Mastermind of Azerbaijan model of development
One of the main factors determining development level, as well as power and authority of the state is just the national leader phenomenon. Hence, perfect strategy found by the national leader forms crucial basis to set economic development potential of the country going and to make existing natural resources to serve for the interest of every citizen, along with creating opportunity for improving the country politically and legally, strengthening statehood tradition. In other words, this strategy creates superb development tendency in all directions beginning from economic-social sphere to political-legal field. Great leader Heydar Aliyev who has special position in the chronicle of national leaders combines these features successfully in himself. Heydar Aliyev, one of the outstanding figures of XX century world history realizing desire of independence of our people in the precise state model, erected monument in hearts of millions. The National leader is remembered with great respect as an author of development strategy of Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev's development strategy is the basis of every success that independent Azerbaijan gained. Analysis of the development stages of Azerbaijan shows that, the history of this strategy begins before Heydar Aliyev returned to the power for the second time - from 1969, when he was elected leader of the country. Up to this time Azerbaijan ranked one of the last places among Union republics on every indicator, as well as on the living standard, notwithstanding existence of rich economic potential, and natural resources. While Azerbaijan provided the Union with the precious natural resource – oil, living standard was much higher than our country in other Union republics that had no economic resources. When Heydar Aliyev came to power in our republic in 1969, Azerbaijan developed economically, and became contemporary republic with modern economy among the Union republics within a short time, despite severe laws of the Soviet regime. Due to the large-scale works started under the leadership of the nationwide leader, Azerbaijan took her worthy place among the republics of the Soviet Union. Machinery and equipment production fields and other industrial spheres were created for electronic machine building, radio industry, light and food industry over 1969-1982. By XIX century till 1969 (about 100 years) 735 largest industrial facilities were constructed in Azerbaijan, while number of these facilities reached 1048 when Heydar Aliyev was in power in our republic (only 14 years). Due to the employment of the achievements of scientific and technical progress in the development of the industry 581 new types of machinery, equipment, apparatus and instruments were created in 1971-1985. Throughout this period Azerbaijan ranked one of the leading places among Soviet Union countries for the production of oil products, oil equipment, steel pipes, non-ferrous metals, synthetic rubber, electric motors, air conditioners, mineral fertilizers, carpets and other types of production. 350 types of different products manufactured in our country were exported to 65 foreign countries.
The appearance of Baku changed over these years, as the works of development and renovation were carried out. The capital grew and became fascinating on the account of the new micro districts, parks and avenues, streets and squares. One of the issues that the leader of the republic attached great importance was improvement of the living conditions of the population. 376.1 thousand new houses were built and given to the citizens of the republic during 14 years. It paved the way for one of three residents of Azerbaijan to be provided with flat throughout this period. The dynamics of Azerbaijan's development history confirms once again that, the period began after Heydar Aliyev came in power was the beginning of the way leading our country to the independent statehood. The economic development, national and cultural revival, consciousness, and rise of national spirit of 1970s paved the way for the turning of idea of statehood of our people inflicted in their heart for years to main impetus in the struggle for national liberation.
Only after return of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev to the power with the will and challenge of the population in 1969, basis of crucial changes was set up in all spheres, as well as in economy. The great leader rescuing country economy from imminent disaster, and disorder began to take emergency measures for the economic growth of the country. Heydar Aliyev taking into account the limited opportunities of Azerbaijan, considered effective use of the country's rich hydrocarbon resources for achieving momentous turning in the economy. As a result of the work carried out during the years 1996-2003 gross domestic product grew by twice, the average monthly wage by 6.2 times, and the pensions by 5.1 times.
Adoption of new laws was extremely important for the successful implementation of the reforms. The great leader, who began large-scale reforms, knew that complete legal framework was needed to pass this process smoothly. Heydar Aliyev proposing bills regulating divers sectors of the economy for the discussion in the Parliament considered that the debate must be held on democratic principles and transparently. Economic laws adopted over this period set up reliable basis for the establishment of national economic development model and execution of economic reforms in accordance with the interest of citizens. 975 laws and decrees out of 1715 adopted throughout 1993-2003 were submitted to the Parliament by great leader Heydar Aliyev as a legislative initiative.
Transition to liberal market economy was assured due to dynamic socio-economic prosperity resulted from the measured, pragmatic and continually rising policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev adapted from the great leader Heydar Aliyev's economic development strategy. Hereof, our country's attainments pertaining to 20 years were written to the history as Azerbaijan model of socio-economic development, however hundreds of years were needed for essential quality changes. Foundation stone of this model implies dynamic development of non-oil sector, diversification of country economy, comprehend state support for development of private sector, balanced development of the regions, establishment of qualified human capital, effective international economic corporation, integration into the world economy and improvement of welfare of every citizen of our country due to Heydar Aliyev's noteworthy oil strategy and solid financial and economic basis set up on account of the oil revenues. Azerbaijan stepped in new development level of new quality by completing the transitional period in the economic sphere. Further development of the non-oil sector for sustainable and stable progress of national economy and deepening of liberalization process in this sphere are from special characters of new stage. Due to the prosperous strategy implemented by the head of the state, Ilham Aliyev Azerbaijan is known as a country developing and changing in all spheres even during the global crisis.
