Oil-rich Azerbaijan has redefined itself over the past two decades from a struggling newly independent state to a major regional energy player.
Deals with international energy producers have allowed the country to use its energy revenues to create a government-run fund involved in international projects. It has also used its resources to rebuild its army, which is seen as a government priority as the country grapples with the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Despite its wealth and increased influence in the wider region, poverty and corruption continue to overshadow the country’s development.
A government crackdown on human rights advocates and journalists has raised concern that Azerbaijan’s embryonic democracy is under threat.
- Republic of Azerbaijan
- Capital: Baku
- Population 9.6 million
- Area 86,600 sq km (33,400 sq miles)
- Major languages Azeri, Russian
- Major religion Islam
- Life expectancy 68 years (men), 74 years (women) (UN)
- Main exports Oil, oil products