The Republic of Azerbaijan is a country in the south Caucasus Region. It is bordered by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union. After gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the World Bank, IMF, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. These financial institutions have played a vital role in promoting the economy of Azerbaijan. Since its independence, Azerbaijan has been striving for a stable economy through the promotion of vital industries in the country. Some of the major industries in Azerbaijan that have spurred the country’s economy include the following:
Azerbaijan's Energy Industry
Azerbaijan has vast deposits of natural gas and oil. The oil and gas production plays a major role in the economy of Azerbaijan. In fact, Azerbaijan has been ranked among the top world’s exploration and development areas in oil. Oil exportation forms approximately 76% of the country’s total exports. In 1994, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan entered into a 30-year contract with 13 other oil extracting companies in the country. These oil companies include Amoco, BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil, and the Statoil, among many others. The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan was put up to ensure stability, transparency, and proper management of oil production.
Mining Industry in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is endowed with lots of mineral deposits. The common minerals in the country include gold, silver, iron, titanium, copper, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, and chromium. Most of the country’s mineral deposits are located in Lesser Caucasus region. The mining industry has led to the growth of a lot of industries and creation of numerous employment opportunities in the country. There are a lot of mining companies that have come up in the countries to control the mining activities.
Azerbaijan's Agriculture Industry
Agriculture is a core industry to the Azerbaijan’s economy. Agriculture is widespread, accounting for about 54.9% of the country's total land area. Azerbaijan’s agricultural focus is on the cash crop, horticulture, viticulture, cotton, medicinal plants, and wine-making ingredients. However, the most common subsistence crops grown in the vast agricultural land include grains and potatoes. Agriculture has not only been important for the purpose of feeding the population but also the growth of agro-based industries in the country. Some of the companies that have benefited from agriculture include the wine-making, beer brewing, dairy product, and soft drink industries, as well as many other food processing companies. Livestock keeping and cultivation of pastures are also part of the agricultural practices of Azerbaijan.
A Developing Tourism Industry
The development of the tourism industry has been among the priorities of the Azerbaijan’s government. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the tourism industry in Azerbaijan almost collapsed. The situation was worsened in the 1990s during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The industry started recovering in the early 2000s. Azerbaijan has since become a popular destination for tourist with skiing, religious, and spa interests. During the winter season, the Shahdag Mountain Resort attracts a lot of skiing tourists. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan has facilitated tremendous improvements in this industry. There are 63 countries that can travel visa-free to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was ranked 84th by the world’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of 2015. It has also been ranked first in the list of countries with the fast developing tourism industries.
Azerbaijan's Science and Technology Industry
Science and innovation have had a continuous positive impact on the economy of the Azerbaijan. In fact, the gradual increase of the profit from this industry has been predicted to grow in the coming years. The increase is expected to be tremendous and to match that of the oil industry. The country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is also providing the necessary support and infrastructure for the development of the science and technology. Several important innovations are also on going in the country. For instance, in the 21st century, gadgets and centers to help in the prediction of seismic waves were built in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has also launched a number of her satellites into the space.
Banking Industry in Azerbaijan
The lead bank in the country is the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. The bank’s core purposes are to regulate stock exchange, the functioning of commercial banks in the country, and circulation of currency and money supply. The commercial banks in Azerbaijan include but not limited to Bank of Baku, Bank of Azerbaijan, Pasha Bank, Kapital Bank, Mugan Bank, Demir Bank, Bank Standard, Bank Respublika, and NBS Bank. These banks have ATMs and branches all over the country to facilitate easy transaction and circulation of money. The Azerbaijan Manat was introduced on January 1, 2016, to help counter inflation and stabilize the economy.
Azerbaijan's Manufacturing Industry
Manufacturing and processing industries are very stable in Azerbaijan, probably due to the availability of vast raw materials and the support from the government. The goods manufactured in the country are consumed locally and the surplus is imported. The defense industries of Azerbaijan have developed capabilities to manufacture their own military equipment and other equipment such as the grenades and military vehicles. The manufacturing industry has been an asset to the country’s economy because, as it grows, it reduces the number of goods that are being imported to the country.
Telecommunication Industry in Azerbaijan
Over 80% of the Azerbaijani’s population has access to mobile phones and other telecommunication gadgets. Access to the public telephone is also satisfactory despite their reduced use across the country. The major mobile services providers in the country are Azercell, Bakcell, and Azerfon. These mobile companies have over 10 million subscribers distributed across the country. The mobile companies have ships across the country to facilitate contact and bring services nearer to their subscribers. There are also a considerable number of radio and television stations in the country. There are over 26 radio stations, four public television stations, and 43 private television stations. Radio penetration was at 97%, whereas television penetration was at 59.1%. The internet penetration was 77% by 2015. There are over 2,200, 000 users of the internet in Azerbaijan today. The country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has been supporting the development in the telecoms sector.