The global financial and economic crisis confirmed that Azerbaijan economy was not established on oil factor, and non-oil sector had great role in flourishing attainments. The results of the previous year substantiated again that, non-oil sector had crucial share in development dynamics of country economy. Dynamic development of non-oil sector continued due to the diversification measures, entrepreneurship development, and further improvement of investment climate. Azerbaijan economy is notable for providing macroeconomic stability, keeping manageable inflation, as well as holding exchange rate of the national currency stable owing to the modernization line arising from the founder of modern Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev's economic development strategy and put into effect by considering potential opportunities, national interests, global economic trends, political and economic realities of our country. Economic growth starting from 1996 continues dynamically. GDP constituted 63 billion, its per capita share beyond 7 thousand dollars according to the results of 2011. GDP grew by 3 times, its per capita share by 2,7 times, non-oil sector by 2,2 times over last 8 years. As a result of the rapid economic growth, Azerbaijan further strengthened her position among the "upper middle income" countries.
The main characteristic feature of our country's economic development in recent years is GDP growth on the account of the non-oil sector. 9.4 percent growth in non-oil sector in 2011 resulted from minimizing dependence of the economy on the oil sector and the policy of development of non-oil sector for diversification of the economy. Credits allocated to the economy grew by 14.8 times, investments in fixed capital by 3.7 times, foreign trade turnover by 7 times, as well as export by 10.3 times throughout the last 8 years. Significant qualitative changes were observed in the structure of investments. Total investments are dominated by investments in non-oil sector and domestic investments. So, investments in non-oil sector increased by 9.7 times, and domestic investments by 10.9 times over the last 8 years. State budget revenues grew by 12.9 times in 2011 compared with 2003. Non-oil budget revenues amounted to AZN 4.1 billion by increasing by 5.5 times, investment expenses constituted AZN 5.8 billion by augmenting by 67.3 times, social expenditures amounted to AZN 4.3 billion by raising by 6.4 times. At present, our country's strategic currency reserves are in excess of U.S. $ 43 billion. However foreign debt exceeded GDP in several developed countries, this indicator comprised 7,6% in Azerbaijan in 2011.
Industrialization policy aimed at acceleration of the diversification of the country economy and sustainable development of the non-oil sector assured establishment of new, contemporary enterprises and technological renovation of enterprises. In Sumgait Technologies Park heavy machinery and industrial gases production facilities, as well as aluminum, condenser, MDF, "Modern Building Materials," glucose production and "Azguntex" plants in diverse parts of the country were put into service, and "Garadag Cement" plant was renovated. Besides, 2 new cement plants, solid waste management plant, shipbuilding, "Fleecy Yarn", fertilizer plants and others are continued to be built. It is the real result of the industrialization policy. In general, more than 5 thousand new enterprises were put into operation in 2011, and over 42 thousand enterprises during the last 8 years.
Today, non-oil sector of the economy has become a dynamically developing sector of the economy, production increased about by 1.5 times in 2003-2011, and by 5.2% averagely each year in this field. Operation of approximately 100 industrial facilities that are under construction will further quicken non-oil industry development established upon the application of contemporary technologies and innovations. It is not by chance that, production in non-oil industry grew by 16.5% in the first quarter of this year. Expansion of application of modern forms of industrial organization is one of the priorities of industrial policy in accordance with the new development stage of Azerbaijan. In this context, establishment of modern industrial complexes, technology parks, including the creation of Sumgait chemical industrial and Balakhani industrial parks pursuant to Ilham Aliyev's order will speed up the development of the non-oil industry, encourage local and foreign investments, stimulate the development of modern technological fields, new competitive production, and contribute to modernization of the economy, establishment of innovative economy, increase of non-oil export positively.
In order to meet the growing demand for electricity, 11 power plants were built only in the last 6 years. At the same time, crucial works were done to expand utilization of alternative and renewable energy sources, application of modern technologies in electricity generation. The Experimental Site has been already put into service, and modern hybrid solar and wind power plants have been installed. In general, our country has become an energy exporter by meeting the electrical energy demand on account of domestic production. In accordance with the instructions of the head of the state, application of new and intensive methods, establishment of modern infrastructure for production and storage of harvest, expansion of better leasing and agro-technical services sector and etc. in agrarian sector that one of the priorities of non-oil sector further accelerated development of this sector. Successful execution of the "State Program on reliable food supply of population in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2008-2015" further strengthened food security, by augmenting the level of food-stuffs self-reliance on account of local production.
