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publication October 19, 2021

A Framework for Developing Smart Villages in Azerbaijan


World Bank Azerbaijan


  • Despite decreasing poverty rates, inequality between rural and urban areas is persistent in Azerbaijan.
  • Azerbaijan is well-positioned to take advantage of digital-driven growth.
  • The Smart Villages Readiness Index provides a framework for assessing what different rural areas in Azerbaijan need to use digital technologies more productively.

Azerbaijan exhibits more than two times the inequality of any other country in Europe and Central Asia. Although rural poverty in Azerbaijan has decreased, rural areas in Azerbaijan face persistent gaps in economic opportunities and access to services.

Is digital connectivity the answer to driving more inclusive growth? Two characteristics unique to Azerbaijan make this a real possibility: the average Azerbaijani is just 30 years old, and 95% of the population is covered by 3G or 4G mobile services.

The use of digital connectivity offers the potential to improve economic opportunities, access to services, and governance. A new World Bank report, Smart Villages in Azerbaijan: A Framework for Analysis and Roadmap, aims to help the Government of Azerbaijan take advantage of digital opportunities to drive growth.



English | Azerbaijani

Key Findings:

  • To ensure that access to mobile phones enables digital adoption, Azerbaijan will need to expand access to high-speed mobile broadband connectivity by investing in terrestrial infrastructure supporting mobile networks.
  • Azerbaijan needs to make high-speed broadband internet ubiquitously available, cheaper, and more accessible for all.
  • There is much work to be done to overcome the digital divide in access, adoption, and use of digital connectivity between rural and urban areas and to improve digital skills in rural areas.
  • The Smart Villages Readiness Index, which uses big data and national surveys, is a helpful framework for assessing the readiness of rural areas to use innovation, knowledge, and technology to promote development. According to this assessment, readiness to effectively apply “smart” technology approaches varies widely across the country.
  • The Smart Villages Readiness Index provides a robust and flexible tool for the Azerbaijani government to target policies and investments to the unique characteristics of rural areas across the country.
  • To adapt, adopt and apply the Smart Village analytical approach would entail commitments to capacity building for appropriate government agencies to process, analyze and act on data from a wide range of sources; inter-ministerial platforms for collaboration to advance targeted, regional development; and a program of support over a period of time that pilots, extracts and applies lessons, invests and assesses the effectiveness of various interventions.