KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Azerbaijan has urged Malaysian companies to participate and invest in the country, including in the liberated territories, especially in renewable energy, information technology, food processing, infrastructure development and tourism.

Azerbaijan’s Ambassador-designate to Malaysia Irfan Davudov, in an interview with Bernama, said that Malaysian companies could invest in areas such as solar power industry, hydropower project, construction of bridges and buildings, development of light industries, textile, agriculture, and chemical industries.

He said the Azerbaijani government is currently undertaking restoration and reconstruction in the territories liberated during its 44-day war with neighbouring Armenia – and as such, there is greater opportunity to participate in these projects.

“These liberated territories have been declared as zones of green economy and green energy by Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan. It means that all projects to be carried out in these areas will be following policy of ‘green technology’. The President of Azerbaijan has made it clear that this policy aims at integrating water, solar and wind energy resources of liberated territories to provide sustainable development,”  Davudov stressed.

The war, also known as the Second Karabakh War, erupted on Sept 27, 2020, and ended through an agreement on Nov 10, brokered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

“While contributing to our economy, Malaysian companies can make good profit. We highly appreciate our brotherly relations with Malaysia,” Davudov further said.

Davudov explained that the government has established new economic zones in the liberated territories – the Karabakh and East Zangezur economic zones.

Besides that, a new free economic zone – Alat Free Economic Zone (AFEZ) on the Caspian coast of Azerbaijan, with many benefits such as attractive tax regime – is underway.

It was stated on the website of AFEZ that the economic zone was being planned and developed to play a central role in transforming this vision of Azerbaijan as a diversified, export-oriented and knowledge-based economy into reality.

AFEZ is being established next to Alat Port to intensify local and foreign investment in the country’s non-oil sector.

AFEZ will use this strategic geographic location to provide a regional investment hub and boost competitiveness in the Europe-Caucasus-Asia and North-South transport corridors. Azerbaijan borders Russia, Georgia, Iran, Turkey and Armenia as well as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan over the Caspian Sea.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economy, on its website, pointed out that in order to attract investment, the government is implementing an “open door” policy.

At present, the Government of Azerbaijan is taking measures to continue economic reforms in the country, further improve the business environment, and develop the non-oil sector.

The Ministry of Economy outlined that among the main trends of private investment policy is the orientation of direct foreign investments, along with domestic investments, to export-oriented areas and with high special weight of added value.

Davudov explained that Azerbaijan, which is an oil and gas exporting country, is also actively developing its non-oil sector to diversify its economy and Azerbaijan is keen to learn about Malaysia’s experiences and success in developing its non-oil sector.

The ambassador said that his country is also interested to cooperate with Malaysia in the area of education.

Davudov, who has already visited Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), said Malaysia has reputable public universities. He attributed quality education as one of the factors behind Malaysia’s success story in this region.

“We can explore ways for cooperation… such as exchange of students and lecturers and joint research programmes like in the area of scientific research,” he said, adding that UiTM could explore the possibility of opening a branch campus in Azerbaijan.

He said that beginning next year, Azerbaijan will send post-graduate students to well known foreign universities – and world-ranking Malaysian universities could have a chance on the list.

He said another possible cooperation he is looking into is between the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) and the Azerbaijan Institute of Theology (AIT) which was established under the State Committee on Religious Associations.

Among others, AIT’s mission is to ensure the needs of Azerbaijani people in the field of religious education based on international standards and to conduct and publish researches in the field of theology complying with international standards.

Davudov also suggested that cooperation be established in the area of culture and arts. He pointed out that Azerbaijan has many musuems such as Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, Baku Museum of Miniature Books, Independence Museum of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.

“We can have joint research in ethnography and also exhibition exchange at our respective museums,” he said.

“Our political relations are at a high level… we must do our best to enhance the level of cooperation in the field of economy, culture and people-to-people relations,” he said.


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