Powerful Azerbaijan is a source of pride for every Azerbaijani irrespective of where he lives
Q: We would like you to compare present-day Azerbaijan with Azerbaijan that existed 10 years ago?
A: Launched by national leader Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan`s overall development policy is continued by President Ilham Aliyev, a worthy successor of the national leader. In his appeal to the people of Azerbaijan before the presidential election in 2003, national leader Heydar Aliyev said: “I call on you - my countrymen, in the coming Presidential elections to vote for my political successor, first deputy chairman of the New Azerbaijani Party Ilham Aliyev. He is highly intellectual, pragmatic, and well aware of the current world policy and economy, a strong and initiative personality. I assure you that both Ilham Aliyev and the New Azerbaijani Party will further closely unite worthy representatives of our people, do a lot for the development of Azerbaijan and for the welfare of our nation. I am confident that with your help and support, Ilham Aliyev will be able to complete the crucial works and plans that I launched, but could not complete. I trust him as myself and set my hopes on his future.”
In his speech at the inauguration ceremony on October 31, 2003, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev declared that he will pursue Heydar Aliyev`s policy: "On October 15 the Azerbaijani people voted for Heydar Aliyev`s policy, peace, progress, development, stability. This policy has no alternative in Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev`s policy has brought great successes to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is developing and achieving successes in all the spheres. Azerbaijan has gained a worthy position in the international arena. Azerbaijan has a good reputation worldwide now. All the large-scale projects in the region are being implemented with the participation of Azerbaijan, taking the interests of Azerbaijan into consideration."
The last 10 years have been an important period of dynamic socioeconomic development, a stage of democratic and modern state building in Azerbaijan. Remaining committed to the political course of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev, we have made great strides in maintaining public and political stability, laying an economic foundation and securing strong popular support. Numerous state programs outlining both the general directions of the country’s development and the specific work to be done in all areas have been adopted and successfully implemented. These activities have had an important impact on the socioeconomic development of the country, improved the well-being of the population and facilitated the solution of other problems facing our citizens.
In the last 10 years, we have tripled and diversified our economy, created a modern social and economic infrastructure and secured the dynamic development of the non-oil sector.
Q: One of the main factors conditioning the country`s prosperity is ensuring transparency in managing oil revenues…
A: As President Ilham Aliyev said: “Azerbaijan is known in the world as an oil and gas country. This is our greatest wealth. But we know that in some countries this great wealth does not bring success. On the contrary, it creates problems, opens the way to war and stratification of society. In Azerbaijan, we are seeing quite the opposite. Our natural resources have had a positive impact on the lives of every individual. This is evidenced by the paved roads, hospitals, growing wages and improving cities. Azerbaijan has accumulated a unique experience in using oil revenues correct and converting the “black gold” into human capital – we have already achieved this. In the future, our economy will develop in a diversified manner. Today we are investing in new technologies. Today, Azerbaijan is a space-faring nation. We have joined the club of space countries.”
In recent years we have created more than 1,200,000 jobs and unemployment has sharply declined as well. It is less than 5 per cent now. In fact, migrants from other countries come to Azerbaijan in search of work. So this is underpinned by a sound policy. Economic development is very rapid. Over the past 10 years Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing country in the world in terms of economic development. All our economic indicators are positive. Over the past 10 years the economy has more than tripled. The foreign debt of the state is at a very low level – 8 per cent. Over the past 10 years budget revenues grew more than 20 times. Proper distribution of budget revenues, the implementation of social programs and infrastructure projects have facilitated the development of our country.
Q: Measures to strengthen economic potential pave the way for cementing independence. What can you say of this?
A: At present, Azerbaijan is an economically independent country. We pursue an independent foreign political course. This policy is supported by most countries of the world. To visually confirm these words, I want to say that a few years ago Azerbaijan was elected a member of the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council is the most authoritative body in the world, and the newly independent state of Azerbaijan became a member of this prestigious organization with the support of 155 countries. So this is also a reflection of our role in the world and of our independent foreign policy. The vast majority of the international community believes in us and supported us with their votes.
In an address to the people of Azerbaijan, distributed on May 29 2006 to mark the Azerbaijani oil`s reaching Ceyhan port in Turkey, President Ilham Aliyev said BTC would guarantee that the country enjoys a prosperous future. "It will bring us on the one hand huge economic benefits, and on the other hand, great political capital." "Azerbaijan has great prospects, great achievements and undoubtedly, our country will significantly benefit from the operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline," President Ilham Aliyev continued. "Every citizen will feel these changes in his everyday life."