AZƏRBAYCANDA KORONAVIRUSLA BAĞLI XƏBƏRLƏR

Transformation to e-business

Transformation to e-business

Economy
15 July 2020, 15:56 95
Experts believe that in 2021, significant progress will be made in the development of e-commerce in Azerbaijan
 

"Azerbaijan aims to expand e-business in 2021,” said Arzu Huseynova, the acting director of the Research Institute of Economic Reforms under the Azerbaijani Economy Ministry. According to her, the main priority of Azerbaijan's socio-economic policy in 2021 will be the recovery of the country's economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. "As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is already causing changes in various sectors of the economy, we expect the role of information and communication technologies in the economy to increase in 2021," Huseynova noted.
According to the expert, the priorities of Azerbaijan's socio-economic development are reflected in both relevant state programs and strategic roadmaps. According to her, the development of this direction will continue in 2021. Touching upon the training of qualified personnel, the acting director stressed that great work is being done in the country from time to time to train specialists. Interestingly, what steps should be taken to achieve this goal, what will the expansion of e-business give us, what are the positive and negative consequences?
According to economist Parviz Heydarov, the pandemic accelerated the steps to be taken in this direction. "In general, in recent years, the tradition of using information technology in various sectors of the economy began some time ago. The pandemic simply showed that it is important to resolve this issue as soon as possible, not only for Azerbaijan but for the entire world economy. Even if we look at the statistics on the use of electronic means during the pandemic, in April, May, and June, we can see the extent to which non-cash payments have expanded. But e-business is not just about cashless payments. This includes expanding the use of electronic tools in all areas of the economy. As I mentioned earlier, there was such a strategy because this issue was considered even before the pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus simply made it necessary to take the necessary steps in this direction as soon as possible. I think that in 2021 we really will make significant progress in the development of e-business in the socio-economic policy of Azerbaijan,” he said.
Economist Turab Rzayev said it is gratifying to have an economic and social plan for the post-pandemic period. "Because we used to have gaps in the economy related to medium or long-term planning. Of course, the transition to e-commerce is an important step. But this is not an easy task. There must be a suitable foundation for this. First of all, it is necessary to find an answer to the question, to which areas of business will digitalization be applied? Because in countries with developed e-economy, they have a technological scientific foundation for this. New technological means are used through this foundation. The second issue is whether the economy itself is ready for this application. That is, there should be a need for the use of new electronic means in the economy. Frankly, I do not think our economy is fully prepared for this transition. That is, the introduction of electronic tools in business can be a successful start, but it is too early to fully use,” he said. 
"Currently, there is interest in artificial intelligence in the world," said the economist, noting that we can also select and develop areas where artificial intelligence can be applied. "It is possible to create a hub for neighboring countries, which will produce tools that will work with artificial intelligence. Another step is to create a regional internet hub. As in Estonia, one of the CIS countries, this experience already exists. A hub where new technological programs will be developed, technological innovations will be applied, and there will be business incubators. To do all this, we need a technological base. In the current situation, we can only stimulate the transition to e-commerce. On the other hand, due to the current situation, many service areas are already electronic. We just need to create a base to expand it a little bit,” he noted.
Rzayev also spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of digitalization. "The advantage of the e-economy is that it reduces costs. That is, when business owners switch to e-services, they do not pay for office space and utilities, which in any case results in lower expenses. It is also beneficial for consumers. The consumer orders what he wants without going to the store and saves time. If we look at the world experience, we see that many popular outlets do not have a real store, they only provide services via the Internet. I think it will expand in Azerbaijan at the next stage. The e-business also serves to eliminate the shadow economy. The expansion of non-cash payments is one of the ways to get out of the shadow economy. However, the opposite effect of the e-economy may be the reduction of jobs. Because online stores will not need salespeople and other employees,” he added.
Osman Gunduz, president of the Azerbaijan Internet Forum, said that the pandemic has significantly stimulated digitalization in the world, the digital environment has become much more active during this period. "Online shopping has also become more popular recently. Until now, the vast majority of people ordered products from foreign countries, especially Turkey. The volume of purchases from Turkey was already measured in millions of dollars, and in this regard, there were about 50 cargo companies in Azerbaijan. However, domestic e-commerce, e-shops in the country, and online shopping were underdeveloped. Domestic online commerce also flourished during the pandemic. Several new companies have already emerged in the country for online shopping and delivery. There is a dynamic in this direction, and I think that development in this area will continue,” he said.
 
Gunel Azade