Since its independence in 1991 Azerbaijan, the former member of the USSR, has successfully completed the transition from a communist economy to a market economy based on petroleum. The GDP increased 41.5% in the first quarter 2007, the highest growth in the world that year. This rapid development has slowed down with an increase (just one space) of 10%-5% in the last few years and an estimation. The total population of Azerbaijan was 9,195,000 in 2012, with a GDP per capita of 7.727 USD. Of the total population 90% is of Turk-Azeri origin, the rest to be of other minorities, plus a considerable Russian colony. Is well known among Turks and Azeries that “Bir millet, iki devlet”, “we are one people, with two states” – in reference to the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The relations between Russia and Azerbaijan are deep and long-standing. As an example, in 2007 the main export market for Azerbaijan was Turkey (mainly energy), Turkey also is the second largest importer, after Russia. Petroleum is the principal export, followed by cotton, natural gas and agricultural products. Today the Azerbaijan Petrol Company (SOCAR) has a contract for 30 years with 13 international enterprises for petrol extraction. Among them are Amoco, BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil and Statoil. Agriculture is another important engine for the economy, the country having 55% of its total area under cultivation, mainly farming corn, barley, vegetables and cotton. Azerbaijan has gone a long way towards correcting the corruption problems inherited from the Soviet era, and has been recognized by the World Bank in its “doing business report” as one of the countries that have shown most improvement, passing from 97th position to 33rd.
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