The economy of Azerbaijan has grown more than three times since 2004 due to regional development programs implemented by the leadership of president Ilham Aliyev. In the last 14 years, new production facilities have been opened and about 2 millions jobs were created 1.4 million of which were permanent. There has been no other country who have passed through the path of rapid development as Azerbaijan has from 2004 to 2017. 3100 schools, 642 medical facilities have been built or repaired in the last 14 years. As a result, the unemployment rate in Azerbaijan has dropped to the lowest in the world – just 5%. In comparison, this figure was 49% in 2003. While the poverty rate was over 40% in 2004, it currently stands at just 5.4%. Salaries and pensions have been increased 5 and 8 times in the last 14 years, respectively. Significant measures have been implemented to improve the business environment in the country and over 2 billion manats worth of credit loans have been lent to entrepreneurs. Our available currency reserves are equal to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. The foreign debt makes up less than 20% of the GDP. In short, the state programs on the socio-economic development of regions, implemented since 2003 with the leadership of president Ilham Aliyev, have completely changed the image of our country and lead to the growth of the non-oil sector. The regional development of our country has entered a new era.
Tahir Mirkishili, member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship, thinks economic development of regions will gradually be observed by its increased share in the economic activity. He pointed to the new targets defined by the president Ilham Aliyev at the conference dedicated to the outcomes of the fourth anniversary of the state program on the socio-economic development of regions. MP and economist stated that regional development also ensures the economic sustainability. According to him, currently main objectives of the regional economic policy is to increase economic activity in the regions, attract domestic and foreign investment to the regions, apply modern technology and expand the opportunities for production and export: " The state program on the socio-economic development of the regions has been implemented since 2004. Significant infrastructure and economic achievements have been made in the last 14 years. Electric, gas, road and communication infrastructure have been improved considerably and main issues in this field have been resolved. Regions now meet modern standards in terms of economic activity, attracting foreign investment and infrastructure. Balanced regional development in Azerbaijan has led to inclusive economic development which has in turn led to Azerbaijan ranking in the 3rd place among developing countries in the "Inclusive Economic Development index” published by the World Economic Forum. About 80% of the Presidential Reserve Fund has been allocated for regional development in 2017”.
Another member of the Parliamentary Committee, Aydin Huseynov, characterized the state programs on socio-economic development of regions as a perfect economic strategy which has been thought of by the president and successfully implemented. MP stressed that implementation of the state programs on regional development has ensured the responsible management of the oil revenues, reconstruction of infrastructure and the overall economic development of the country: "Our economy has grown 3.2 times in the last 14 years. These accomplishments are all due to the execution of the state programs. These achievements are based on state programs, which is the brainchild of the president Ilham Aliyev, and also the fact that president has always paid attention to the measures taken and their outcomes. President also made some suggestions for the entrepreneurs at the conference dedicated to the outcomes of the fourth year of the implementation of the state program on socio-economic development of the regions. The state creates all necessary conditions for entrepreneurs and gives them preferential loans. These entrepreneurs who benefit from the state assistance, should understand their social responsibilities and contribute to the development of small businesses”.
MP Bakhtiyar Aliyev noted that all the measures, particularly the development of economy are aimed at raising the social welfare of the citizens. He stated that, as part of these measures, Azerbaijan has provided the refugees and IDPs with special state care and more than 100 settlements have been built for them: "During his speech at the conference, President Ilham Aliyev pointed out the priority areas and noted the rapid economic development in the country, development of the non-oil sector and said the reforms were still being successfully carried out. Furthermore, he talked about the measures which aimed to improve the social conditions of the refugees and IDPs. Fortunately, state has always kept refugees and the IDPs at the center of attention, strengthened their social protection and it will continue to built new settlements and buildings for IDPs. As such, the living conditions of 80-90% of the IDPs will be improved. This is all due to the successful economic policies carried out by Ilham Aliyev. All of these things are done out our own expense and we are not getting any assistance from anyone. All of this shows that president’s policies, including the execution of state programs on regional development, aim to improve the social welfare of the citizens and ensure their safety. This policy is supported by the people as well”.