On July 30, the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) held a breakfast briefing titled “Azerbaijan’s Technology Industry-Building a Knowledge Economy” at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center. The event, sponsored and hosted by Microsoft, started with the opening remarks of Dorothy Dwoskin, Senior Director for Global Trade Policy and Strategy at Microsoft, who welcomed the participants and passed the stage to Susan Sadigova, Executive Director of USACC.
Greeting the participants, Sadigova briefed the audience about the recent developments and vast potential in Azerbaijan’s ICT field by focusing on “Azerbaijan 2020 – Vision of the Future” development concept, government incentives, investment opportunities, funding, satellite industry, High-Tech Park, TASIM, and other projects. Then, she introduced and engaged the distinguished panel of speakers on a live video feed from Baku.
The keynote speaker of the video conference briefing, Elmir Valizadeh, Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan briefed the audience about the new goals and objectives the ministry aims to achieve, among which are the development of micro-, nano-, bio-, space and nuclear technologies, the introduction of high technology and transition to a fully operational information society.
He, then, introduced Seymur Aghayev, CEO of High-Tech Park Azerbaijan whotalked about the steps to be taken to ensure the transition into a knowledge-based economy. According to Mr. Aghayev, High-Tech Park is one of the three pillars of so-called “Golden Triangle” which will be built in Pirallahi island on 50ha area and will house high-tech companies, R&D centers, clean production facilities and provide further incentives.
Aghayev was followed by Azer Bayramov, Deputy Executive Director of Azerbaijan State Fund for Development of ICT, who touched upon the main objectives of the Fund, such as the development and financial support of entrepreneurship, and attraction of local and foreign investments into the field. He elaborated on the financial instruments of the Fund for financing projects and the types of loans and grants available for entrepreneurs operating in ICT sector.
Sevda Abdullayeva, Director of the Center for High Technology Research and Development, spoke about the High Tech Center which was established by the Azerbaijani government in 2009 for research and development purposes. She stated that development of bio- and nano-technology are of highest priorities for the ministry and the government of the country as a whole.
The next panelist, Ruslan Aliyev, Deputy Head of Sales and Marketing at Azercosmos, stressed the importance of launching the first Azerbaijani satellite, Azerspace-1 that covers Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa, and provides broadcasting, internet access, data transmission, VSAT multiservice networks and communications. He especially highlighted the close cooperation with American institutions in the duration of the entire project.
The panel was ended with the presentation of Zaur Hasanov, Director of Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) who spoke about the concept and foundation of TASIM project and its mission to improve regional and global connectivity, route diversification and improved disaster resiliency, bridging digital divide and contribution to MDGs. He reiterated the significance of this strategically important project for the immediate region as well as the participating countries, stating that American companies are welcome to explore the potential and take part in the project in various capacities.
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