Azerbaijan develops Aghdam industrial park: first investors sign up
Aghdam, the mythical 10th-century Caucasian trading center destroyed by successive battles between Muslims and Christians on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, fell back into Azerbaijani hands after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between the two.
With much of the Nagorno-Karabakh region cut off from Armenia for thirty years, investment and redevelopment have been slow. Now reconnected with Azerbaijan, investment has once again flowed into the region as Baku seeks to make a political point and illustrate how residents are better off under Islam.
The city of Agdam is being refurbished of what are essentially ruins, and an industrial park is being developed. Five Azeri companies have already been registered as residents of the park.
Dadash-N LLC, which will manufacture a variety of synthetic mats under a project to be implemented in the industrial park, will build a factory on an area of two hectares. Under the project with an investment cost of 9.5 million manat ($5.6 million), it plans to manufacture 700,000 square meters of carpet per year and provide 60 permanent jobs.
Local raw materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polyacryl, as well as Belgian and Chinese technologies will be used to produce the carpets. Along with the sale of manufactured products in the domestic market, it is planned to export them to other CIS countries – Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Veliyev LLC will implement a project for manufacturing precast concrete products. Under the 2.5 million manat ($1.4 million) project, it is planned to manufacture 200,000 square meters of reinforced concrete products per year. The company will provide permanent jobs for 80 people and will use Turkish and local technologies for production.
Smartpoint LLC will organize the production of street lamps and other devices powered by alternative and renewable energy sources (mainly solar energy) as part of another project to be implemented in the park. The investment cost of the project is 9.1 million manats ($5.6 million), will create 80 permanent jobs and produce 21,000 streetlights and other devices with a capacity of 40 megawatts per year. Along with supplying the domestic market, it is planned to export the manufactured products to European and CIS countries.
Ram International Transport and Trade LLC will manufacture polymer products under a 10 million manat (US$5.8 million) capital cost project to be implemented in the park. The company will be built on three hectares and will create 500 permanent jobs. Along with supplying the domestic market, manufactured products should be exported to European and CIS countries.
Ag Tekstil LLC will produce uniforms and coveralls. The investment cost of the project is 5.5 million manats ($3.2 million). The company, which will be built on one hectare, is expected to create 110 permanent jobs, with products intended to meet domestic demand. Azerbaijan has been very active in the development of infrastructure and industrial processing zones, as its strategic position along the Belt and Road Initiative serves as a focal point between East and West. It is connected to Central Asia and China by sea routes through the Caspian Sea port in Baku, and to Russia, Iran, the Gulf, East Africa and India by the INSTC multimodal network. It can access Turkey and EU markets to the west via rail links to the Black Sea.
It will take some time before Aghdam can fully access these corridors with 100% efficiency, but the maxim of the Belt and Road Initiative in Azerbaijan is well under way: build, manufacture and market, creating thus sustainable operating cash flow and profitability. A key mantra for all developing countries is why China has been so successful in promoting the BRI.