Azerbaijan up close

1001 reasons why a PT should visit The Land of Fire

Azerbaijan is a country that impossible to ignore. If you don’t discover it for yourselves will be missing out. The Republic of Azerbaijan was, and still is, an important place at the junction of Europe and Asia. It is strategically, economically and culturally significant and still profits from its unique geopolitical and geographical position. It has more than million people living in an area of 86,600 kilometers. The place is pretty monocultural with more than 90 percent Azerbaijanis, with another 30 million living next-door in Iran. As a PT and professional offshore banking consultant, I visited Azerbaijan in spring 2014 to establish contacts in preparation for the upcoming two-day international conference on the investment climate between Silk Road countries and Europe that took place in June. The conference brought together the leaders of the European market of consulting and legal services and senior managers of the leading companies from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia.

I wanted to be among the first consultants from Europe to find out more about banking and doing business in Azerbaijan. U.S. and E.U. readers will be happy to know they are very welcome to visit Baku in person and open a savings account paying nine to twelve percent interest in one of the top five banks in Azerbaijan. I recommend The International Bank of Azerbaijan, with modern and safe online banking services up to European expectations and service in English.

I only recommend doing business with one of the top five banks in Azerbaijan due to upcoming mergers and acquisitions. The bank capital standards are slated to be raised five times last year. Although banks in Azerbaijan don’t open accounts for foreign companies, they are happy to open accounts for 100 percent foreign-owned companies incorporated in Azerbaijan. There are also real estate investment projects in Azerbaijan, especially Baku, waiting for the first ever and anticipating about 400 percent profit on it.

Endless discoveries

This was not my first visit to Azerbaijan. This country has many unique landscapes, incredible natural, cultural and architectural monuments and amazing traditions. Both history and culture of Azerbaijan have been inexhaustible source of inspiration for millions of explorers for centuries, from Ptolemy and Marco Polo, to Anthony Jenkinson and Alexandre Dumas. All of them wrote about the legendary Land of Fire located on the Great Silk Road. This country is one of the most ancient human settlements in the world. The livestockand agricultural advantageshave served the area verywell throughout history as an important part of the Silk Road. This land has everything from great castles and mausoleumsof famous rulers, sanctuariesand even the people preserving memory of generations: their ancestors.

The country is home to splendid carpets and stunning architecture as well as a unique treasury of natural reserves. Nine out of eleven climatic types existing over the world are found in Azerbaijan. Relict forests, deserts, mountainous landscapes, immense plains, alpine grasslands and matchless charming lakes will impress even those PTs, who visit 15 and more countries a year, especially, since these are only the beginning in the endless chain of the charms of local nature. Abundance of mineral and thermal waters, mud and the medicinal oil Naftalan are used for cures and put Azerbaijan in the same row with the most popular health spas of the world.

Every kind of mud volcano in existence can also be found here. Both on, and under, the earth there are precious reserves such as oil, gas, iron, gold, cobalt and so on. The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world and is the soul of many Azerbaijanis providing fishing and the world famous Beluga caviar. In Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, public and cultural life presents itself in all varieties and brilliance. Visitors come here to enjoy amazing feeling of contrast and synthesis of the East and West. A Eurovision contest was held in Baku in 2012. Plenty of theaters, museums, concert and exhibition halls and international festivals can be found all over the city showcasing not only traditional culture, but also the modern trends in Azerbaijani.

Every year, two million tourists from all over the world visit Azerbaijan and this figure increases steadily. Development of tourism, as many things in Azerbaijan, isa state program. Ties have also been built with international organizations and the country joined the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Azerbaijan is a member of the United Nations (UN), Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe (CE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), GUAM, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Organisation of Economic Cooperation (OEC), UNESCO, TURKSOY etc.



ALEXANDRA ERLAGER is a former private banker and co-founder of two offshore banks. She is also editor-in-chief of the largest corporate blog on Offshore Asset Protection, Foreign Investments and Banking, which is published in Russian. Her background is in forming offshore structures, private interest foundations and trusts. She also participates in numerous conferences on tax planning and asset protection and has extensive background in working with high-net worth individuals.