Azerbaijan saw a substantial reduction in poverty during the 2000s, owing to significant economic growth and policies and programs that improved the distribution of wealth. Seizing the opportunity afforded by the oil boom, Azerbaijan initiated large public sector investment programs and supportive policies to increase wages and social protection transfers to the population, and institutional reforms aimed at modernizing the economy. These efforts translated into double-digit growth and an impressive reduction in poverty. The report underscores that the government's targeted social assistance program has been successful in channeling public transfers to the most needy. On the other hand, high dependence on oil revenues, compounded by the current global economic crisis, presents challenges to maintaining growth and could jeopardize the gains made in poverty reduction. Moreover, while Azerbaijan has made significant progress in building capacity to redistribute the benefits of growth, significant challenges remain in developing the human capital of the population to participate actively in future growth and to close the productivity gap with its comparators in the post crisis world.