The Nation: Ilham Aliyev: We are building a modern country

24 декабря 2013, 18:00

The Nation

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Floods of refugees as a result of Armenian aggression, collapsed economy, unemployment, hyperinflation, atmosphere of apathy and hopelessness...

This was a picture of Azerbaijan at early 90th of the last century. There were few who could believe in bright future if this country.

The Azerbaijani nation under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev is witnessing rapid and dynamic development that is comparable with developed countries. A country with less than 10 million population has become a leading power in Transcaucasia. It is undeniable fact that during 10 years of Ilham Aliyev’s presidential tenure Azerbaijan achieved remarkable development in all spheres of life.

Ilham Aliyev started his political career in 1995 after election a member of the National Assembly and was later lead Azerbaijani delegation to the Council of Europe. In 2003 and 2008 Ilham Aliyev won presidential elections and was reelected to this post after 09 October, 2013 national elections with overwhelming 85 % majority.

Soon after the signing the seize fire agreement Azerbaijan concentrated all its efforts on development of economy. In 1994 Azerbaijan signed a “Contract of Century” for exploration of hydrocarbon offshore reserves of the Caspian Sea. Ilham Aliyev was a key figure during the negotiations between the Government and Western oil companies. This contract has not only paved the way to the renaissance of the nation, but also cemented sovereignty of the state.

Azerbaijan’s natural resources are being transported through diversified network system like Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines. Implementation of two other projects that is Trans Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) pipelines that will provide direct delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe are underway.

Attraction of foreign direct investments and the calculated oil strategy has given its positive results. Oil production has increased by 3 times earning the country 78 bln. USD. Increase of gas production by 5,6 times transformed Azerbaijan from the gas importing country into the gas exporting one.

Tremendous achievements were made in transport field as well. Nearly 14 billion USD have been invested in this sphere. Numbers of international airports increased up to 6, fleet of national flag career AZAL and marine transport were fully renewed. Implementation of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway link, will contributed tofacilitate transportation of goods and passengers from Central Asia via Azerbaijan to Europe making country a main transport hub of the region.

Over the last decade, Azerbaijan has transformed into a leading regional investor, financing multi-billion projects in different countries of the world. A transparent Oil Fund has been established to collect and manage revenues from energy-related activities and to control a use of these revenues for economic diversification. As a result of development of non-oil sector, only in 2012 it has grown by 10 % reaching 1,750 billion. During these years the first Azerbaijan’s satellite “Azerspace-1″ was successfully launched into orbit, Trans- Eurasian information corridor was established, electronic government was formed and etc.

The economic growth of Azerbaijan goes accompanied by enormous construction boom, development of the industry, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and culture. The average monthly amount of pensioners has increased by 8 times, the former Soviet Union savings were returned to population, the foundation for social mortgage was laid.

President Aliyev introduced new vision that gives overemphasis on education as a solid tool to lift the nation. The expenditures for education increased by 6 times, mechanism of study of young people abroad at the expense of the Government was formed. Nearly 2000 young people were involved in this program so far and this figure is expected to cross 5000 by 2015.

While noting success on domestic fields one should also stress on the dynamism of external relations of the state. A leader with broad vision, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, carries on a balanced foreign policy, based on the interests of his country. Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is integrated into the political structures of both continents. Being a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, Azerbaijan plays an active role in the OIC and the ECO and in 2011 got a membership in Non-Aligned Movement and a seat of a non-permanent member of UN SC allocated for Eastern Europe. It has also became Europe’s main partner in the region. 2013 is also marked as a last year of foreign troops presence in Azerbaijan. As a result of growing political prestige of the country number of international mega events were held in Azerbaijan. Eurovision 2012, Women World Cup-17, First European Olympic Games 2015, number of world and European championships, international conferences etc. are just some of them. Despite of all efforts the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains unresolved. This urges the Government to strengthen its military power The Azerbaijani Armed Forces with total budget of 3,48 billion possessing weapons capable to change the strategic balance in the region. The defense industry that is in capacity to meet the needs of the Ministry of Defense in number of weapons and ammunition has been established.

Ilham Aliyev takes a keen interest in promoting the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. Today the two nations enjoy close and cordial relations characterized by shared perception on major global and regional issues. Both countries closely cooperate in international forum, support each other on their core issues. The two countries signed number of agreements to provide a framework for bilateral cooperation in all walks of life.

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