On December 19, 2017 American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham Azerbaijan) organized its monthly members’ luncheon, supported by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and featuring participation and speech by Mr. Ramin Guluzade, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Around 150 participants attended the event, including representatives of diplomatic corps.
Opening the event, Mr. Nuran Kerimov, President of AmCham Azerbaijan and Mrs. Natavan Mammadova, Executive Director of AmCham Azerbaijan welcomed guests and expressed their appreciation to Mr. Ramin Guluzade for joining the luncheon as a keynote speaker.
Afterwards, the Minister addressed the audience. Expressing gratitude to AmCham Azerbaijan for the meeting, Mr. Guluzade provided detailed information on the work carried out in the direction of development of transport, telecommunication and information technologies subject to the attention and care of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was noted that in order to achieve the goals set out in the Strategic Roadmap, a broadband network is being established in Baku and regions, new technologies, including LTE technology, are being implemented. Reminding that Azerbaijan had the most secure Datacenter in the region, the Minister said that the Reserve Data Center was set up in Yevlakh. He highlighted that a memorandum has recently been signed with Microsoft to expand the Center’s activity.
The Minister stressed that the application of ICT for modern economic relations and development was inevitable. He emphasized the importance of expanding the electronic environment for that purpose. “Currently 440 e-services are provided to citizens by 89 organizations through the “E-government” portal, which is a unified platform for e-services. The number, of course, is constantly increasing. The number of regular users of the portal is 700,000. In total, the number of applications for electronic services exceeds 60 million. As you know, one of the important features for the development of the electronic environment is the electronic signature”.
“In 2019, new generation ID cards are to be issued to citizens, which will be provided with e-signature certificates. I think that the use of e-signatures in ID cards will have a very positive impact on the development of e-services and electronic environment. Consistent efforts are made for mutual recognition of “Electronic signature” certificates between countries, and we believe that it will open up new opportunities for businessmen. I would like to draw your attention to the indicators that we have gained at the international rankings as a result of the work carried out in the ICT sector. Azerbaijan holds the 65th place in the International Telecommunication Union’s ICT Development Index for 2017. The country is the second among the member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). I would like to note that about 80 percent of the Azerbaijani population uses internet, and the number of mobile communication subscribers in our country is 106 percent of the population.”
Speaking about other projects implemented in the sector, the Minister mentioned the “Postal HUB” project, designed for the development of E-commerce. He reported that according to the project, e-commerce products ordered from China are imported to Azerbaijan via “Silk Way” Airlines, Azerpocht sorts those products at a transit center and sends them to respective destinations. At present, 17 countries around the world, including the United States, are cooperating with each other in this regard.
Speaking about Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway project, initiated by the Azerbaijani government, Mr. Guluzade said that a decisive meeting with the participating countries and operators was held within the framework of “Bakutel-2017” during the year and the establishment of a joint budget for the implementation of the project was fully agreed upon.
The Minister also said that for the first time in the region a powerful and highly efficient Radiation Sterilizer was created in Azerbaijan, which allowed businessmen to produce sterile products that meet international standards. Noting that favorable conditions and ecosystems for start-upers were created, R. Guluzade evaluated this as the most legit support of perspective development of the innovative economy by the state. He also stated that establishment of a new Innovation Center was planned.
Stressing that Azerbaijan has a favorable geographical location for international transit transportation, the Minister called the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad the shortest and safest way connecting Europe and Asia. “Today, roads are being reconstructed in our country. Investments are made in the development of the North-South transport corridor. I would like to specifically mention the construction of a new international seaport in Alat settlement. This project is of great importance in the transformation of Azerbaijan into a transit transport and logistics hub,” the Minister said.
Note that a business luncheon, organized every month by AmCham Azerbaijan, is attended by high-ranking government officials, members of the Azerbaijani Parliament and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan is a leading private, non-profit business association supporting and promoting the interests of foreign and local businesses in Azerbaijan. Established in 1996, AmCham is composed of over 280 Regular and Associate Member Companies active in every sector of the Azerbaijani economy. AmCham Azerbaijan represents nearly 80% of all foreign investment, as well as a significant portion of local investment, in Azerbaijan.