President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: Economic development underpinned by serious social programs
“Over the past 10 years we have been one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We see sustainable development as planning for the future. We have a development concept called "Azerbaijan 2020: vision for the future". This document has been adopted as a fundamental instrument, as guidelines.
Our financial situation is stable. The level of our external debt is very low and accounts for only 8 per cent of the gross domestic product. This means that we can make plans for working more closely with international financial institutions. At the same time, it is necessary to diversify the economy for development, because oil and gas, which are considered natural resources, were the leading criterion of our success, of course. At the present time, diversification is our top priority because you can’t create a large number of jobs in the oil and gas sector. Therefore, diversification of the economy and investment in the social infrastructure provide the necessary standard of living even in remote areas. It helps create access to broadband internet in every town. The construction of 3,000 secondary schools, 500 hospitals and other factors have allowed our society to create an entirely new environment. As a first step, we have stopped migration abroad, i.e. the outflow of people from Azerbaijan to other countries.
It was subsequently replaced with migration within the country, or the influx of people from small rural places to Baku. Our current goal to stop this migration too. This issue is also addressed every year,” President Ilham Aliyev said at the second global forum of shared societies on April 28.
“Economic development is underpinned by very strong social programs. As you know, in some cases radical economic reforms may create difficulties in everyday life. Therefore, social issues have always been a priority for our government. The improvement of living standards, the creation of jobs and the reduction of unemployment – this shows that all of this can be done. First of all, we simply need stability because nothing is possible without stability. Secondly, we have a very clear domestic policy which is supported by the majority of our population. So we need to achieve results, keep the promises we have given and meet our goals. Here we touch upon a very important issue – the responsibility of politicians. These individuals are at the top of this work. Some of our colleagues tend to make populist promises to win more support and votes. However, when the promises are not kept, people get disappointed. The responsibility of politicians is extremely important also for themselves, as it increases their credibility and further strengthens society. Therefore, the achievement of results was our main goal. These results are reflected in economic and statistical indicators. Currently, the poverty rate is at about 5 per cent, while 10 years ago it was 49 per cent.
The rapid economic development creates a very good international atmosphere around Azerbaijan, as our country is becoming increasingly recognizable. A lot more people know about Azerbaijan today.”