Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) is the flag carrier of Azerbaijan. Its main base is Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, from which it operates a network of scheduled passenger and cargo services. The airlines is a member of the International Air Transport Association.

City of fountains

Fountain Square in Baku, Azerbaijan, is one of the country's most famous tourist destinations.

Fountain square Fountain at the front of Gouvernment building in Baku Nizami fountain
Fountain in front of the Government House in Baku Nizami Fountain

Tourist attractions

Khudaferin Bridges, Nakhichevan City is a well known attraction of the city. The city has got some very beautiful sites among which this place is definitely one of them i. The different Tourist Attractions in Nakhichevan City will surely make the trip to this place a memorable one for everyone. The Khudaferin Bridges,Nakhichevan City is between villages of Khudaferin and Kumlakh. These bridges connect the the southern and the northern banks of the Araks river. The bridges are outstanding monuments of architecture. They are the samples of hi-tech construction. Many historians believe that these bridges built in between the 12th and the 13th centuries. [read more...]

Khudaferin bridge
Khudaferin bridge

One of the favorite places of the citizens of Baku and its visitors is Primorsky Boulevard which stretches many kilometers along the sea shore. The Boulevard is picturesquely decorated with chestnut trees, plane trees, palm trees. There is an abundance of modern cafes and restaurants, cinemas, fountains on the Boulevard. One can take a cable car from there to Nagorny Park from where the breath-taking panorama of the city lies beneath your feet. [read more...]

Government house in Baku
Government house in Baku

President

Ilham Heydar oglu AliyevIlham Heydar oglu Aliyev (Azerbaijani: İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev, born 24 December 1961) is the fourth and current President of Azerbaijan. He also functions as the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party.

Aliyev was born in Baku as the son of Heydar Aliyev, who was made head of the Azerbaijani KGB when İlham was six and later became the party leader for Azerbaijan and full member of the Politburo, and Dr. Zarifa Aliyeva, a medical doctor and daughter of Soviet politician Aziz Aliyev. After completing school in Baku, İlham attended Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), receiving a Kandidat Nauk degree (PhD equivalent) in history (1985), before starting to teach at MGIMO.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Aliyev worked as a businessman in Moscow and Istanbul from 1991 to 1994.

In May 1994, İlham Aliyev was appointed vice-president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). He participated as one of the key figures during the negotiations between Azerbaijani government and Western oil companies during the conclusion of new contracts now known as Contract of the century. The following year İlham was elected to parliament (Milli Majlis) and later became president of the National Olympic Committee (still incumbent) and head of the Azerbaijan delegation to the Council of Europe. In August 2003, two months prior to the presidential elections, he was appointed prime minister. In October, Heydar Aliyev, suffering failing health, stepped down as president and in a controversial move, appointed his son, an independent candidate, as his party's sole presidential candidate.

Economy

After Azerbaijan restored its state independence in 1991, it started to realize its sovereign rights and conduct independent policy in an economic field. Major directions of this policy were transition to a free economy, being implemented on the basis of different forms of property and market economy. Despite hard initial conditions in the beginning, very big achievements were made in the field of social-economic development of the country and its integration to the world economic system.

As a result of a successful economic policy throughout past years Azerbaijan has minimized the impact of the global economic downturn on its economy and managed to sustain the growth. In 2009 the national economy has retained its dynamism and as of today the GDP growth is recorded at almost 4 %. Since 2003 Azerbaijan has recorded the drop in the poverty rate to 13 percent from 44 percent. The Government of Azerbaijan has substantially improved trade and investment conditions in an effort to strengthen national competitiveness and spur private sector development, especially in the non-oil segment. Non-oil GDP grew at almost 16%, the highest rate in 5 years.

Strategically located Azerbaijan with young, skilled population, ample resources and dynamic economy is inevitably taking a leading role in the region and increasingly becomes a pivotal player and credible actor beyond the region.

The successful implementation of the infrastructure projects such as:

  1. Baku-Supsa,
  2. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan export oil pipelines and
  3. Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline
boosted not only our economy, but also contributed to the development of neighboring states. The modern energy infrastructure coupled with the vast energy resources transformed Azerbaijan into an energy hub of international importance. Azerbaijan has proven itself as a reliable partner and indispensable, secure energy source for Europe and beyond.

Location of Azerbaijan at the crossroads of the East-West and North-South major transport corridors and rapidly developing national transportation infrastructure connected to the regional highway and railroad networks highlights the strategic importance of Azerbaijan. Completion of the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad will increase the role of Azerbaijan as a communication hub linking Europe with Asia.

