Ramil Huseyn: New Division of Economic Regions Will Accelerate the Development of Karabakh and East Zangezur
Following the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev dated 07 July 2021, a new division of economic regions was approved. The Decree states that at the moment, large-scale measures are being taken to restore territories liberated from the occupation, ensure their further development, create the necessary infrastructure, and return the population to their native lands. The expediency of carrying out all the planned work following the unified program to ensure the equal development of these territories by using their rich economic potential, natural resources, and wide tourism opportunities stipulates the necessity for a revision of the division of liberated territories into economic regions.
Commenting on a new division of economic regions of Azerbaijan, Deputy Executive Director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication Ramil Huseyn told that there were 10 economic regions in Azerbaijan so far. By new division, the number of economic regions has reached 14. “Certainly, the liberation of Azerbaijani territories requires a reconsideration of the division into economic regions. As stated in the Decree, this division serves the rapid development of the Karabakh region. That is why, Karabakh economic region (Khankendi city, Aghjabedi, Aghdam, Barda, Fuzuli, Khojaly, Khojavand, Shusha, and Terter) and Easter Zangezur economic region were created. In general, the number of economic regions has increased from 10 to 14. The matter is that Azerbaijan's economy has more than tripled, the regional and sectoral structure of the economy has changed, as well as the return of Karabakh to economic circulation and the opening of regional communications, including the prospect of the Zangezur corridor, have created new realities,” said Ramil Huseyn.
He emphasized that the creation of the East Zangezur economic region is also a restoration of historical justice. The Decree also states that Zangilan, Gubadli, Jabrayil, Lachin, and Kalbajar districts, located in the eastern part of the Zangezur plateau, surrounded by the Zangezur mountain range and covering a vast territory from Lachin and Kalbajar to Nakhchivan, on the border with Armenia, were also historically located in the same geographic area. For many years, they were part of the Zangezur district, created in 1861, and were connected by traditional socio-economic, historical, and cultural ties, which dictates the need to unite them in one economic region. Moreover, the Decree has a unified approach to Karabakh – its mountainous and lowland parts are taken together. The Decree mentions the importance of the creation of a new Karabakh economic region to ensure the restoration and rapid development of the ancient Karabakh region, distinguished by a special rich historical and cultural heritage and picturesque nature, including Aghdam, Shusha, Fuzuli, Terter, Khojavend, and Khojaly districts and Khankendi city, as well as Aghjabadi and Barda districts belonging to this region.
Moreover, Deputy Executive Director spoke about the revision of the composition of Ganja-Qazakh and Aran economic regions, calling it an actual requirement. As he told, “If you pay attention, you will notice that the Decree emphasizes that reintegration of the liberated territories into the Azerbaijani economy requires increasing the efficiency of the work on planning on other economic regions, including Ganja-Gazakh and Aran, ensuring efficiency in economic management, and revising the composition of these economic regions for this purpose. Thus, instead of Ganja-Gazakh economic region there were created Ganja-Dashkesan economic region (Ganja and Naftalan cities, Dashkesan, Goranboy, Goygol, and Samukh regions) and Gazakh-Tovuz economic region (Agstafa, Gadabay, Gazakh, Shamkir, and Tovuz regions). The composition of the largest economic region – Aran, was also revised, resulting in the creation of 3 economic regions: Central Aran economic region (Mingachevir city, Agdash, Goychay, Kurdamir, Ujar, Yevlakh, and Zardab regions), Mil-Mugan economic region (Beylagan, Imishli, Saatli and Sabirabad regions), and Shirvan-Salyan +economic region (Shirvan city, Bilasuvar, Hajigabul, Neftchala and Salyan regions)”.
In the end, Ramil Huseyn mentioned that an economic region is a territory within a country that differs by areas of economic specialization. New realities substantiate a new approach to economic zoning. A new division of economic regions in Azerbaijan will facilitate the increase of efficiency of measures taken to restore and develop Karabakh. This division will serve to ensure flexibility in economic governance and institutional reforms in the country. It will also increase the efficiency of planning, especially for economic regions. Program on social and economic development of regions, as well as Karabakh development strategy, will be brought into compliance with a new division of economic regions.
It should be noted that Baku economic region (Baku city) has also been created. The composition of the following economic regions was not changed: Nakhchivan economic region (Nakhchivan city, Babak, Julfa, Kengerli, Ordubad, Sadarak, Shahbuz and Sharur regions); Absheron-Khizi economic region (Sumgayit city, Absheron, and Khizi regions); Mountain-Shirvan economic region (Aghsu, Ismayilli, Gobustan and Shamakhi regions); Guba-Khachmaz economic region (Khachmaz, Guba, Gusar, Siyazan and Shabran regions); Lankaran-Astara economic region (Astara, Jalilabad, Lerik, Lankaran, Masalli and Yardimli regions); Sheki-Zagatala economic region (Balakan, Gakh, Gabala, Oguz, Sheki and Zagatala regions).
Executive director of CAERC