An Azerbaijani State of the Union Address
I’m not sure if an American-style State of the Union address occurs here in Azerbaijan, but I think I came across something related a few days ago. Last week, Ilham gave remarks to his cabinet, which were then published to the president’s website. Either way, when I made that tag cloud highlighting the words Ilham used the most, it somehow came up with that particular order itself. I couldn’t have said it better myself: Azerbaijan must work. True story, folks. It’s tough around here, considering the state of unemployment and the relatively undeveloped economic sectors in this country. In any case, yes. Azerbaijan must work. Or maybe they could start volunteering, instead!
Just a few other things to point out from the speech, which you can certainly peruse yourself:
- Ilham discussed transparency, a hot topic around here. While it’s fairly obvious that most of what goes on here in Azerbaijan occurs under a seeming shroud of confusion and haplessness, the president sang the praises of transparency, particularly regarding the State Oil Fund. Speaking of oil revenues and investment, the president noted transparency’s role in management, and it’s expansion to the rest of the economy:
…it has been acknowledged that there is absolute transparency in this area. We have achieved this as well. We must make sure that all matters in the financial and economic sectors are organized at the same level as the management of oil revenues. In this case, a 100-per-cent transparency will be ensured in Azerbaijan in general – in economic and financial sectors. At the same time, conditions will be created for an even more effective management of our affairs.
This is a prospect I think we are all looking forward to, especially Transparency International.
- The president also talked rather disjointedly about environmental issues. While talking about the success of planting six million new trees in Azerbaijan over a nine-month period, he quickly declared that in 2011 all issues related to ecology will be settled successfully. That’s bold, sir. I like the cut of your jib. Unfortunately, that resolve to fix all of the ecological problems in Azerbaijan in 2011 rather quickly pivoted to the development of chemical and technological industry in Sumqayıt. Not exactly a commitment to cleaning up. And finally, he did talk extensively about cleaning riverbeds and using renewable resources for energy. This is probably a bit of fluff, but it’s nice to see.
- I won’t go on and on about this speech, but the president also commented on such things as social safety nets, Azerbaijan’s response to disasters such as the flooding this year, and prospects for improving both the gas network in Azerbaijan and agricultural resources. All good things. As I’m here for another year, we’ll see how that all works out.