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President says Azerbaijan’s dependence on oil to even reduce in coming years

11 March 2016 16:33 (UTC+04:00)
President says Azerbaijan’s dependence on oil to even reduce in coming years

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Euronews channel following the official opening of the fourth Global Baku Forum.

Question : Mr. President, how important is it for oil and gas producing countries like Azerbaijan to diversify their economies, to change their business models in the current oil prices turmoil?

Answer: Actually, we have been working on diversification of economy for many years. But today, when the oil prices are very low, this becomes our main priority. We managed to reduce dependence on oil and gas, and now oil and gas make only 30 percent of our GDP. But our target is to create a model of development which will not depend on oil prices. And it is happening. We are introducing a broad package of reforms which are supported by the International Monetary Fund. Main concern is the areas of non-oil sector – agriculture, IT development, tourism and other sectors. Therefore, I am sure that in the coming years, dependence on oil in Azerbaijan will reduce even more.

Q.: How concerned are you about the impact of falling oil prices on global security particularly in the Middle East?

A.: We don’t see a direct link between reduction of oil prices and global security. But, definitely, in the long term, if oil prices remain low, it may lead to economic and social problems because some countries are used to have a lot of revenues from oil sales that have already reduced. There could be cuts in budgets. Therefore, that could happen. But the main objective of every oil producing country, I think, is to reduce dependence on oil, to invest in innovation, education, modern technologies and to export different projects rather than oil and gas. If it happens, then, I think, security in the region will be provided at the high level.

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