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Azerbaijan’s Achievements Presented in Davos

Azerbaijan's achievements in political and economic spheres were presented at the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, held on January 22-25.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who visited Davos in Switzerland, attended the session titled "Eurasia: The Next Frontier?" on January 23.

The session, most of whose participants attended the World Economic Forum Strategic Dialogue on the Future of the South Caucasus and Central Asia in Baku last year, addressed several topics, including diversifying the region's economic base, fostering inclusion in global supply chains, and enhancing cross-border trade.

Addressing the session, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan is doing a lot to strengthen regional cooperation.

"As you know, Azerbaijan initiated energy projects in the region, and this has contributed to greater regional cooperation. First of all, I want to mention the pipeline. This project has connected Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey as regional partners. Once the project was completed, Central Asian states began to use its transit opportunities," he said.

The Head of State noted that all of the involved states are benefiting from the project.

"They are acquiring access to new markets and new export routes. In fact, after the restoration of independence in the countries of South Caucasus and Central Asia, the energy factor gained importance in terms of regional cooperation. We have succeeded in speeding up this work and are currently working on transport infrastructure," he said.

President Aliyev also said Azerbaijan is stepping up economic cooperation between the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

"These countries are registering major growth in the gross domestic product. This figure exceeds the world average and the potential for growth is also immense. I believe that there is a political will to strengthen cooperation between the countries that were regarded as members of a large family called the Soviet Union 22 years ago. Today, these countries are independent, and each state has determined the path of its political and economic development, and is implementing social programs on the basis of its economic potential. But regional cooperation also provides additional opportunities and stimulates the creation of a more favorable business and investment environment," he said.

"We are closely following the developments in our region and in Central Asia. Traditional friendly relations between our nations serve the establishment of a regional cooperation format. As for Azerbaijan, we will continue to work actively on these issues and will take all the necessary measures to identify new areas of cooperation in the future," he noted.

Then, President Aliyev answered a question about the priorities identified for Azerbaijan.

He said the main priority is currently the implementation of ambitious energy projects.

"I'm referring to the 'Shah Deniz-2' project which we started to implement last month. Under this project, two pipelines will be built - one in Turkey and the other from the Turkish-Greek border in the direction of Italy. One is called Trans-Anatolian and the other Trans-Adriatic pipeline. These two projects envisage the transportation of natural gas from giant fields, and it will become the largest infrastructure project in Europe," he said. "Thus, one of the biggest challenges facing us in terms of regional cooperation is completing this project in a very short time, i.e. within five years. Two South Caucasus countries, Georgia and Azerbaijan, are working hard in this direction. In the future, Central Asian states will also be able to connect to the built infrastructure, because it means more opportunities for the diversification of energy supplies."

The Head of State went on to note that another important project is that of a railway which will connect Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.

"This is a project which will connect Europe and Asia and is considered a new Silk Road. The construction work is underway. I hope the railway will become operational in 2015. So it means both: transport and energy communication and, at the same time, mutual investment. In particular, countries possessing additional material resources are seeking new investment opportunities, and I think that Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Central Asia are favorable places in terms of investment, because they have emerging markets, rapid population growth, and potential for dynamic economic development," he said. "Thus, new ideas related to transport, energy, and trade can become leading trends this year."

Later, President Aliyev attended a reception titled "South Caucasus and Central Asia: Path to Global Economy".

The event was opened by Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.

President Aliyev gave a speech at the reception, saying there is a huge potential for cooperation in the region.

"Azerbaijan plays an important role in strengthening cooperation and integration in South Caucasus and Central Asia. I can say that Azerbaijan proposed the first initiative for consolidating our countries. This is connected to the beginning of our energy policy," he said.

The Head of State went on to note that Azerbaijan was able to connect the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean basins thanks to a wide pipeline network.

"Today Azerbaijan is not only a supplier of energy resources, but also a transit country. Central Asian countries are transporting their natural resources via our infrastructure. This project has created favorable conditions for producing countries, consumer countries, as well as transit countries," he said.

President Aliyev also said today Azerbaijan cooperates with the Central Asian countries to create transport network.

"At the same time, we are working on an important railway project which will connect Central Asia with Europe thanks to Azerbaijan. This is a new Silk Way which will run from China to the Great Britain, and I hope it will be put into operation next year. All these are positive signs of regional cooperation," he said.

Azerbaijan chairs extraordinary forum on broadband internet.

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, the World Economic Forum and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized an extraordinary forum of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development titled "Broadband Internet and sustainable development" on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

The event gathered representatives of public and private sectors, as well as civil societies from 50 countries.

Addressing the forum, Ruanda's President Paul Kagame noted the importance of broadband internet for the modern world, and stressed the significance of cooperation and exchanging experience in this regard.

ITU's Director General Hamadoun Touré highlighted the work carried out by the Union to develop broadband internet, and hailed Azerbaijan's efforts to provide high-speed internet access in the country.

Azerbaijan's Communication and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov briefed the participants on his country's accomplishments in the ICT sector under President Ilham Aliyev, and said high-speed internet access had been ensured in Azerbaijan.

The forum addressed the current issues in the field of broadband Internet solutions, impact of broadband Internet on the social sphere, and further funding of broadband Internet development.

Azerbaijan ranks first among the CIS countries in terms of Internet penetration among individual users, "State of Broadband Report 2013" shows. Azerbaijan ranks 66th out of 194 countries, with 54.2 percent of individual Internet users, the report says.

In 2013, Azerbaijan's ICT sector grew 14 percent, topping the average world indicator by almost two times.

Azerbaijan also held the Night of Azerbaijan under the motto "SOCAR - Energy of Azerbaijan" in Davos.

The event was organized in Davos for the third time with the goal of promoting Azerbaijan in the world and introducing Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR to world business circles.

The event started with showing a video titled "Azerbaijan - the Country of the Future".

Addressing the event, President of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev said SOCAR, a strategic partner of Davos Forum, had already become a global company.

Highlighting the ongoing development processes in Azerbaijan, Abdullayev said the country was exporting oil and gas to more than 30 countries and playing an important role in Europe's energy security.

European Union Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger spoke of the history of Azerbaijan's oil industry, and hailed the country's role in delivering Caspian hydrocarbon resources to the world markets.

Oettinger also stressed the importance of the First European Games which will be held in Azerbaijan in 2015.

The event brought together government representatives from several countries, world media leaders, and businessmen.

Azerbaijan also held the Night of Azerbaijan in Davos where the Heydar Aliyev Foundation's publications popularizing Azerbaijan were distributed among the event participants.

The participants watched a promotional video on Azerbaijan's development, and the ongoing land improvement and construction work in Baku.

The event also featured performing Azerbaijani music.

Source: AzerNews

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