By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan is the only country in the South Caucasus that has seen an increase in population both in aggregate and across regions.
The remark was made in the World Bank’s (WB) recent report "South Caucasus in Motion".
The average growth rate in the country was 1.3 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to the report.
The level of urbanization in Azerbaijan has been consistently low despite the rapid economic growth.
Azerbaijan’s GDP grew at an annual average of 11 percent in 2000–2015, the report said. “This impressive growth was accompanied by poverty reduction through higher social transfers and a dramatic rise in real wages,” reads the report.
Average annual growth rates of real GDP per capita fall within the range of 3 percent in Absheron, one of the richest economic regions, to above 10 percent in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
As for the labor market, the report informs that the pattern of employment across sectors differs substantially by location. The public administration is the largest employer for the urban population, followed by construction and manufacturing. Among jobholders, 60 percent in Baku and other cities are paid employees, while 57 percent in rural areas are self-employed.
Azerbaijanis hold positive perceptions of their living standards relative to perceptions in the South Caucasus, according to the report.
It says that 43 percent of respondents from Azerbaijan agreed with the statement “I have done better in life than my parents” asked in a survey held by WB. Fourteen percent of respondents held a neutral position and 24 percent sticked to a negative answer.
Majorities in Georgia (52 percent) and Armenia (62 percent) believe they are doing worse relatively to their parents. In other CIS countries, the average figures are as follows: 43 percent are satisfied with the standard of living, 27 percent are dissatisfied, and 26 percent believe that living conditions have not changed.
Azerbaijan joined the World Bank Group in 1992. Since then, the bank has allocated loans for over 50 projects worth over $3 billion in the country. Seven more projects worth about $1.5 billion are being implemented. In addition to loans, in 1995-2014, the WB allocated 45 grants totaling $41.59 million to Azerbaijan.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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