At present, in the context of the 4th industrial revolution, the processes of digitization and rapid transformation of the economy are going on in the world. Becoming the energy and transport center of the region as a result of the activities over the past 25 years, Azerbaijan is on the brink of the 4th industrial revolution, and the digitalization of the economy, the formation of the knowledge-based economy, and the application of innovations are of significant importance.
A number of important projects have been implemented in recent years to develop the international transport corridors passing through the territory of Azerbaijan and to strengthen the transit potential of the country. At present, AzerTelecom, the subsidiary of the first mobile operator in Azerbaijan - Bakcell, has launched the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program to transform Azerbaijan into the "Digital Center" of the region.
The main objectives of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program
The main objective of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program is to raise the telecommunication ecosystem of Azerbaijan to the most advanced world standards, to minimize the dependence of the country on foreign countries in the purchase of Internet, and in the future, to become a central country in the sale of Internet in the region, and to transform Azerbaijan from a digital services importing country into a country that produces and exports these services to the neighboring regions under the brand "Made in Azerbaijan".
Within the framework of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program, the transformation of Azerbaijan into a regional center in the Caucasus, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia will create conditions for the better provision of 1.8 billion people (1/4 of the world's population) with different digital services. The transformation of our country into a central country not only in the Internet transit but also in the sale of the Internet means adding Baku to the world`s Internet map, along with Internet hubs such as London, Frankfurt, Sofia, Istanbul, Moscow, Amsterdam, and Dubai. This will help ensure that the world brands (Apple, Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) are concentrated at the Digital Center.
As a result of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program, the transformation of Azerbaijan into the Digital Center of the Region will contribute to Azerbaijan's participation in the "Belt and Road Initiative" project initiated by the Chinese government. The "Belt and Road Initiative" project includes infrastructure development and investments in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and Azerbaijan becomes a part of the global project "Belt and Road Initiative" as a "Digital Center".
As a result of the implementation of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program, the major fiber-optic networks in the North-South, East-West directions will be intersected in Azerbaijan. In addition to the intersection of the world`s global transit backbone networks in Azerbaijan, the largest Data Center in the region will also be established in Azerbaijan. Together with "Azerbaijan Railways" CJSC, AzerTelecom has started the construction of new sustainable backbone fiber-optic cable infrastructure along the protection zone of the railway line in the country and relevant investments have been made. This will allow the backbone lines in the East-West and North-South directions to intersect in Azerbaijan.
The program has important advantages
The "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program has important advantages for our country. Along with the above-mentioned, the advantages are: there will be new opportunities for the development of the country's economy without the involvement of public investment, a digital logistics center will be established in the region, and the program will contribute to the digital economy by stimulating investment in the non-oil sector and giving a strong impetus to its development. The implementation of the program will contribute to the development of electronic services and the country's cyber-security as well.
Also, within the framework of the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program, new jobs will be created in the digital field, new opportunities will be created for the prevention of outflow of intellectual capital from the country as well as the return of the high level Azerbaijani specialists to Azerbaijan, and a favorable ecosystem will be formed for the development of startups and their stay in Azerbaijan. The program will also contribute to the development of small and medium-sized entrepreneurship and the development of the Digital Economy in Azerbaijan.