Nigar Madatli. PR Manager Azercosmos
One of the strategic projects carried out by the government of Azerbaijan, as a part of a wider plan of economic diversification and introduction to new industry fields, is the launch of its first telecommunications satellite into orbit. Alongside the first telecommunications satellite, Azerspace-1, which will be launched in early 2013, plans are already in place to launch a low Earth orbiting satellite in the near future, in 2015 and other telecommunications satellites in the upcoming years.
Seeing the real prospect for ICT-related growth in the country, the government of Azerbaijan decided to capture the opportunities offered by the developments in the global space economy. There have never been so many countries with satellites in orbit, more than 50 countries in fact. The global space economy increased in size for the sixth year in a row, growing at a faster rate than in previous years. The global space economy grew by 12% in 2011, reaching an estimated total of $289.77 billion. Total revenue for commercial space products and services in 2011 is estimated at $110.53 billion, 9% more than the $101.73 billion in 2010. This total includes revenues from satellite broadcasting, as well as communications services, and Earth observation products.
Azercosmos, the first satellite operator in Caucasus was incorporated in 2010 by the Decree of President, Ilham Aliyev for commercialization of Azerbaijan’s first space project. During its one year life span, Azercosmos has been able to attract companies from around the globe, such as US, France, Canada, and Malaysia for manufacturing, launching, capacity-leasing, and ensured financing from highly esteemed banks such as US EXIM, French BNP Paribas, other intermediary banks.
It is notable that only 15% of the whole project was financed by the government, the rest was obtained through cooperation with the above-mentioned banks. The loan agreement for the funding of the launch of Azerspace-1 was included in the list of “The Best Financial Deals for 2011” by the magazine “Global Trade Review”. Azercosmos was also able to secure a robust insurance coverage and highly competitive premium rate for Azerspace-1, the lowest in the satellite insurance market since 1999. The fact that Azercosmos has already sold 40% of its pre-launch capacity for the 15 years to come could astound even the satellite company giants in the industry.
We, in Azercosmos understand that to ensure feasibility and sustainability of our project in the long-term, we need to apply corporate governance practices. We can say with assurance that we have taken the right path in this regard by focusing on capacity-building and human resources development as our first priority. We are confident that our continued participation at Bakutel will further contribute to this end as this exhibition has become one of the high-profile key industry events in the region.