The development of information and communication technologies will define and facilitate our successful future. The sphere of information and communication technologies is a field of knowledge, intellect and, at the same time, business. 2013 was declared a year of ICT in Azerbaijan. Undoubtedly, it means new projects and opportunities for businesses in this sector. Telecommunications sector is one of the main economic areas. It is the fastest growing non-oil sector in terms of increasing revenues. In 2013 ICT income accounted for above 2 bln USD increasing 2 times within 5 years. The number of consumers is growing rapidly with expansion of services to all the parts of the country. By 2013, ICT services increased 5.6 times compared to 2003. The average salary in the sector also increased 5 times and now is equal to 620.7 AZN. Only in 2013, the volume of e-trade grew by 50 %, and access to Internet- by 35 %. Today the number of personal computers per 100 inhabitants makes up 20 and the number of mobile phones reached 110 per 100 inhabitants being above the world average figure. Internet users constitute more than 70 % of the population of Azerbaijan making it the CIS leader in internet coverage.

Azerbaijani telecommunications is the second largest recipient of foreign investments after the oil industry. The fact that the total volume of investments in ICT was more than 1 billion USD in past 3 years proves high investment attractiveness of this sector. The largest FDI stock is in the mobile telephony, followed by a number of enterprises with the foreign capital in land lines operating companies, internet providers and cable TV companies. Foreign capital inflow into the telecommunications industry has evolved primarily in the form of joint ventures with the entities subordinate to the Ministry of Communications, which acts both as the ultimate partner and supervising authority. Such joint ventures are engaged in the production of telecommunications equipment and the operation of telecommunications facilities. However, under the Presidential decree the government announced its intention to privatize the state-owned share of joint ventures in which the Ministry of Communications and its subordinate enterprises and institutions have participated. Certainly, continuing privatization of the state shares in the telecom and IT enterprises is one of the major steps taken for the development of the sector. Today the share of private companies in the ICT income structure accounts for almost 25% and this figure is continuously increasing thanks to the government’s policy on supporting entrepreneurs.

All the achievements in ICT are highly appreciated by various international institutions. Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in CIS and ranks 56th in the world according to the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2013. Azerbaijan is the first among CIS states on share of internet users as per WEF Report. While many CIS countries still apply the 2nd generation technologies, Azerbaijan has finalized the introduction of the 3rd generation technologies and now aims at stepping into the 4th.  Today, innovative nanomaterials, electronic gadgets, voice-operated computers completely in Azerbaijani language, program maintenance etc. are produced in this country. The income obtained in the sector is projected to hit $ 9 billion by 2020. 

 

                    Income obtained in the ICT sector, 2007-2013


Year

Income, million USD

Growth (%)

2007

916.7

27.00

2008

1226

33.7

2009

1407.5

14.8

2010

1537.6

9.2

2011

1664.4

8

2012

1914.9

15

2013

2086.7

8.9