The Seventh Annual IGF Meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012
. The main theme for the meeting was: ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’
Development and growth in the modern age is directly associated with the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). At present, the level of application of ICT is among the main indicators of intellectual and scientific potential, transparency in the public administration and the solution of social and economic problems. ICTs are playing an increasingly important role in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as a powerful tool to fight poverty, empower women, increase the education level, and improve environmental management.
Considering this pivotal fact, the Government of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of information technologies. Azerbaijan’s National ICT Strategy (2003 - 2012) has promoted the widening use of ICT tools to raise efficiency and transparency in the public sector, and recognizes innovation as one of the underlying principles for ICT application. Azerbaijan is also well - known regionally and internationally for its promotion of the information society as a national development priority. Azerbaijan hosted the 7th Internet Governance Forum in 2012 and declared 2013 the Year of Information and Communications Technologies.
Concerted national efforts invested by the Government of Azerbaijan have enabled the country to become one of the best performers among the CIS countries according to the 2012 Global Technology Report by the World Economic Forum. The ICT sector grew twice in size, on average, in the span of every 3 years covering the period of 2004 - 2013.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is a leader among CIS countries when measuring the density of Internet users during the last three years. In 2012, this figure increased from 65 % to 70%. Likewise, the quality of internet services as well as external internet connectivity increased by 2.2 times in 2012. Prices also reduced by approximately 35% compared to 2011 according to the World Economic Forum.
Consequently, given Azerbaijan’s success in creating an enabling ICT policy environment and its demonstrated effectiveness in e-government over the past decade after the establishment of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MCIT), the Internet has slowly become an integral part of individual, private and public/state activities. Azerbaijan ranks very high in the region in terms of Internet access. On behalf of the Government, MCIT was fruitfully involved in all IGF events that took place. An up-to- date e-governance portal has been created by the Government of Azerbaijan, which connects 40 line ministries that provide online services to citizens as well as the public and private sector. This enables the government institutions to facilitate fast and quality delivery of e-government services and is considered as a huge step towards the formation of an e-society in the country.
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