The Japan Times: Azerbaijan actively pursues regional economic growth
The Japan Times has published an article dedicated to Azerbaijan.
News.Az presents the article, titled “Actively pursuing regional economic growth” by Gursel Ismayilzada, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Japan.
The Constitutional Act on State Independence adopted on October 18, 1991 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan officially declared the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan as the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic which existed from 1918 to 1920. Azerbaijan became the first secular democratic state in the Islamic world in 1918 as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. However, this independence was short lived and lasted only 23 months.
Azerbaijan gained its long-awaited independence having surmounted many challenges. History inevitably proves to us that preserving the independence is much more difficult than gaining it. Occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan, the inexperience of the leadership in 1991-1993, and chaos made it impossible for the country to overcome this complicated period. Heydar Aliyev’s return to power in June 1993 laid the foundation of the country's economic-political development strategy. The world community has been witnessing the great progress made by Azerbaijan in the political, economic, and social areas over the past 30 years of independence that became a factor of stability and peace in our region, under the wise leadership of National leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev.
In 1994, the “Contract of the Century” was signed opening the Caspian Sea oil reserves to foreign investors. The agreement on the Shah Deniz gas field was signed in 1996. With these contracts, Azerbaijan initiated intercontinental energy projects, such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines that were commissioned in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The Southern Gas Corridor, one of the largest energy projects in the world, successfully implemented and became functional at the end of 2020. In addition to crude oil and natural gas, Azerbaijan recently became an exporter of electricity and today exports power to its neighboring countries. At the same time, the share of the renewables in the total energy capacity of our country is currently 17%. The target is to increase this number to 30% by 2030.
Azerbaijan actively participates in building regional connectivity projects, such as the East-West, North-South and, North-West transportation corridors, thus becoming one of Eurasia's primary and reliable transport and logistics hubs. The Baku International Trade Seaport, with a cargo handling capacity of 15 million tons per year, is already in operation, and capacity can be increased to 25 million tons per year depending on needs. The Zangazur Corridor connecting the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Turkey will create economic advantage not only for Azerbaijan, but also for regional countries.
Azerbaijan has made remarkable progress in areas such as poverty reduction, healthcare, nutrition, female participation in the labor force, clean water and sanitation, energy access, internet usage and protection of threatened species, as well as improving the population’s welfare and the sustainable development of cities and communities.
The path to independence for the people of Azerbaijan has not come without difficulties and sacrifice. Since independence in 1991, Azerbaijan suffered from aggression that had occupied 20% of its territories, the loss of more than 30.000 lives and creating over 1 million refugees and internally displaced people.
As a result of the 44-day Patriotic War from September to November 2020, Azerbaijan not only liberated its lands, which had suffered from up to 30 years of occupation, but also restored historical justice, territorial integrity and, the fundamental rights of up to 1 million Azerbaijanis.
Our president declared all the liberated territories of Azerbaijan as a green energy zone. Large-scale construction work is being carried out in the liberated territories. Using the most advanced and innovative technologies, Azerbaijan is building new cities and towns from scratch by applying modern urban planning and utilizing "smart city" and "smart village" concepts.
In his video presented to the annual general debate of the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly, the president stated that Azerbaijan has created a new reality in the Southern Caucasus region, which has to be taken into account by all. We hope that long-awaited peace, security and stability will prevail in the Southern Caucuses at last. Azerbaijan will continue its consistent efforts to contribute and strengthen regional peace and development.