What strategy are you implementing for wider application of ICT?
Information communication technologies (ICT) has penetrated into all areas of our modern life. This is a tendency of development in the world. Azerbaijan is also an active participant of this process. ICT field is always in the spotlight of the head of state.
We try to apply technologies that meet up-to-date requirements in all areas. We are implementing a telecommunication infrastructure upgrade project throughout the country. These projects are based on the latest generation technologies to provide high-quality services to the population.
Today ICT is successfully applied in any area. The implementation of effective projects are underway in our country in the field of electronic education, electronic tax, electronic health, electronic agriculture, electronic customs, electronic commerce and other directions.
What work has been done within the direction furthering E-government ?
All the services I have just mentioned are reflected in “Electronic Government” model.
The services of more than 40 government agencies are provided to citizens on the portal E-government. Through the mobile application of the portal, users are sent notifications for communication, utilities, penalties and so on in real-time mode. This can be considered a successful start for building a “mobile government”.
The use of e-signatures have been improved this year against the background of increasing demand for electronic services and electronic signature tokens have been created. To date, over 100,000 electronic signatures have been issued and new generation ID card to be given to each citizen in the nearest future will be provided with an electronic signature certificate. Thus, new ID cards will be used for identifying identity, as well as, signing electronic documents.
In order to expand non-cash payments, E-government payment system E-gov Pay has been created by us and made available to the population.
Regional Data Center was commissioned in December last year. How would you characterize this project?
The launch of the Data Center is a very important event both for the country and the region. This means establishment of a centralized IT resource function in Azerbaijan. The project allows government agencies and businesses to reduce their capital costs, minimize overall IT costs by reducing operating costs to zero, as well as export IT services.
Data Center is the first such a center in the South Caucasus region with TIER III, ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 certification. Data Center is operated by Azintelecom, which is under the Ministry structure.
Infrastructure-based services of the data centers that are created on cloud technologies provide protection from cyber attacks. The Regional Data Center and its cloud-based infrastructure services are of great importance to attracting foreign currency to the country on its favorable terms and transforming Azerbaijan into an IT Center of the region.
Your Ministry gives special support to start up projects. In your opinion, what should be done to ensure that these projects succeed internationally?
Constant attention and support is provided to innovative ideas, intellectual entrepreneurship and startups in our country. As a result, in recent years the startup ecosystem of Azerbaijan has grown and now we have projects that can enter the global market. As a strategic goal, as a result of transforming ideas into IT business growth of new products and services, development of this field has been identified. Innovative business incubators have been created in many leading universities of the country within the framework of cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
Over 100 projects have been financed by the government within grant competitions held by the State Fund for Development of Information Technologies.
The work is also under way to attract foreign investors to the country’s ICT sector and we continue with creation of “IT Investors Club” and local venture fund for the purpose of establishing links between potential foreign investors and local IT companies, attracting local private investments to their projects.
When will the 3rd satellite of Azerbaijan be launched into the orbit and what is its importance to our country?
It should be noted that Azerspace-2 is our second telecommunications satellite. The work on the launch of Azerspace-2 into orbit in 2018 is going within the action plan. The satellite will be able to meet growing demand in the region in the field of network services and will offer high technical capabilities, affordable coverage area and quality services. The new satellite will also be the reserve of the first telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1 in orbit.
Azerspace-1 is also operating successfully and has a customer base in 22 countries around the globe. 75% of satellite’s capacity is now commercially available.
One of the important resources of our space industry is the earth observation satellite Azersky. Today Azersky satellite is widely used in many areas, such as defense, security, emergencies, exploration of natural resources, maritime, environmental protection, urban planning, mapping, agriculture, tourism, etc.
It’s gratifying that our satellites are fully operated by local experts.
Next BakuTel exhibition-conference is approaching. How do such traditional events affect the development of the sector?
Azerbaijan International Exhibition and Conference on Telecommunications and Information Technologies BakuTel, which is the most important event of the region in the field of ICT, has been held for 23 years. The participation of the President of the country in the opening of the exhibition shows the high authority of this ICT event and the state’s support to this sphere.
Dozens of countries are represented at the exhibition by more than 100 companies. The exhibition is also important for holding international forums and conferences. We are planning to hold some important meetings this year as well. I think that very important decisions are adopted within the framework of the exhibition-conference, which can be considered a successful platform for joint cooperation and implementation of projects.
While studying the ICT sector of Azerbaijan, a social-related project drew our attention. Public Internet project. How did this initiative come about?
Internet development in Azerbaijan is dynamic. 80% of the population has an access to Internet. Given the interest of people to internet, we provide free Wi-Fi to those places where large number of tourists and people rest.
Public WiFi project has already been implemented in 15 parks of the capital city, including the Seaside National Park. According to our plan, all parks in our capital city will be provided with free wifi by the end of this year.
Thank you for your sincere interview.
I thank you and wish you success in your future activities.
(The source – "Impact Azerbaijan" magazine)