Azerbaijan Sees Economy Bouncing Back After Covid-19 Slump, War

By  Zulfugar Agayev

January 20, 2021, 9:00 AM GMT+4

Azerbaijan sees economic growth rebounding this year as it emerges from a Covid-19-induced slump and the war with neighboring Armenia that restored its control over formerly occupied territories, Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said.

Gross domestic product is forecast to increase by 3.4% after contracting 4.3% in 2020, Jabbarov said in an interview Tuesday. “Our projections for 2021 are more optimistic than those of” the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, he said.

The World Bank predicts Azerbaijan’s economy will grow 1.9% this year and the IMF forecasts a 2% expansion. While growth will depend on the success of Azerbaijan’s vaccination program against Covid-19 that began Monday, “other areas which are important for the well-being of Azerbaijan’s economy I think we are pretty confident about,” Jabbarov said.

The economy of the former Soviet Union’s third-largest oil producer shrank last year for the first time since 2016, buffeted by lockdown measures against the epidemic and the slide in crude prices. Amid the turmoil, Azerbaijan won back seven regions occupied for more than two decades around the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the 44-day war with Armenia that ended with a Russia-brokered truce deal in November.