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Azerbaijan at World Economic Forum

One of the world's fastest growing economies for ten years in a row, Azerbaijan showcased its accomplishments and promising future outlook at the annual meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Azerbaijani delegation was headed by President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.

The Azerbaijan economy managed to expand its GDP by 3% in 2014. Growth was boosted by a 7% increase in non-oil activities. Inflation remained low at 1.4% while disposable income grew by 4.8%. Investments attained $27bn of which $16bn was generated domestically.

Presiding over a cabinet meeting to review the economic achievements of the past year, President Aliyev earlier this month drew attention to the steady improvement of his country's ranking on the Global Competitiveness Report, compiled annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Currently ranked the world's 38th most competitive economy – up one notch from the previous year and well ahead of economic powerhouses such as South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, and Poland – President Aliyev congratulated his cabinet on the "historic achievement."

Tying into income and wealth inequality – this year's overriding issue at the World Economic Forum's flagship meeting in Davos – President Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan is making significant headway with average salaries rising to well over $7,000 annually and the state providing sustained social assistance to over 90,000 families at risk of being left behind as the country barrels towards higher levels of prosperity. The president also noted that poverty rates are decreasing rapidly as the unemployment level dropped to under 5%.

Last year, the Azerbaijan economy created over 123,000 new jobs. At the same time, 230 new industrial enterprises were founded. As financial, economic, and political uncertainties elsewhere in the world lead to severe budgetary constraints, reduced investments, and an overall decline in social wellbeing, Azerbaijan is deftly bucking this global trend, upping the ante with a slew of new infrastructure projects slated for execution and meant to underpin the country's sustained development.

Azerbaijan has been more successful than most former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy. A number of far-reaching reforms successfully injected a degree of entrepreneurial dynamism into the economy. During the cabinet meeting of January 10, President Aliyev said that his country has already undergone a number of political reforms that now assure freedom of speech, assembly, conscience, and religion.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev also attended the presentation of Baku-2015 First European Games in Davos. Billboards highlighting the first European Games that will be organized in Baku this year have been put up in public places both in Zurich and Davos.

Organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the event was attended by Swiss public and political figures, representatives of the international sports community, and foreign delegates attending the World Economic Forum. The guests first viewed an exhibition of bronze statues by Azerbaijani sculptors devoted to Baku-2015, called "We Together".

The exhibition featured over 20 works related to various types of sports. The guests were presented various publications of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation about Azerbaijan, including booklets devoted to the first European Games.

The Baku 2015 Games will take place in 21 stadia and facilities. The official opening ceremony of the Games will take place in the 68,000-seat Baku Olympic Stadium. The Athletes Village will accommodate up to 7,300 people. Europe's first senior multi-sport event will consist of more than 6,000 athletes competing in 20 sports from 49 countries.

Source: various

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