Despite the challenges of having a large part of its territory under foreign occupation, Azerbaijan has made huge economic strides since regaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Using its oil resources efficiently, it experienced an incredible economic boom during the nineties and noughties. By 2006 it was the country with the world's highest GDP growth at an incredible 34.5%. Since then, the rate of growth has steadied at an impressive 11% a year on average, higher than that of China and India.
Azerbaijan is an economic success story at one of the world's great crossroads.
Currently, Karabakh isn't enjoying the same kind of prosperity as a result of the Armenian occupation. This could be very different if the conflict was resolved, Armenian forces withdrew and Azerbaijan once again enjoyed full territorial integrity. As well as enabling both countries to reduce their military spending, there are a range of direct benefits that would flow into the region.
Infrastructure could be improved, with particular attention paid to new transport links with the rest of the country. Improved infrastructure and a region at peace with itself, will prove attractive to investors. The Azerbaijan government would look to incentivise investment into the region, by creating attractive packages and support to companies who wish to move in. The people of the region would enjoy cheaper and more efficient services, and would pay less for their utilities, particularly electricity. Overseas investors are particularly interested in seeing a peaceful resolution of the conflict. They recognise the huge economic strides that Azerbaijan has made over recent decades, and would be quick to take advantage of any investment opportunities in the Karabakh region. Peace would create a situation where Armenia and Azerbaijan could work together on shared infrastructure for the mutual benefit of all their peoples, something which would particularly benefit the people of Karabakh.
At present, as an occupied territory the economy of Karabakh is in the economic doldrums, existing as a heavily militarised client of a foreign power. Its reintegration into Azerbaijan would allow for the development of a normal life for its citizens, enjoying full democratic rights and a booming economy.
The way to resolve the crisis and bring about a rapid normalisation of life in Karabakh is for Armenia to withdraw their forces in line with international law.