President Aliyev: Italian companies should be in forefront in projects that are being implemented and will be implemented in Azerbaijan by state

  24 February 2020    Read: 911
President Aliyev: Italian companies should be in forefront in projects that are being implemented and will be implemented in Azerbaijan by state

Italian companies should be in the forefront in projects that are being implemented and will be implemented in Azerbaijan by the state, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said.

President Aliyev made the remark at the Azerbaijan-Italy business forum in Rome, Trend reports.

“I believe that Italy has unique experience in the field of tourism,” the president added. “In terms of the number of tourists, I think Italy ranks first or second in the world. This area is also developing in Azerbaijan. Last year, the number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan increased by almost 20 percent.”

“I am glad that over the past three years the number of tourists coming from Italy to Azerbaijan has increased by about 40 percent,” President Aliyev said. “This has a very positive effect on communication between people. I want to emphasize the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy in the field of culture. It has been already eight years since a monument to brilliant Azerbaijani poet Nizami was erected in the Villa Borghese park.”

“Appropriate steps have been taken related to the activities of the Culture Center of Azerbaijan in Rome,” the president said. “A beautiful building was constructed in the city center. I am sure that the Culture Center of Azerbaijan will start functioning in Rome in the near future.”

“We are open to cooperation in all other sectors,” President Aliyev added. “As for Azerbaijan’s plans for the future, infrastructure projects will be a priority, and we invite Italian companies. I am sure that within the framework of the business forum, a presentation will be made regarding the work to be done in Azerbaijan, and Italian companies will be informed.”

“In particular, issues on the current agenda include drinking water projects, land reclamation measures and improving the environmental situation on the Absheron Peninsula,” the president said. “Due to oil production, there is a great need for improving the environmental situation on the Absheron Peninsula, where Baku is located.”

“The Azerbaijani state allocates large funds for this purpose,” the president said. “As far as I know, Italian companies are not active in this area yet. It is possible to say that this area is covered by other European companies. Therefore, I am inviting Italian companies to this area. I am sure that members of the Azerbaijani government will provide the necessary information on this issue.”

“I am sure that the signed memorandum in the field of electric energy will be implemented,” President Aliyev said. “Once again, I would like to cite the report of the Davos World Economic Forum. It indicates that Azerbaijan ranks second in the world in terms of access to electricity. All our residential settlements are provided with electricity.”

“We export electricity,” the president added. “In January this year, relevant documents on the construction of wind and solar power plants with a capacity of 440 megawatts were signed with two large companies. We are inviting Italian companies to this area.”

“We have huge potential associated with renewable energy,” President Aliyev said. “In Azerbaijan, as in Italy, there are a lot of sunny days, but unlike Italy, there are also many windy days. Sometimes this creates problems. But I believe that this is a favorable factor for the production of renewable energy. Therefore, we invite Italian companies to this area.”

“As for the overall economic development of Azerbaijan, the economic situation in our country is very stable,” President Aliyev said. “Our external public debt is at a very low level, accounting for only 17 percent of the gross domestic product. According to the strategy I have approved, it should be reduced to 10 percent within a few years.”

“Our foreign exchange reserves are six times higher than the external public debt,” the president said. “Therefore, we can repay the external debt at any time. So this allows us the opportunity to attract funds for important projects from international financial markets as well, even though the report of the International Finance Corporation, IFC, describes Azerbaijan already as a donor country, and these opportunities will grow in the future.”

“I should also note that Azerbaijan makes large investments and implements large projects outside the country,” President Aliyev said. “So far, investment worth about $17 billion has been made outside our country. Italian companies also participate in these projects. We talked about this yesterday. We are inviting Italian companies to participate in projects that will be implemented in foreign countries with financial support from Azerbaijan in the future.”

“In general, over the past 16 years, the economy of Azerbaijan has grown 3.4 times,” the president added. “This is a record high on a global scale. At the same time, the revenues received are distributed fairly. An important factor to talk about this is that 16 years ago, almost 50 percent of the population of Azerbaijan lived in poverty.”

“Today, poverty rate is at 4.8 percent,” President Aliyev said. “In a word, there are no serious economic problems facing the country. The main issue is improving the business climate, and reforms have also been carried out in this area. This will probably be discussed today. I want to note that the Doing Business report of the World Bank ranks Azerbaijan among 20 most reforming countries in terms of the measures taken in the field of improving the business environment.”

“I don’t want to take too much of your time,” the president said. “I know that the agenda of the business forum is very extensive and all questions of interest to Italian companies will be answered. Concluding my speech, I want to note the following. I have already given relevant instructions to members of the government in connection with the fact that Azerbaijan and Italy, as strategic partners, opened a new page in the history of our ties yesterday.”

“Italy for us is the main partner country in Europe, and I am absolutely convinced that the same partnership should be in the field of business,” President Aliyev said. “Italian companies should be in the forefront in projects that are being implemented and will be implemented in Azerbaijan by the state. This is our desire. I am sure that the interests of Italian companies coincide with ours. I believe that the business forum will be an important step in this direction.”

“Let me once again express my deep appreciation to President Mattarella, Prime Minister Conte and Minister Di Maio for their hospitality,” the president said. “I wish the Italian people continued prosperity and happiness. Thank you!”

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