Davos Forum: Azerbaijan`s active participation and meetings held

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Baku, 29 January 2019 –

World Economic Forum, which gathers numerous delegates from many countries in Davos, has always enjoyed great interest. The 49th Forum was attended by more than 3,000 representatives from 110 countries.This year`s forum was held under the slogan ''4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution''. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev participated in the event where he received a great deal of interest. Company executives, heads of state and government met with Ilham Aliyev to discuss the issues of mutual interest. There has been great interest in discussions held as part of the Forum. In this context, geopolitical analysis of President Ilham Aliyev`s meetings in Davos holds particular importance.

49th Forum: Azerbaijan in light of globally-important issues

Founded by Swiss professor Klaus Schwab in 1971, World Economic Forum in Davos is one of the most influential international events. This year marked the 49th edition of the Forum. The President of Azerbaijan has been regularly attending the Forum since 2007. There are certain reasons behind this. Azerbaijan is making new achievements in socio-economic, energy, transport and other areas every year, which increases the world community`s interest in the country. Undoubtedly, other heads of state and dignitaries increasingly want to hold discussions and build cooperation with President IlhamAliyev as the architect of those successes. If we look at CIS member states` participating rate in the Davos Forum, we`ll see that Azerbaijan is the leader as no other country managed to be so active and make such great strides within the Forum.

And the 49th edition was no exception. President Ilham Aliyev`s participation in the event grabbed the spotlight. The Forum saw discussions on global issues. On the sidelines of the event, the President of Azerbaijan held meetings with heads of state and governments and executives of international companies. Ilham Aliyev gave interviews to Russian Rossiya 1 and Chinese CGTN television channels. The Azerbaijani President also attended the Forum`s ''Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China`s Trillion Dollar Vision'' session.

And it`s not a coincidence that the head of state`s agenda in Davos was rich. Event participants showed great interest in the Presidentbecause Azerbaijan is achieving success on a continuous basis and actively participating in international events and platforms, including Beijing`s ''One Belt, One Road'' initiative.

It`s not a coincidence that President Ilham Aliyev was one of the heads of state who held the largest number of meetings and discussions and received the largest number of cooperation proposals. Ilham Aliyev`s meetings with President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, Chief Executive Officer for the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, President of Visa Ryan McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of BP Robert Dudley, President of Russian LUKOIL Vahid Alakbarov, Chief Executive Officer of French Total Patrick Pouyanne grabbed the spotlight and featured several cooperation proposals.

In addition, the head of state`s meetings with Chief Executive Officer of Equinor (former Statoil) Eldar Saetre, Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Freres Matthieu Pigasse, Chief Executive Officer of The Boston Consulting Group Rich Lesser, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at CISCO Gerri Elliott, Microsoft Vice President, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa Michel van der Bel and President of Europe Selling & Market Operations at Procter & Gamble Loic Tassel and others discussed a wide range of issues of mutual benefit.

Serious preparations are held for such meetings and they always grab the spotlight. The list of dignitaries with whom President Ilham Aliyev met in Davos shows that they head companies from the fields which represent vital importance to society. It demonstrates that Azerbaijan enjoysgreat influence and confidence within the Davos Forum on the one hand, and is indicative of great trust in President Ilham Aliyev. It also confirms that reforms carried out in Azerbaijan cover a wide range of areas, which encourages the world`s leading companies to seek cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Against this background, Armenia has now found itself in helpless situation. Official Yerevan is doing its utmost to attract investment to the country. They admit that among the South Caucasus countries Armenia received less foreign investment in 2018, which made only $100 million. It`s a ridiculous figure. In fact, Pashinyan did not have any serious business meetings in Davos. The reason is that no one regards Armenia an independent state or a reliable partner.

President`s intense activity: new cooperation opportunities

The President of Azerbaijan, meanwhile, held important and wide-ranging discussions that covered transit potential and implementation of globally important projects in different areas of economy, particularly energy sector. The head of state pointed out good prospects for cooperation in agriculture, transport, infrastructure and other fields. President Ilham Aliyev highlighted the essence and main goals of economic reforms being carried out in Azerbaijan, singling out information and communication technologies as one of the key priorities.

Company executives, for their part, hailed the Azerbaijani President`s programs aimed at improving governance system and affirmed their support for Azerbaijan`s reforms, favorable business environment and rapid development.

They naturally well realize the true essence of the ongoing reforms in Azerbaijan. It was confirmed at ''Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China`s Trillion Dollar Vision'' session in Davos. In response to a question about the creation of the modern infrastructure during the Q&A session, President Ilham Aliyev said: "Creating a modern infrastructure is one of the main goals of our government. I believe that we did the right thing by taking advantage of our geographical location and investing mainly in infrastructure, i.e. our domestic infrastructure and the infrastructure that will allow Azerbaijan the opportunity to turn into one of the international hubs.'' (see: President Ilham Aliyev attended ''Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China`s Trillion Dollar Vision'' session in Davos / AZERTAC, January 22, 2019).

What the head of state pointed out brilliantly illustrates the rapid development of Azerbaijan`s statehood. Against this background, Ilham Aliyev`s meetings with President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin, Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan drew experts` interest. These meetings discussed different issues, but in all cases the President focused on the matters of great importance to Azerbaijan.

All these factors confirm that the Azerbaijani President`s visit to Davos was very fruitful and successful as it featured discussion of global affairs and issues of huge importance to Azerbaijan as well as productive meetings with foreign heads of states. In this context, the results of the forum will give a significant impetus to Azerbaijan`s independent state building process. In general, Azerbaijan`s international image will improve, opening new horizons for the country to develop its international cooperation and increase the investment flow. This will guarantee Azerbaijan`s successful participation in the next Davos Forums among other issues.

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