After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan became independent and started a transition from a Soviet-style economy to a market-driven economy focusing on production and export of hydrocarbons.
With its favourable geographic situation at south-eastern border of the European continent, Azerbaijan is a natural bridge between Europe and Central Asia. The country had always been more industrially developed than its neighbours Georgia and Armenia but had suffered from low levels of investment in sectors other than oil. Now, with strategic focus on agriculture and construction it has become more outward looking and although hydrocarbons are still its biggest source of revenue it is turning its attention to other sectors. Tourism, for example, is growing as Baku becomes a holiday as well as business destination.
Azerbaijanâ€™s economy is strong â€“ The Economist magazine ranked it as the second fastest growing economy in the world between 2001 and 2010 - and is backed up by laws that make it attractive to the foreign investor.
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