Key aspects and prospects of development of information-communication technologies in Azerbaijan have been discussed today (February 18) at the business forum, organized by the Caspian European Club and attended by Minister of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Abbasov.
Addressing the business forum, Minister of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Abbasov noted active work of the Caspian European Club, which brings together over 5000 companies from 50 countries of the world, in building business-to-government dialogue, which enables to establish much closer cooperation between the government institutions and the private sector. Ali Abbasov spoke about the activity of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan at the event. Possibilities of involvement of the private sector in ICT-projects that the state implements as well as issues that are of interest to the Caspian European Club member companies were discussed at the meeting. A.Abbasov outlined that ICT and high technologies are one of the developing sectors in Azerbaijan. According to him, considering the outcomes of 2014, the rates of the ICT sector development exceed the rates of the social-economic development of the country by several times. Overall profits gained from ICT sector of Azerbaijan reached 1.7 bln AZN (over $2bln) in 2014. The growth rate of the ICT sector totaled 16.2%. According to the report of the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan is nowadays ranks with the developed countries on many indicators. 53% of the profit gained by ICT sector of Azerbaijan in 2014 fell to the share of mobile communication. Though, this indicator totaled 70% in 2004. This indicator totals 60% on a global scale. Nevertheless, MCHT is carrying out a targeted work on diversification of the ICT sector development. In the meantime, there is a slight decrease of investments within the ICT sector and totaled about 140 mln AZN ($200mln). The share of private investments totaled about 40%. Though, it is the private sector which gains 80% of profits in the ICT sector. According to him, the decline of oil prices since September 2014 required to make saving-related corrections within the projects financed by the state. Therefore, the state financing on a number of projects was substituted by other types of financing, the minister noted. Ali Abbasov outlined that projects of infrastructural importance are currently implemented in the ICT sector including the field of cellular communication, internet, landline communication, radiotelevsion, satellite services. The biggest project is being implemented together with the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan in the field of development of the broadband internet. “We forecasted allocation of 450 mln AZN for a three year period. However, we have rescheduled this project to the period after 2016”, the minister noted. According to the minister, agreements on financing of a number of ICT projects have been reached with foreign banks and international financial institutions. “Certain projects have already found financing sources as investments made in this sphere are regained within 3-5 years”, Ali Abbasov outlined. Minister Abbasov touched on the prospects of development of digital television and mobile communication. Ali Abbasov stressed the goal to expand the ICT market in Azerbaijan. A special role in this aspect belongs to development of projects aimed at manufacture of export-oriented products. Separately, Minister Ali Abbasov provided information on the development of ICT projects in the regions. The Minister also spoke about innovative development. In this regard, he stressed development of start-ups and adoption of new technologies. Discussed at the meeting were the proposals of the business forum participants on the topic as well as issues of interest to the member companies of the Caspian European Club. Speaking at the business forum, CEO of the Caspian European Club Telman Aliyev thanked Ali Abbasov for a constructive dialogue as well as attention to proposals and requests stated by the member companies of the Caspian European Club during the event. Telman Aliyev invited Minister of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Caspian Energy Forum, which is going to gather in Baku heads of a number of ministries and agencies of the countries across the Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic regions and the member companies of the Caspian European Club at the one venue. “We are hopeful in the future this forum will become a key event for investors of countries of the Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic regions”, Telman Aliyev stressed. He said the Caspian European Club was established in June 2002 with active participation of Caspian Energy International Media Group and under support of the largest oil and gas companies working in the Caspian and Black Sea region. His Excellency President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is the Chairman of the Caspian European Club. According to Telman Aliyev, the Caspian European Club has promoted attraction of oil sector revenues into development of the non-oil sector since its establishment. Caspian European Club, which brings together over 5,000 member companies and organisation, is operating in 50 countries around the world, carrying out an active work to maintain the dialogue between government agencies and the private sector. Minister of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Abbasov was handed the Honourary Membership Certificate of the Caspian European Club. Certificates were also handed to new member companies of the Caspian European Club. Participating in the business forum of the Caspian European Club were the heads of companies and representatives of some diplomatic missions accredited in Azerbaijan.