Azerbaijan, which sits at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, became the worlds first Muslim majority state when it claimed its independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. It was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 but regained its Independence following the Soviet collapse.
Since then, Azerbaijan has become an extraordinary regional economic success story, with rapid increases in GDP, low levels of unemployment and falling levels of poverty. Formerly one of the world’s poorest nations, Azerbaijan is now ranked as a middle-ranking nation in per capita income.
Two-thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil, natural gas and other mineral resources including various types of metal, and it has used its mineral wealth wisely. In September 1994, in what was described as “the deal of the century”, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) signed a thirty-year contract and thirteen oil companies, among them BP, Amoco, ExxonMobil, Lukoil and Equinor.
Between 1995 and 2012, the country’s GDP increased twenty-fold. In 2006 the launch of a new currency, the manat, helped to cement far-reaching economic reforms, including privatisation and de-regulation. The creation of a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund has contributed to economic stability, while a series of further reforms introduced by President Ilham Aliyev have made business start-ups simpler and quicker, thereby increasing the country’s attractive ness to foreign investors.
WorldPR has worked with Azeri government agencies including SOCAR to communicate its successes in multiple fields and help to raise the country’s profile to reflect its growing economic and political significance as an increasingly active member of the Turkic Council, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent states.
In November 2020 the long-running conflict with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in intense fighting. The ensuing peace deal brokered by Russia has enabled Azerbaijan to reclaim around twenty per cent of the territory illegally seized by Armenia in 1990 – a significant victory for Azerbaijan.