Azerbaijan – More than just a Eurovision Winner!


With the success of the recent Eurovision contest the spotlight will be on Azerbaijan next year.

When I think of Azerbaijan, I think of oil. In the past I have learnt first hand some of the opportunities that exist in the Oil and Gas sector for UK companies. Double digit growth was attributed to the oil sector alone.

On carrying out a little research I have established via the British Embassy website that earlier this June the 18th Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference took place in the capital Baku and noted that 6 UK companies were represented at the Conference – looks like opportunities still exist! Whether this is still as vibrant as it once was remains to be seen.

So what else might be of interest about Azerbaijan?

The good news is – UKTI reports that the UK is one of the largest investors in Azerbaijan with around 150 companies represented in the market. Help is on hand to support companies.

Pictures of Baku portray a cosmopolitan city, and to my surprise has a presence of most 4/5 star international hotel chains. There is plenty to experience in the city of Baku with its old town, the Maiden’s Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanhahs to name a few.

Although Azerbaijan’s economic growth has been largely attributable to the oil and gas exports, other sectors such as construction, banking and real estate also spurred growth over the past years. The impact of the global financial crisis also impacted on Azerbaijan, albeit, with lesser severity than other countries.

GDP growth rate for 2010 were around 4%, the current economic climate suggests decrease in GDP growth rates for 2011/12 depending on which information source you refer to.

It is no secret that Azerbaijan has ongoing challenges and conflicts to resolve, not only with Armenia, but also to continue to improve its current ranking of 143 out of 180 in the Corruption Perception Index as well as the further need of industry diversification rather than the reliance on growth through oil and gas.

I wonder what my husband would say if I suggest Baku as one of our city trips next year? To coincide of course with the Eurovision song contest! On arrival I will flag one of those new UK black cabs that should be available after a company placed an order with a West Midland’s company for 1000 taxis earlier this year, an order worth for £17m. Oh, did I mention – another bonus – English is widely spoken!

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