The system of removing expired food-stuffs of unknown origin that were not certified under the legislation was improved to increase food security in addition to food-stuffs safety, as well as works on labeling products, adapting quality and safety instructions to the requirements of normative documents. One of the crucial directions of National Leader Heydar Aliyev's socio-economic policy was developing infrastructure. Execution of the projects on modernization of the transport infrastructure in the country by adapting to international standards, highway construction and expansion within the East-West and North-South transportation corridors, restoration and renewal of the regional road network, re-establishment of border-crossing stations, construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, new Baku International Sea Trade Port, construction of the modern ship-building facility, including construction of the new Airport Complex in Baku International Airport named after Heydar Aliyev, as well as reconstruction and expansion of airports, flight and landing strip create great opportunities for the realization of our country's transport capacity.
Great attention is attached to the establishment of the single modern electronic information environment and expansion of e-services, creation and modernization of information and communication infrastructure in Azerbaijan. Works on the application of new information technologies, establishment of broadband internet access network, placing of the national telecommunications satellite into orbit, creation of the multipurpose computer center on the reception and processing of cosmic information are continued in a successful manner within the framework of "Electronic Azerbaijan" State Program. Now, the number of computers per 100 inhabitants is 20 units, and number of internet users per 100 inhabitants has reached 65. Heydar Aliyev's strategy on entrepreneurship development is distinguished by the systematic character of measures taken in this sphere, institutionalization of government-entrepreneur relations. Now expansion of the private sector and strengthening of support to entrepreneurship are from priorities of economic policy carried out by the President Ilham Aliyev. Application of e-services in this sphere was accelerated, online registration of physical persons and legal entities, reception of tax declaration started, and unit information register of inspections established in this sphere. Along with this, internet portal on permissions paved the way for obtaining information on the procedures of getting permission documents, duration of getting permission and documents that must be presented. Besides, changes to the usage rules of soft loans increased opportunities to finance long-term investment projects and small entrepreneurship with preferential terms. Soft loans worth AZN 138 million granted by the National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support to 1643 entrepreneurs in 2011 prepared a path for establishing nearly 6500 new jobs. 75% of the loans went to the regions, 25% to Baku districts. AZN 118 million was allocated to 85 large projects on production, processing and infrastructure established upon the contemporary technologies. 33 modern facilities were put into service in 2011 by benefiting from soft loans. Other 96 enterprises will operate this year. Entrepreneurs are considered to be granted AZN 200 million soft loans in 2012.
91 business-forums and conferences were organized in Azerbaijan, 99 in foreign companies to support implementation of the local entrepreneurs' potential opportunities, to promote modern forms of business, and to expand foreign relations. Learning of modern experience, rendering contemporary consulting and innovation services are from the most important components of the support to entrepreneurship development. For this purpose, 144 events were held, 80 out of them in regions. Besides entrepreneurs and young managers passed experience in Germany in order to increase their knowledge and skills. Crucial attainments have been reached in terms of foreign economic cooperation and integration into the world economy. Bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation has been deepened at the international level, and Azerbaijan further strengthened the leading position in the region. Rapid economic growth, increase in financial resources turned our country to investment exporter, and above $ 6 billion invested in foreign countries.
The geography of foreign trade has expanded, its commodity structure improved. Thus, foreign trade was conducted with 149 countries in 2011, foreign trade turnover increased by 29.9 percent to $ 36.3 billion, while export increased by 24.4 percent to $ 26.6 billion, and trade surplus equaled to $ 16.8 billion. Export exceeded import by 2.7 times. Export of modern technologies and mechanisms grew by 1.6 times as a result of expansion of application of modern technologies and establishment of manufacturing processes according to the international standards. According to the "Global Innovation Index-2011" report, Azerbaijan ranks 30th among the world countries for import of hi-tech products, and 1st in CIS. Share of import of computers and communication services within the commercial services amounted to 61.7%, and Azerbaijan ranks 5th for this indicator among the world countries. These factors are pointers of modernization of technological structure of Azerbaijan economy.
Efficacious implementation of state programs on the development of Azerbaijan districts, Baku and its suburbs, reducing poverty and durable development and etc. is crucial in terms of providing dynamic economic development, renewing infrastructure, establishing new enterprises and facilities, opening jobs. These state programs serve for further improving living level of population, augmenting their welfare as well. More than 1 million new jobs were created throughout the last 8 years, over 727 thousand out of them being permanent. Nominal growth temp of the people' deposits increased by 5,3 times, average monthly salary of the employees involved in economy by 4.7 times, deposits of population by 16.4 times during this period. Pursuant to the Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Program, our country entered among the high-developed countries. In order to further strengthen the social protection of the population amount of the minimum monthly wage was increased by 10% to AZN 93,5 from December 1, 2011. This indicator is 10 times higher compared to 2003. In addition to growths in previous years, average wages in state-funded spheres such as education, health, culture, youth and sports, science and etc. were increased by 10%, and pension of 900 thousand pensioners were raised up to 40%.
