Azerbaijan transforming into strong industrial center of region
Over the past 10 years Azerbaijan has achieved significant progress – it was elected as a non-permanent member to the U.N. Security Council, joined the limited list of the countries with national telecommunication satellites, has undergone the transition into a market economy and become a country making intensive direct investment in foreign countries and transforming into the economic, political and cultural center of the entire region.
In this period GDP grew by 3.4 times, state budget revenues 16 times, industrial production 2.7 times and gross fixed capital investment volume 4.7 times. Between 2003 and 2013, average annual economic growth has been 12.9 percent, making Azerbaijan's economic success among the best in the world.
In the pas decade, the country's strategic currency reserves grew more than 31 times, foreign currency reserves to GDP ratio by 68 percent, which is 8 times higher than its foreign debt. From the inception of regaining independence, more than $172 billion was invested in the economy. Azerbaijan has already become an investor country, investing in neighboring countries, including a number of European countries.
The geography of the country's export expansion, as well as access to new markets are the major achievements of the last decade. A t present, Azerbaijan trades with nearly 150 countries. Foreign trade turnover increased 6.6 times, exports 9.3 times, while imports increased 4.1 times. Non-oil exports also grew 4.7 times.
Azerbaijan has achieved this dynamic economic development at a time of global economic recession. It has no coincidence that the "Global Competitiveness Index" ranked Azerbaijan as the 39th most competitive country in the world. Azerbaijan has held its leading position among the Commonwealth of Independent States' countries for the last 5 years. The world's leading rating agencies such as Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's regularly affirm Azerbaijan's high investment credit rating.
The main trends reflecting sustainable socioeconomic development in the coming years through accelerating the diversification of the economy are outlined in the "Azerbaijan 2020:A Look into the Future," development concept, particularly with GDP growth to be achieved in the non-oil sector as a target. One of the primary goals of the development concept is enhancing the fostering of non-oil sector, especially non-oil industries, and per capita in non-oil exports.
Currently industrialization is one of the economic policy priorities of Azerbaijan. In 2013 alone, more than 30 modern production enterprises such as shipbuilding, cement, steel pipe, gold and wine producing plants, textile parks, ceramic tile and cardboard container factories and the southern power plant have been launched. Moreover, more than 90 industrial enterprises are under construction.
Additionally, new industries such as defense, space and renewable energy have also been realized.
The role of the private sector in the development of industry is growing every year. Between 2004 and 2013, 19 Japanese companies have registered in Azerbaijan. These companies together with the domestic industry are successfully operating in the fields such as services, construction, agriculture and communications. Up to now four projects financed by the government of Azerbaijan have been carried out by Japanese companies as contractors. In general, between 2002 and 2013 foreign direct investment from Japan has reached $3.9 billion.
At present logistical matters concerning Sumgait Chemical Industry Park and High-Tech Industrial Park Balakhany have been continuing. Also under this plan, including cities such as Ganja and Mingachevir, modern industrial parks will be created.
It is certain that the endorsement of the "Year of Industry" as decreed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan will ensure a step forward for the industrialization of the country in the coming years, thus becoming the industrial center of the region.
In order to create new non-oil industries except hydrocarbon resources, Azerbaijan also possesses iron ore, gold, copper, alunite and other rich natural resources, which are crucially important. Being one of the world's largest energy projects, "Shah Deniz-2," the Trans-Anatolian Gas Project and the Trans-Adriatic Pipline are projects seen as galvanizing the country's economy for many years and will contribute particularly to the industrial development of Azerbaijan.
Minister of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan