Azerbaijan, Hungary to sign communications, IT agreement

By Nazrin Gadimova

Azerbaijan and Hungary achieved several agreements as a result of signing a protocol during the two-day Azerbaijani-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, which was held in Baku on January 27-28.

Azerbaijan's Communications and Information Technologies Ministry and Hungary's National Development Ministry are preparing to sign an agreement on cooperation in the field of communications and information technologies.

"Azerbaijan is interested in the Hungarian experience in the development of e-government, cyber security and building data centers," Azerbaijan's Deputy Communications and Information Technologies Minister Elmir Velizade said.

"Hungary may also use services of the Azerspace-1 telecommunications satellite," Velizade said, inviting the Hungarian companies to work in the "High-Tech Park", which is being constructed in Azerbaijan.

Moreover, the sides agreed to jointly develop broadband infrastructure in Azerbaijan, South Caucasus, Central Asia, and to discuss possible connections of Hungary to the Eurasian Connectivity Alliance - EuraCA.

Hungary, in turn, offered cooperation in the construction of the regional DATA-center in Azerbaijan.

"Hungarian experts have extensive experience in this field," Hungarian State Secretary, and the co-chairman of the joint intergovernmental commission, Peter Szijjarto, said. "Azerbaijan can use this experience."

Azerbaijan plans to construct a DATA-center in cooperation with the European Union and/or the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Szijjarto said construction of such DATA-center may require investments in the range of 30-120 million euros.

Also, Hungarian MOL Group is ready to cooperate with Azerbaijani companies in the areas of exploration, development and marketing of hydrocarbons.

The sides agreed to explore the possibilities of expanding cooperation in the framework of the "Southern Gas Corridor", particularly, the Trans Anatolian project (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipeline project, as well as Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI), which implies transportation of liquefied natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe, the protocol reads.

Thus, in accordance with the protocol, it is planned to organize a meeting of the working group of the Commission on Energy in the near future.

During the meeting, Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev, who led Azerbaijani side offered Hungary to create joint venture for the production of pharmaceutical products.

Hungarian pharmaceutical companies, according to Peter Szijjarto, are actively working in the Azerbaijani market - over the past year they have increased exports to Azerbaijan by 15-20 percent.

Referring to the humanitarian spheres of joint cooperation, Szijjarto said Hungary intends to provide scholarships for 200 Azerbaijani students in the next academic year. Moreover, Hungary plans to open a cultural center in Azerbaijan.

Szijjarto also said Hungarian companies, as well as specialists in the field of architecture and engineering are interested in participating in the Baku White City project, as well as other development projects, including in such areas as tourism and hotel business, adding that Hungarian companies are also willing to participate in the construction works for the first European Games in 2015.

Both sides noted the importance of expanding cooperation in the field of construction, including design, installation and reconstruction of architectural monuments, development of transport and urban infrastructure.

Moreover, the sides expressed interest in cooperation in the field of construction of social, medical and educational institutions, as well as using advanced technology industry and production of building materials.

Hungarian Agency for Trade and Investment plans to take part in the specialized exhibition BakuBuild-2014, where it will present companies operating in the country and willing to enter the Azerbaijani market, the protocol says.

The high-level Azerbaijani-Hungarian has paved the way for the development of cooperation in various fields.

Azerbaijan and Hungary have great opportunities for the expansion of economic cooperation, establishment of relations between the players of the securities market, as well as exchange of experience and knowledge in this sector.