become a donor country,” President Aliyev added.
The head of state noted that Azerbaijan now finances a number of projects by itself: “Of course, energy security in the beginning was a means for us to develop because that was the main energy resources we had. Now our energy resources play a role in the region. And just recently we launched a new major project – the Southern Gas Corridor – to transport gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. It will probably be the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. Diversification of economy is one of the important elements for every country, especially those rich with oil and gas. But a lot is to be done in future because we are living in the region which is transforming not only from negative to positive, but unfortunately we have some deterioration in the region. we have more and more conflicts, more and more threats, including the threats of terrorist attacks. And of course stability in the country can be provided fully when you, more or less, have predictable situation beyond it. Therefore our energy and transportation projects are aimed at broad national and regional cooperation, so that every country can benefit. The policy which our government is pursuing is that everybody – producers, transistors, or consumers – should take advantage of our opportunities. So it is a kind of teamwork, which Azerbaijan managed to create. But beyond the borders of our region, the situation is changing. So the new challenge for our economy is the drop of oil price. But I think we always need to find positive moments even if something negative is happening. So it will mobilize us to be more efficient, to spend less and to learn to live with low oil prices. That will be very useful for us whe our resources will come to an end”.