Development of Non-oil Sector in Azerbaijan Main Priorities

Neft Daslari known as Oil Rocks, is a city above the oldest oil refinery in the world. (azerbaijannews)

By Asadov Fuad Ismail

Although the role of the oil sector in the rapid development of the Azerbaijani economy over the past 8 years has been leading, in recent years the non-oil sector has been leading the overall economic growth.

According to official and macroeconomic indicators, the country’s non-oil sector has grown more than 2.2 times in the last decade. The strategy of spending oil revenues to diversify the economy has paid off.

Like any country in transition, Azerbaijan has used its natural resources to build a strong economy, but has been able to successfully diversify its economy and minimize its dependence on oil through revenues from these resources.
As a result of this strategy , there is a steady growth trend in the contruction, tourism, agriculture, transportation and ICT sectors of the country.

As one of the indicators of this trend, more than one million jobs have been created in the country during the past eight years, mostly in the non-oil sector.

Agriculture, tourism, communication technology and processing industry are among the main priorities for the development of the non-traditional sector in Azerbaijan.

International financial institutions emphasize the importance of agriculture and tourism among these sectors. Thus, about 44 percent of the country’s working population is employed in agriculture.

For this reason, the country is implementing a series of state programs aimed at agricultural development, reforms and the involvement of a new technologies.

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The World Bank believes that improving infrastructure in the regions, supporting agricultural producers and preserving tac benefits for them, contribute to the development of agriculture in

Azerbaijan, which has great potential.
According to the bank, the full use of the country’s tourism potential will lead to an uncertain growth of GDP. Thus, the rich tourism potential of Azerbaijan and the rapid development of the country’s tourism infrastructure in recent years will greatly benefit th country in this area of non-oil sector.

At present, non-oil products produced in Azerbaijan, including machinery, electrical equipment and their parts, chemicals, building materials, finished textiles, etc., are exported to various regions. Billions of dollars have been allocated to support small and medium businesses, provide government loans to those engage in these activites, support agriculture, diversify the economy, and promote non-oil development.

Soon, these cost began to pay off, which led to a significant recovery in the non-oil sector of the economy. In order to implement the envisaged measures to diversify the economy, the President signed the relevant resolutions and decrees on the socio-economic development program of the economic regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the state program on poverty reduction and sustainable development in the Republic of Azerbaijan for the period 2015 – 2019.

The state program on reliable food supply for the population of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other programs were adopted. These programs are implemented successfully.
In recent years, international rating agencies have looked at the sustainable development trend of Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector as a basis for improving the country’s rating.

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In August 2022, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the independent rating of Azerbaijan to Ba1.

At the same time, the growth of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan has been cited as one of the factors contributing to the increase in ratings. The agency notes that the government is actively supporting the private sector through the National Entrepeneurship Support Fund.

In 2021, the fund provided $169 million in soft loans to more than 1900 projects. Also in January 2022, another influential international rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, affirmed Azerbaijan’s long-term sovereign credit rating in foreign and domestic currency at BB+, giving Azerbaijan an investment rating.
At the same time, sustainable development in the non-oil sector was taken into account as one of the main factors.

Also,as a result of the strategy aimed at diversifying the economy and developing the non-food sector. Azerbaijan ranked 55th in the Davos Economic Competitiveness Forum and 1st place in the CIS.

Thus, Azerbaijan is successfully using its rich oil and gas resources for long-term and sustainable economic development. It holds the strategy of converting black gold into human capital, which is the main force for the development of the non-oil sector.

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In 2017-2022,”Program for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in the Republic of Azerbaijan’’, Circular of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Additional Measures for the Development of Rural Development of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Azerbaijan’’, ‘’Tobacco and Tobacco Products Law’’ of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan,’’Beekeeping’’ include the law of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other normative laws.

The establishment of the “Made in Azerbaijan ‘’ brand played an important role in the development of the country’s non-oil sector. The circular issued by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev,’’ On Additional Measures to Strengthen the Export of Non-Oil Products’’ contributed to the development and further strengthening of the non-oil sector.

“Circular of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Additional Measures to Promote the Export of Non-Petroleum Products’’ of January 18, 2016 and documents appear that a new stage has entered into the development of the foreign sector.

All these measures and laws that were passed had a positive impact on the country’s economy and reduced its dependence on the oild sector. As a clear evidence, we can say that the Republic of Azerbaijan has advanced in the Global Competitiveness Index of the famous World Economic Forum, and Azerbaijan ranks 35th in this indicator. (AK/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)