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macrohistory & world report

Republic of Tajikistan

Map of Tajikistan

Tajikistan (Dushanbe photo) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. The 1992-1997 civil war severely damaged an already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Because of a lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, more than one million Tajik citizens work abroad - roughly 90% in Russia - supporting families in Tajikistan through remittances. Less than 7% of the land area is arable and cotton is the most important crop. Until 2008, cotton production was closely monitored and controlled by the government. In the wake of the National Bank of Tajikistan's admission in December 2007 that it had directed the AgroInvestBank to improperly lend money to politically connected investors in the cotton sector, the IMF canceled its stand-by assistance program in Tajikistan. As part of the Tajik government's subsequent reforms, over a half billion dollars in farmer debt has been forgiven. In 2008 Tajikistan passed new law authorizing farmers to decide for themselves what crops to grow, and this has resulted in a gradual decrease in cotton output. Tajikistan imports approximately 60% of its food, most of which comes by rail. Uzbekistan closed one of the rail lines into Tajikistan in late 2011, hampering the transit of goods to and from the southern part of the country. As a result, food and fuel prices increased to the highest levels since 2002. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, and tungsten. Industry consists mainly of small obsolete factories in food processing and light industry, substantial hydropower facilities, and a large aluminum plant - currently operating below 25% of capacity. Electricity output expanded with the completion of the Sangtuda-1 hydropower dam - finished in 2009 with Russian investment. The smaller Sangtuda-2 hydropower dam, built with Iranian investment, began operating in 2012 at a limited capacity. The Tajik government is tens of millions of dollars in arrears for both Sangtuda dams, and Sangtuda-2 has been closed for "maintenance" since January 2014. The government is pinning its drive for energy independence on completion of the Roghun dam, which is scheduled for mid-2014. In 2010, the government began a coerced sale of shares in the Roghun enterprise to its population, ultimately raising over $180 million before stopping under intense criticism from international donors, but the dam is likely to cost billions of dollars. The World Bank funded two feasibility studies (technical-economic, and social-environmental) for the dam. If built according to plan, Roghun will be the tallest dam in the world, will operate year around, and will significantly expand Tajikistan's electricity output. In 2013, the Tajik government finalized an agreement to import one million tons of fuel and oil products from Russia each year, at reduced prices. Tajikistan's economic situation remains fragile due to uneven implementation of structural reforms, corruption, weak governance, seasonal power shortages, and its large external debt burden."

Economic growth rate
2011: 6%
2010: 6.5%
2009: 3.9%

Work force in agriculture
2009: 49.8%

Unemployment rate
2009: 2.2%

Export commodities
Aluminum, electricity, cotton, fruits, vegetable oil, textiles.

Export partners
2009: Turkey 28.4%, Russia 14.4%, Uzbekistan 10%, Iran 6.2%, China 5.6%, Norway 4.5%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 102nd among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 5.3% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 3.9% <

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 26%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 1.21 persons per 1,000 population per year

Literacy, Age 15 and Older
2003: males 99.6 percent, females 99.1 percent

Ethnic groups
2000 census: Tajik 79.9%, Uzbek 15.3%, Russian 1.1%, Kyrgyz 1.1%, other 2.6%

Religions
2003 census: Sunni Muslim 85%, Shia Muslim 5%. Other 10%

Languages:
Russian largely used in government and business

Geography

East of Uzbekistan, south of Kyrgyzstan, west of China and north of Afghanistan. Landlocked. Equivalent to 378 by 378 kilometers or roughly 236 by 236 miles. Hot summers and mild winters.

Government

Tajikistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, former republics within the Soviet Union that today are closely associated with Russia economically, in defense and foreign policy.

The president is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term. He appoints the prime minister, who runs the government. There is a bicameral legislature with an upper chamber appointed and a lower chamber with 63 members elected by popular vote to five-year terms. 

Capital: Dushanbe. 

Recent History

World Factbook:The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s and 1870s, but Russia's hold on Central Asia weakened following the Revolution of 1917. Bolshevik control of the area was fiercely contested and not fully reestablished until 1925.

Independent in 1991 following collapse of the Soviet Union.

1992-97: Civil war between regional factions.

2010: Several security incidents in 2010, including a mass prison-break from a Dushanbe detention facility, the country's first suicide car bombing in Khujand, and armed conflict between government forces and opposition militants in the Rasht Valley.

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.