This is a tale of two seemingly different countries that is actually one -- Azerbaijan. One recently released report, prepared by a leading international financial institution, pronounces Azerbaijan to be one of the world's most business-friendly nations. Another report, prepared by a leading corruption watchdog group, asserts that graft is deeply entrenched in Azerbaijan and growing worse. The sharply different depiction of business conditions in Azerbaijan is stoking debate in Baku.
First, the good news: a report prepared by the International Finance Corp., the private lending arm of the World Bank, titled "Doing Business 2009," rated Azerbaijan 33rd overall in a survey of the business climates in 181 countries. Each country was ranked in 10 categories relating to "the ease of doing business." The survey covered the period of April 2007 through June of this year.
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Rovshan Ismayilov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku.