Azerbaijan is a country with unrevealed potential and the highest GDP growth rate in the world; however, the high level of real GDP growth is mainly based on the county’s oil extraction. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s GDP per capita level is similar to that of Ukraine. Among the major risks of investing here, we see the state’s authoritarian policy, the country’s reliance on oil export levels, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
• Feasible environment for doing business. In the World Bank’s rating for doing business, Azerbaijan is at number 33 in terms of ease of doing business and number 13 in terms of starting a business. Business regulations do not restrict or obligate the licensing of foreign companies in Azerbaijan, with the exception of some activities that require special permission (e.g. telecommunications, etc). Besides, foreign investors are protected by law (i.e. repatriation of free effective profit, guarantee against nationalization and guarantee from deteriorating legislation).
• Possible WTO accession. In the case of WTO accession, Azerbaijan will enjoy a free trade system with more than 150 WTO country-members and will gain leverage in trade disputes. Moreover, participation in the WTO is the next step on the way to achieving a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.
• Substantial hydrocarbon resources. Azerbaijan‘s rapid economic growth is mainly owing to investment projects carried out in the energy sector. Its overall oil production in 2006 reached 32.3 mln mt, pushing real GDP growth to the level of 34.5% for that year. The peak of oil production is expected to be attained around 2015-2016 (at approximately 60 mln mt of oil), which will slowly slip to 40 mln mt in 2018.
• Politics in Azerbaijan is authoritarian, though the government doesn’t lead a fearbased regime. The country is oriented towards the European Community and shows its position,while time to time conflicting with Russia.
• The stock market is rather developed, but still suffers from a low liquidity level, and is consequently undervalued. Bond trading dominates in the total volume of stock market trades. A major part of market turnover occurs on the bond market, with shares turnover remaining at a low level.
1. Executive summary
2. Country snapshot
4. Foreign Economic activity
5. Inflation – threat of the past
6. Negative FDI – is there something wrong?
7. M&A market activity
8. Oil and Gas
9. The list of pipeline projects
10. The other side of the coin
11. Real estate market
12. Banking sector
13. Heading towards the WTO
14. Stock market
16. Azerbaijan Macroeconomic data