In general, poverty level diminished to 7.6% by falling by 6,5 times over the last 10 years thanks to the works done in the direction of raising living level of the population. Improvement of the living conditions of refugees and internally displaced persons, establishment of new settlements meeting modern standards, and construction of high-rise buildings was realized, as these directions are in the center of the attention of the head of the state. As a result of the works done, poverty level of the internally displaced persons diminished by 4,1 times. In general, in order to solve the social problems of refugees and internally displaced persons, $ 4.6 billion was allocated, as well as $ 1 billion by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan Republic. In recent years, more than 400 new health centers were built and equipped with modern medical equipments.
Large-scale measures on further development of electricity, gas, water and sewerage supply of population are being continued. Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline was put into operation to improve high-quality drinking water supply of Baku population.
Future socio-economic development of the country requires increase of the level of knowledge as well. Measures are continued on updating the content of education, application of modern information and communication technologies in study, modernization of pre-school education, improvement of technical and vocational education, development of potential of gifted children and young people and in other spheres within the framework of the development programs on diverse directions of the education sphere. 40% of the total schools were rebuilt, expanded, renovated and equipped with modern equipments to improve educational infrastructure in accordance with modern standards. Hundreds of schools were built, repaired and restored, and equipped with modern equipments within the framework of "New school to new Azerbaijan" Program by the initiative and support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Hundreds of Azerbaijani youth study in leading educational institutions of different countries according to the "State Program on Education of the Azerbaijani Youth abroad in 2007-2015". Along with this, number of foreigners studying in institutions of higher education of Azerbaijan has increased and Azerbaijan ranks 37th among the world countries, and 2nd among CIS countries for the number of the foreign students according to the "Global Innovation Index".
Epoch-making works have been done to improve the environmental situation in Azerbaijan. Hence modern new waste landfills, as well as the Balakhani landfill has been established, and construction of Waste-to-Energy Plant and Waste Separation Plant are continued successfully. Declaration of 2010 as the "Year of environment" by the head of the state expanded the scale of measures, and accelerated implementation of a number of projects related to environmental protection. Yale and Columbia universities of the United States released a document on ecological situation and environmental protection of 132 countries in 10 years. Our country ranked 2nd in the "International environmental performance index" for the performance in environmental protection in the last 10 years.
So, Azerbaijan, developing dynamically on the firm basis became the leading country of the world, took her worthy place in the world community, and known recognized as a reliable partner by augmenting economic power durably. As President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said: "Jobs, non-oil sector, development of private entrepreneurship, establishment of a new great industrial facilities, schools, medical centers, cultural centers and construction work – our country develops by this way".
Azerbaijan's economic and social successes are highly evaluated by influential international organizations as well. According to the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum Azerbaijan ranked 55th among 142 countries and 1st among the CIS countries. Azerbaijan was ranked 66th among 183 countries by being upgraded 3 steps in the "Doing Business 2012" report. Along with this, "Standard and Poor's" International Rating Agency" raised long-term sovereign credit rating of Azerbaijan by one level to "BBB-", while keeping the rating outlook "sustainable" last year. Furthermore, "Fitch Ratings" Agency gave a grade of "BBB-" in investment for Azerbaijan's long-term rating for domestic and foreign currencies, changing its prognosis from "Stable" to "Positive". "Moody's" International Rating Agency upgraded Azerbaijan's long-term credit rating to "Baa3", while keeping rating outlook "sustainable".
"Azerbaijan 2020: Future Outlook" Development Conception issued by the task of the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev to further modernize Azerbaijan economy and further strengthen achievements will pave the way for further strengthening of our country and providing every citizen with the highest living standards. Continuation of the measures on the establishment of the competitive, export-oriented, diversified, innovative economy, acceleration of the industrialization policy, the creation of industrial zones based on progressive experience, technological renovation of the facilities, further expansion of utilization of intensive methods and further improvement of welfare of population are duties put forward by the head of the state for achieving these goals.
While remembering Great Leader Heydar Aliyev's memory every citizen set moral obligation to protect independent Azerbaijan and long-living ideas that presented us by him. Because, realization of our wishes of independence and Azerbaijan's development are based on Heydar Aliyev's ideas. All socio-economic achievements gained over the last 9 years under the leadership of the President Ilham Aliyev, turning of Azerbaijan to the leader country of the region means the realization of Heydar Aliyev's desires. There is no doubt that the Republic of Azerbaijan forging ahead on Heydar Aliyev's way will reach epochal attainments, and conquer the highest peaks.