An Emerging Business, Transportation and Telecommunication Power
Azerbaijan boasts a dynamic and rapidly growing economy. Since independence, over $200 billion has been invested throughout the Azerbaijani economy.
Key to Azerbaijan’s recent economic success has been a fair and transparent legal system that encourages long-term investment. Foreign investors are attracted to Azerbaijan’s respect for contract, trade and the rule of law.
Azerbaijan has made significant strategic investments in infrastructure to improve business conditions. These include major capital expenditures on transportation and telecommunications systems, agricultural modernization, air and seaport improvements, electricity generation, and more.
The government has invested heavily in many key transportation projects including the International Sea Trade Port in Alat, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which establish a crucial link between the European and Asian rail networks and revive the historic Silk Road. Inaugurated in October 31, 2017, the 850-kilometer (500-mile) Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway links Europe to China, helping stimulate economic growth across the region.
President Ilham Aliyev underscored the geostrategic and economic importance of the BTK project, describing it as “the shortest and most reliable link between Europe and Asia” and highlighting that it will increase “trade turnout and mutual investment among the countries along the route.” With initial capacity of 6.5 million tons of cargo and 1 million passengers per year, the new transportation network will facilitate transit, trade and investment among the countries of the region and beyond. The BTK is expected to reduce prices and facilitate shipments while serving as the shortest connection between European and Asian railway systems. The project also allows for the development of more business and infrastructure opportunities along the regional corridor.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway provides opportunities for other Central Asia countries, including Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, by facilitating shipments between Europe and South Asia, and will benefit American companies engaging across the region. Signing of Lapis Lazuli Transport Corridor among Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in November 15, 2017, will connect railways and motorways from the city of Torgundi in the Afghan province of Herat with Ashgabat, then with the port of Turkmenbashi on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Further, the corridor will pass through the Caspian Sea to Baku, then through Tbilisi to Ankara with branches to Poti and Batumi, and further from Ankara to Istanbul. The initiative seeks to improve transport infrastructure and procedures (including for road, rail, and sea), increase exports, and expand the economic opportunities of citizens in countries benefiting from this new transport corridor.
The Azerbaijani Government prioritizes development of the country’s telecommunications industry. Azerbaijan champions the Trans-Eurasia Information Super Highway (TASIM) and the annual BakuTel exhibition has developed into the region’s main information technology event. Having launched its first national telecommunications satellite, a joint endeavor with the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, in 2013, Azerbaijan is currently expanding the national space program. In 2018, Azerbaijan’s aerospace program is gearing up to witness the launch of a second telecommunication satellite dubbed Azerspace-2/Intelsat-38 that was manufactured by California based “Space Systems/Loral” (SSL).