The capital and largest city of Azerbaijan is Baki. The total population of Azerbaijan is estimated to amount to around 10 million inhabitants, and about half of them live in urban areas. The population growth rate almost doubled in 2008 and 2009 before reverting back to around 1.3 percent since 2010, with the average life expectancy of inhabitants on the lower side, at around 70 years of age, and a quite average fertility rate of 2 children per woman.
Azerbaijan’s economic growth can be attributed in large parts to its growing oil and gas exports. In 2013, GDP was at 74.15 billion U.S. dollars and economic growth compared to 2012 was 5.8 percent. However, future GDP projections from the International Monetary Fund are much lower and vary from as little as 0.63 percent to as high as 3.59 percent year-over-year until 2020. Inflation also varies quite a bit from 1.02 percent in 2012 to a projected 7.88 inflation rate for 2015.
Azerbaijan’s national debt in relation to GDP is also expected to increase. The strongest sector of Azerbaijan’s economy is the industrial sector, - due to its aforementioned large oil and gas exports - with almost a 60 percent share, compared to a 36 percent share in the services sector and only around 6 percent agricultural share. The country reports a positive trade balance, even though it is decreasing, and trade with Europe and Turkey is getting stronger. Currently, Azerbaijan’s most important export partners are Italy, followed by Indonesia and Thailand, and its most important import partners are Turkey, Russia and the United Kingdom.
However, while the industrial sector is doing well, it makes up the lowest share of total employment with only 14.3 percent of the population working in industry. The wealth and future of the country depends on whether the country can reverse its trend in deteriorating human rights, and whether it can use its wealth from the industrial sector to spur growth and employment across the other sectors.