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Azerbaijan's 2015 Achievements: Looking Ahead

The outgoing year of 2015 was remembered with quite bright milestones in life of Azerbaijan, which has opened perspectives for future development.

This year Azerbaijan witnessed dynamic growth in all fronts helping it to strengthen the country's international position, while thought out domestic policy enabled it to improve the nation's welfare.

Bright milestones

Azerbaijan could write a page in the world sporting history by hosting large-scale sporting events, in particular the Baku 2015 First European Games.

The European Games, held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on June 12-28, gathered over 6,000 athletes from around Europe to participate in 20 sports, 16 of which were Olympic and 12 of which were qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The audience and the athletes were all impressed by the fascinating and mesmerizing opening and closing ceremonies and the impressive coordination of competitions.

The Land of Fire once again dispelled all doubts and disproved biased statements that the young country would fail to host the First European Games at the highest level, and thus entered its name into the history of European Sports.

Currently, Azerbaijan is preparing to host global events like the Formula 1 race in 2016, Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, and the quarterfinals and three group games of the Euro 2020, will promote the country as a tourist destination around the world.

Another bright milestone in the life of the country was Azerbaijan's participation in G20 summit in Turkish Antalya from November 15-16. Officials and experts hailed this event being of significant importance for the country.

G20 is considered as one of the important structures in the world, and these countries account for 85 percent of the world economy and 80 percent of the world trade. Being among these countries and voicing initiatives and concerns from this tribune can be considered as a diplomatic victory of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan's participation in the G20 summit was useful as well as important, both for the country and its partners. It was another opportunity to talk about pressing issues, exchange views and understand each other better, as the lack of understanding is one of the problems in the present world.

Political life

Azerbaijan held parliamentary elections of the fifth convocation on November 1.

More than 40 foreign observation missions, bringing together over 500 observers, as well as tens of thousands of local observers, local and foreign media experts evaluated the election as transparent and fair, and highly appreciated the competitive environment created for all 767 candidates. The voter turnout at the election was high enough, reaching 55.7 percent.

President Ilham Aliyev paid a number of official and working visits to expand the bilateral relations with many countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia and China.

Azerbaijan, an amicable country, once again showed that it has good relations with all countries of the region and may also become a springboard for Arab countries both in terms of economic cooperation with other countries in the region and investment making.

A dialog among religions, cultures and different political forces play an important role today, amid the global political and economic crises. In this regard dialogue is important. Azerbaijan's advantageous position - intersection of economic and political interests of all major political players in the world, place Azerbaijan as a mediator in view of such dialogue.

Economy

Azerbaijan had great economic achievements in 2015 as an energy-rich South Caucasus country with favorable conditions for doing business entered the list of top 10 countries for starting a business.

According to the annual ranking from the Doing Business-2016 report prepared by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation and released on October 28, Azerbaijan occupied the 7th place among the 189 world countries.

The country's economy increased by 3.1 percent in the first 11 months of the year, while the GDP made up $50 billion. One can say with no doubt that his growth was possible thanks to the non-oil sector. In 2015, the non-oil sector increased by more than 4 percent, accounting for 70 percent of the national economy.

Azerbaijan's industrial output increased 2.1 percent, while the non-oil industry saw a 7.7 percent growth.

2015 was a successful year for Azerbaijan in terms of attracting investments. A total of $20 billion were invested in the country's economy, including $11 billion of foreign investment. A total of 87,000 jobs were opened, with the total number of jobs created since 2004 exceeding 1.4 million.

In 2015, Azerbaijan also took important steps to implement the giant Southern Gas Corridor project. In March the foundation of the TANAP project was laid in Kars. The TAP project creates additional opportunities for gas supplies to Europe via Turkey. These projects play an important role in the diversification of energy sources in Europe and the continent's energy security.

Azerbaijan plays an important role in the creation of transport corridors and the formation of a modern transport infrastructure in the region. Established in recent years, modern transport infrastructure plays an important role in transforming Azerbaijan into the center of transport corridors East-West and North-South.

This year, Azerbaijan also continued the implementation of major transport projects. From August, three container trains have already reached Azerbaijan coming from the Chinese province of Lianyungang and traveling along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route from China to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and from here to Georgia and Turkey. The Trans-Caspian international transport route runs through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, to reach Europe.

The potential of the route is expected to increase even higher after putting into operation the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route. This way will save about 80 percent of transportation time from China to Europe.

In 2015, Azerbaijan's economy continued to consistently demonstrate its resilience to different external threats and not to reduce the dynamics of its development under the circumstances. This fact received international recognition when Azerbaijan was presented as one of the states with the most stable economies during the international forum in Davos in January 2015.

Azerbaijan was among the dynamically developing countries in the field of information and communication technologies in 2015. The country improved its position in the world-wide ICT ranking and this time ranked the 67th on the index of information and communication technologies development, rising three points compared to the figure of 2013, and nine points compared to 2010, according to the latest report of the International Telecommunication Union for 2015.

One of the major events in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan in 2015 was signing of an agreement between Azerbaijan's satellite operator Azercosmos and French Arianespace company to put Azerspace-2 satellite into orbit.

Source: AzerNews

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