The Times Times 12-18 November 2017: Azerbaijan reaps results of recent economic reforms

Azerbaijan moved up two spots to reach 35th rank in competitiveness among 140 countries assessed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. A major reason for the upward shift in ranking was the successful implementation of various economic reforms that Azerbaijan has undertaken recently.

Today, following the execution of strategic roadmaps, Baku and other large cities in Azerbaijan are witnessing a spate of construction activities, as large buildings, infrastructure projects and industrial zones come up around the country. In addition, the country has also seen a significant increase in industrial output and agriculture development, as well as the development of entrepreneurships.

The country has also launched an investment promotion mechanism that has seen more than 200 new investment promotion documents being issued. As part of this scheme and within the framework of this project, investments totaling over 1.7 billion manats (around $1 billion) are expected to be generated in the country by the private sector.

Underpinning this attraction of local investments to the economic sphere is the existing political stability in Azerbaijan, as well as the strong unity of the people and the government of the country. In addition, the favorable investment climate has attracted a host of foreign investors and this confidence in the future of Azerbaijan is fully justified as $8.3 billion were invested in the country’s economy in the first nine months of this year, most of this in the form of foreign investments.

Economic indicators for the nine months are also very positive. Non-oil economy grew by 2.5 percent as a result of the policies pursued by the government in prioritizing the development of the non-oil sector. In addition to being an indicator of successful reforms, this growth is also a reflection of the successful implementation of various programs aimed at economic diversification. Meanwhile, foreign trade grew by 7 percent and since the beginning of the year foreign exchange reserves have grown by $4.5 billion.

As part of the government’s policy of industrialization, the non-oil industry grew by 3.1 percent in the first nine months of the year. Also, the government’s prioritizing of the agriculture sector through major investments has resulted in significant development of the sector resulting in growth of 2.8 percent in the first nine months of 2017. At the beginning of the year, the goal was also set to install modern irrigation systems on 150,000 hectares of land which were not irrigated, or poorly irrigated before.

In the oil and gas sector, a new contract for further development of the ‘Azeri-Chirag- Gunashli’ field was signed this year and promises to bring even more lucrative dividends for the country. Several gas pipeline projects, including the Shah Deniz-2 project, the South Caucasus Pipeline and the TANAP project are nearing completion

 On the transport infrastructure side, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line was recently inaugurated by the Azerbaijan President İlham Aliyev in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov and other officials. The new railway line is expected to contribute to the creation of fruitful economic and commercial ties between Europe and Asia, while bringing greater economic profit and benefits to Azerbaijan.

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