The country’s fixed-line network provides good national coverage and subscriber numbers are still expanding at a modest rate (contrary to the pattern in other regional markets). Azerbaijan was claiming a positive fixed-line penetration of almost 20% by the start of 2016. Many Azerbaijanis access the Internet from shared connections, such as their place of work or study, or from Internet cafés (with the latter providing access for 19 percent of users in 2007). The rate of ownership of computers is low (2.4 units per 100 inhabitants), and Internet usage in homes is moderate—it accounts for 41.6 percent of the total usage for 2007, up from 36.4 percent in 2006.
Azerbaijan’s high economic growth may have been caused by large and growing oil and gas exports, but some non-export sectors also featured double-digit growth, including construction, banking, and real estate. Oil exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, the Baku-Novorossiysk, and the Baku-Supsa pipelines remain the main economic driver, but efforts to boost Azerbaijan’s gas production are underway. The eventual completion of the geopolitically important Southern Gas Corridor between Azerbaijan and Europe will open up another, albeit, smaller source of revenue from gas exports. Azerbaijan has made only limited progress on instituting market-based economic reforms. Pervasive public and private sector corruption and structural economic inefficiencies remain a drag on long-term growth, particularly in non-energy sectors. Several other obstacles impede Azerbaijan’s economic progress, including the need for stepped up foreign investment in the non-energy sector and the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance, while trade is building with Turkey and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects depend on world oil prices, Azerbaijan’s ability to negotiate export routes for its growing gas production, and its ability to use its energy wealth to promote growth and spur employment in non-energy sectors of the economy.