Azarbaijan, what facts do you know? Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is the largest country in the Caucasus, which lies at the interface between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Azerbaijan is known for its rich oil and gas reserves and borders the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The Nakhichevan exclave is bordered by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west and a short border with Turkey to the northwest. Economy After independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The banking system of Azerbaijan consists of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial banks and non-bank credit organizations. The National Bank (now the Central Bank) was established in 1992 on the basis of the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, a subsidiary of the former State Savings Bank of the USSR. The central bank is the central bank of Azerbaijan, which is authorized to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, and to supervise all commercial banks. Two large commercial banks are the state-run International Bank of Azerbaijan, which is run by Dr. Jahangir Hajiyev, and UniBank. Driven by the growth in expenditure and demand, the inflation rate reached 16.6% in the first quarter of 2007. Nominal incomes and monthly wages rose 29% and 25%, respectively, against this value, but price increases in the non-oil industry fueled inflation in the country. Azerbaijan is showing some signs of the so-called "Dutch disease" due to the rapidly growing energy sector, causing inflation and making non-energy exports more expensive. In the early years of this century chronically high inflation was brought under control and this led to the introduction of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat, on the 1st of an unstable economy. Azerbaijan also ranks 57th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2010–2011 and is thus above other CIS countries.
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