President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel have met with businessmen at the Heydar Aliyev Center.
The Azerbaijani President and German Chancellor made speeches at the meeting.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear Mrs. Chancellor, dear guests!
I would like to welcome you to Azerbaijan once again. We have held an extensive exchange of views today. Many issues have been discussed, including cooperation in trade and economic spheres. We are continuing our meetings with the participation of business people. I should note that companies from Germany have been operating in Azerbaijan for many years. They have worked in many fields and implemented various projects. Using public funds alone, German companies have implemented projects worth more than $1 billion, and I am confident that this figure will increase even more in the future.
Companies from Germany are known very well in Azerbaijan. Their quality and technologies are of great benefit to our country. Azerbaijan is experiencing a period of modernization, and economic diversification is our top priority. In general, I can say that the Azerbaijani economy is developing very fast. Over the past 15 years, the Azerbaijani economy has grown more than three times. The macroeconomic situation in our country is stable, the external debt accounts for only 20 per cent of the gross domestic product, while unemployment is at 5 per cent. Over the past 15 years, Azerbaijan has received investment in the amount of $250 billion. The Davos World Economic Forum ranks the Azerbaijani economy in 35th place globally in terms of competitiveness, and this shows that Azerbaijan is successfully pursuing a policy of economic diversification. Of course, we have major oil and gas resources. We are exporting them, but the main goal is to develop the non-oil sector, and companies from Germany can help us in this sphere, of course.
At present, our priorities are to develop agriculture, tourism, the information and communication sector, infrastructure projects, including the modernization of railways, construction and other sectors. I am sure that as a result of the conversations that will take place today, new contracts will be signed and a new format of cooperation will be created.
So let me welcome you to Azerbaijan once again and express my confidence that the final part of your visit will also be successful.