Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing economy in the world in recent years, thanks to a rapid rise in oil and gas revenues. It is traditionally an oil-based country with a population of approximately 9 million people. The UK is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan (mainly due to BP’s success here), accounting for more than half of all FDI and has consistently been in the top five countries exporting goods to Azerbaijan.
The Government’s current development strategy ‘Azerbaijan- 2020: Outlook for the future’ outlines plans to diversify the economy away from the energy sector. Other areas of the economy (non-oil sectors) are expanding and the flow of oil money means there are significant opportunities for foreign investment. Although there are signs of progress, it is an ongoing process.
Key sectors identified in the strategy include tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, ICT and education.
A total budget of $1.9 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Education (MOE) for the FY2013. This is roughly divided as follows:
$1.389 billion for the operation of pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, orphanage and special schools, vocational schools and colleges
$ 573 million for the operations of high schools, applied research and other miscellaneous services
One of the major challenges of the education sector and the economy overall is the skills mismatch. There is an excess of supply of human resources in some professions (e.g. teachers, doctors), and excess demand for workforce in other areas (e.g. engineers, IT personnel etc.). Particularly, human capital with technical and vocational skills is insufficient.
The State scholarship programme was initiated in 2007 with a view to fill these skills gaps by encouraging students to study engineering, computer science, law at top-rated universities abroad. The program is financed by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan.
In addition, Azerbaijan is actively working with international organisations to upgrade its education system to meet international standards. As a result of cooperation with the World Bank, the new textbook policy, concepts on national assessment and teacher training have been developed. Higher education reforms are ongoing with the support of the European Union and the European Commission.
English Language Training
preparatory courses for professional qualifications
joint programmes with higher education institutions
Technical and Vocational Education and Training
upgrading of TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) institutions
Getting into the market
The most appropriate market entry strategy is through formation of a partnership with a local institution.
Visiting the market and face-to-face contact/networking is important at the initial stage which could be followed up by other means of communication (email, telephone etc.). Communication without visiting the market could work if/when the contacts are ‘warmed-up’/informed about the British company’s interests in the market by UKTI members.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Azada Karimova, British Embassy Baku. Tel: +99412 4377868 or email: Azada.Karimova@fco.gov.uk
Jacqui Mullen, British Embassy Baku. Tel: +99412 4377872 or email: Jacqui.Mullen2@fco.gov.uk
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.