By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan strongly supports Afghanistan on its path towards reaching stability. Azerbaijan supports the Afghan way of reforms by its assistance in the areas of education, infrastructure and transport development, investments and enhancing the role of women in the society.
The first meeting of the Azerbaijani-Afghan Economic Cooperation working group was held in Baku on July 16.
Speaking at the meeting, Sahib Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Economy stated that trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan went up by 37 percent in 2018.
He noted that from January to May 2019, this figure showed an increase by 15 percent compared to the same period of 2018.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Afghanistan reached $71.5 million in 2018.
Mammadov said that there are more than 15 documents signed between countries within the trade and economic sphere and a working group on economic cooperation has been created. He added that the countries have quite a large potential for cooperation in the field of transport, logistics, transit of freight, etc.
Sahib Mammadov also emphasized the importance of the Lapis-Lazuli transit route for more intensive interaction in the field of transportation. He noted that 11 Afghan companies are currently working in Azerbaijan.
Afghanistan sees the potential in establishing Azerbaijani-Afghan joint ventures and is counting on investments from Azerbaijan
Then, addressing the meeting, Mohammad Humayun Qayumi, finance minister and adviser to the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, said that Afghanistan sees the potential in establishing Azerbaijani-Afghan joint ventures and is counting on investments from Azerbaijan.
He noted that Afghanistan makes efforts to create good conditions for foreign investors, and invites Azerbaijani entrepreneurs to invest in the country's economy.
Qayumi noted that the countries can establish cooperation in various fields, there are opportunities in expanding cooperation between private sectors. In addition he said the potential of trade is underused, it is necessary to expand trade between Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
Following the first meeting of joint working groups, Sahib Mammadov and Mohammad Humayun Qayumi signed a protocol on cooperation between the two countries.
Afterwards, Sahib Mammadov told journalists that today, the volume of investments made by Afghanistan in the economy of Azerbaijan amounted to $1.5 million.
Noting that sufficient potential for further cooperation, Mammadov noted the practical experience of Azerbaijan under the “Asan Service” brand is being introduced in Afghanistan.
“Asan Service“ is a state agency for public services to citizens of Azerbaijan. They are designed to form up a new approach towards ensuring the citizens’ satisfaction in functioning of the state servants in relation to the population and to enrich the quality of relations between state servants and citizens.
The functioning of the centres is based on the principles of operativeness, transparency, ethical behavior, responsibility and comfort.
“We believe that a number of opportunities should be used in terms of sharing experience, while the work at the level of working groups is underway in this direction,” Mammadov said.
In addition, Azerbaijan plans to attract Afghan partners to cooperate and all conditions are created, as an example, technology parks, industrial production.
All these opportunities aimed at improving the economic component, trade relations with potential partners, are the result of radical reforms that continue in our country to this day, he concluded.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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