The 19th Azerbaijan International Exhibition of Telecommunications and Information Technologies BakuTel-2013 opened at the Baku exhibition center on 2 December, 1news.az reports.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev familiarized with the exhibition.
At the exhibition, the head of state gave an interview to Euronews correspondent.
I know that you are paying special attention to the IT sector. Could you, please, speak about it in detail?
Yes, this is one of the main directions for the economic development of Azerbaijan. This sector has a great perspective. This is a sector which generates ideas promotes the development of the overall level of education in our country, help us adjust to the leading international scientific innovations and also the IT sector is a priority for economic development, especially the nonoil economic sector of Azerbaijan.
It is no accident that this year is declared the Year of Information and Communication Technologies. This was mainly due to the fact that the first Azerbaijani artificial satellite has been launched this year. Thus, we have already become a country of space industry and this satellite has been fully transferred to the control of Azerbaijani specialists and we hope to continue this program: the second and the third satellites will be launched in the years to come.
The full coverage of our country with information technologies will also help provide modern services to the population. You probably know that we have applied the system of ASAN public services which is a brand of Azerbaijan. Information and communication technologies are developing in the regions. We are now working over bringing broadband internet to every village of Azerbaijan and the state will finance this project. Thus, BakuTel is doing much in this direction, it is raising the number of participants and new innovations every year. That is we want to be a center of not only oil and gas operations, of not only humanitarian cooperation but also modern technologies in our region.
Please, let me ask a question about ASAN services. You have mentioned that it is important for people to have such an access to the structures of power…
This is very important, you see, this helps us fight corruption, helps us root out bureaucracy, helps people to get direct access to the services that they need. But unfortunately, this does not always work. Therefore, ASAN carries several functions. First is the provision of modern services. Second is fighting corruption, is transparency, is training of staff. Hundreds of volunteers, mainly young people are working within ASAN system, coming and working and helping people for free. This is a new form of relations between the state and citizens, between the state officials and state institutions. Though this system has been functioning for less than a year, over 500,000 people have appealed to ASAN and there have been no complaints, everyone is satisfied. This really has become a brand of modern Azerbaijan. Because we are modernizing the country. Economy, political system are in process of modernization. In this case, we must modernize all spheres of our society and create such conditions for people to be satisfied and not to waste days or weeks for getting a reference that they can now get within a few minutes.
This exhibition is probably a special reflection of the path that you have mentioned-the year of IT-2013. What do you think about this exhibition? It is not the first time that you are attending BakuTel. Has it changed, become larger?
I attend BakuTel every year. This exhibition is certainly expanding. It is involving more participants every year. And it is encouraging that the number of local companies is growing too. This means that this business is growing. The number of foreign companies is growing too. This means that the attention of leading IT companies to Azerbaijan is also growing. When we started, we set the task to make it as influential as the traditional oil exhibition which factually helped us to develop our oil and gas fields. Because, when we were launched oil and gas projects, few people knew about Azerbaijan. BakuTel has the same function. That is, we will be known in the world not only as a country rich in oil resources but also as a country with the high level of scientific potential and the country which applies information and communication technologies.
Certainly, it would be naive today that Azerbaijan will be a trendsetter in this sphere. I have repeatedly stated that we must be a step behind the trendsetters and apply the most advanced technologies in our economy. The state is a guarantor of these processes. Therefore, the state ensures the bigger part of funding. Private sector is going next or on par with the state and uses the same opportunities that we are creating. We are moving forward at a high pace. We are building a modern state and no state is able to develop normally today without modern technologies.
Could you please say a few words about TASIM? About its importance for the region, for Azerbaijan. Because it is a global project.
Yes, we are taking part in most global projects including communication, energy and transport ones. Our geographical position is so that this is a natural crossroad between the North and the South, the East and the West. But this geography has no sense without infrastructure. That is only when you fill it with definite infrastructure, it has a sense, Energy corridors that we have initiated, today are attracting the attention of Europe and other continents. The transport projects that we are implementing to connect the railroads between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey will have an intercontinental significance. This road is the restoration of the Silk Road from China to London. The same can be said about communications. Those communications that we built in Azerbaijan with respect to e-services also promote the convergence between peoples, countries, give dividends to Azerbaijan for many years ahead. And the TASIM project is of the same sphere. That is, this all fits the overall concept of country development with the use of the potential that we have-geography, natural, human potential and certainly in active collaboration with the leading foreign partners that help us in achieving our goals.
Thank you very much, dear President!