Azerbaijan also has put forward an initiative to establish a Trans-Eurasian Super Information Highway, which is expected to serve as a major element of the East-West transport corridor and facilitate the supply of 20 regional countries with internet, telecommunication systems, e-information resources and e-economies.

The implementation of above mentioned projects have been realized on the basis of the cooperation with international financial-credit and economic structures. Much has been done in this field over the past time. Azerbaijan became member of almost all the prestigious international structures, as well in 1992 International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islam Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and carries out regular consultations with these organizations on the issues concerning transition to market economy, use their financial resources.

At the same time several important steps are being realized internally to ensure a transparency in the economic sphere. As an example, on December 29, 1999 the Decree 'On Establishment of State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan' was signed. Major goal of the creation of Oil Fund was to ensure fair division of oil wealth among Azerbaijani people. One of main targets of Fund is to collect and increase oil revenues for future generations and to use these revenues for present generations by taking into consideration current social needs of country, economic progress and development requirements.

The first funds from Oil Fund were allocated to funding the measures concerning improvement of social-domestic circumstance of refugees and IDPs that are most sensitive section of Azerbaijani people and live under hardest conditions.

Important works are being implemented in direction of meeting the requirements of economy and population to energy resources. As a bright example of this, 'State Program on development of fuel-energy complex of Azerbaijan (2005-2015)' was prepared by Industry and Energy Ministry and confirmed by Decree 635 of President of Azerbaijan dated February 14, 2004 in order to ensure energy security in the country and meeting the growing demands of energy resources in a more effective manner.

Another good example is received awards from different international organizations. During the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government held on June 26-29, 2007 at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan received the United Nations 2007 Public Service Award. The UN Public Service Award – the Trophy and Certificate for Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Public Service was presented to the State Oil Fund respectively which is a first governmental agency that received the UN Public Service Award among the governmental institutions of the Eastern Europe and CIS countries.

On September 12, 2008 Azerbaijan was included to the list of the World Bank's top 10 countries that simplified their business regulations, according to the annual "Doing Business" report released in 2008 by the World Bank. The report said Azerbaijan undertook reforms in 7 of the 10 areas studied by the report, including making it easier to start a business, contract enforcement and property registration, easing tax administration burdens and employment restrictions, and strengthening investor protections and credit information.

Anti-corruption measures are also very important in the light of fighting with a negative phenomenon in the economy. In May 2009, former Canadian MP, Mr. John Williams (the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption-GOPAC) met with South Caucasus Parliamentarians’ Network against Corruption members in Baku to further discuss the concepts and agenda of GOPAC. This is an international network of parliamentarians dedicated to good governance and combating corruption throughout the world. Anti corruption measures implemented in Azerbaijan was highly appreciated by GOPAC.

Azerbaijan was also one of the first countries to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency initiative (EITI) which is helping to develop a more effective anti corruption agenda. Since the State Oil Fund's operations, especially the results of the EITI have always been a matter of interest of internationally renowned non-governmental organizations.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the subject of “Strengthening Transparency in Industries” that was brought before members to a vote by the Government of Azerbaijan. The resolution, which passed unanimously, gives strong backing to the EITI and emphasizes that transparency and accountability should be embraced and promoted by all its member states. The resolution was co-sponsored by 22 other countries, including Canada.

Azerbaijan also attaches a great importance to the development of Information Technologies sector. The country has a wide network of academic institutions and laboratories specialized in IT. Cybernetic Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan can be a good example to this.

In 2003, the Government of Azerbaijan adopted the National Strategy for the Development of Information Technologies and Communication (ITC) sector, and the creation of information society. The Government has been implementing some other programs – Electronic Azerbaijan, Program on ITC Provision of Secondary and High Schools. The Government simplified many procedures for license acquiring in this field. Many regional ITC centre hubs were established. Rates and tariffs for communication services were reduced for 35-60 %. Some joint state ITC enterprises have been privatized. The government stipulates the establishment of independent entity in charge of ITC regulations.

Positive developments in Azerbaijan’s economy even triggered an enhancement in trade relations with Canada. According to the statistics trade relations between Canada and Azerbaijan increased in 2008. Canada’s total import from Azerbaijan reached 1,168,295 billion dollars in 2008. The same year Canada’s total export to Azerbaijan amounted 19,713 million dollars.

Business relations between Azerbaijan and Canada have also been increased in recent years, but a lot of potential still remains unrealized. The Embassy of Azerbaijan is focused on the promotion of economic relations between our countries and is working to encourage Canadian businessmen to invest in the Azerbaijani Economy.