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. Bands of indigenous guerrillas (called "basmachi") fiercely contested Bolshevik control of the area, which was not fully reestablished until 1925. Tajikistan was first created as an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan in 1924, but the USSR designated Tajikistan a separate republic in 1929 and transferred to it much of present-day Sughd province. Ethnic Uzbeks form a substantial minority in Tajikistan, and ethnic Tajiks an even larger minority in Uzbekistan. Tajikistan became independent in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and experienced a civil war between regional factions from 1992 to 1997. Tajikistan has endured several domestic security incidents since 2010, including armed conflict between government forces and local strongmen in the Rasht Valley and between government forces and criminal groups in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. In September 2015, government security forces rebuffed attacks by the Ministry of Interior led by a former high-ranking official in the Ministry of Defense. President Emomali RAHMON, who came to power during the civil war, used the attacks to ban the main opposition political party in Tajikistan. In May 2016, RAHMON further strengthened his position by having himself designated “Leader of the Nation” with limitless terms and lifelong immunity through constitutional amendments ratified in a referendum. The country remains the poorest in the former Soviet sphere. Tajikistan became a member of the World Trade Organization in March 2013. However, its economy continues to face major challenges, including dependence on remittances from Tajiks working in Russia, pervasive corruption, and the opiate trade in neighboring Afghanistan.
Central Asia, west of China, south of Kyrgyzstan
hydropower, some petroleum, uranium, mercury, brown coal, lead, zinc, antimony, tungsten, silver, gold
Population - distribution
the country's population is concentrated at lower elevations, with perhaps as much as 90% of the people living in valleys; overall density increases from east to west
Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business
DUSHANBE (capital) 822,000 (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Republic of Tajikistan
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Jumhurii Tojikiston
- Local short form
- Geographic coordinates
- 38 33 N, 68 46 E
- Time difference
- UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Tajikistan is a poor, mountainous country with an economy dominated by minerals extraction, metals processing, agriculture, and reliance on remittances from citizens working abroad. The 1992-97 civil war severely damaged an already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Today, Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. Less than 7% of the land area is arable and cotton is the most important crop. Tajikistan imports approximately 70% of its food. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, antimony, 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 well below its capacity.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 5,099,934,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -264,740,340
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 3,320,954,925
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 824,913,290
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 344,147,210
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 231,825,040
cotton, grain, fruits, grapes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats
aluminum, cement, vegetable oil
- aluminum, electricity, cotton, fruits, vegetable oil, textiles
- Turkey 19.8%, Kazakhstan 17.6%, Switzerland 13.7%, Iran 8.7%, Afghanistan 7.5%, Russia 5.1%, China 4.9%, Italy 4.8% (2015)
- petroleum products, aluminum oxide, machinery and equipment, foodstuffs
- China 42.3%, Russia 18%, Kazakhstan 13.1%, Iran 4.7% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A high-risk political and economic situation and an often very difficult business environment can have a very significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very high.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
- Significant hydroelectric potential
- Wealth of raw material resources (aluminum, cotton, and materials)
- Financial support of international donors, including China
- Weak foreign exchange reserves
- Dependence on remittances from expatriate workers
- Risk of destabilization associated with Islamist terrorism
- High levels of poverty and poor performance regarding governance
Growth, sustained in 2016 by considerable public investment, is expected to decline in 2017. Activity in the construction sector will continue to be sustained by the various major projects launched in 2016, like the construction of the massive Rogun dam. However, investments overall are expected to slow, while private investment will remain hampered by an unsatisfactory business climate and high interest rates (up from 9% to 11% in July 2016).
Meanwhile, the Tajik economy, which is highly dependent on expatriate remittances (accounting for about 30% of GDP), three quarters of which come from Russia, is expected to be hit by weak flows of revenue from workers employed abroad. Despite the end of Russia's economic recession, remittances are likely to remain limited by Moscow's decision to enact a law limiting immigration, specifically from countries which are not members of the Eurasian Economic Union. Household consumption, affected by the downward trend in this important source of income, could, furthermore, slow in response to the acceleration in prices.
Inflation looks set to be fueled by higher electricity prices and more expensive imported products resulting from the somoni's depreciation against the dollar.
Budget expenditures are projected to continue to be directed towards welfare in 2017 (40% of total spending). The government intends to pursue its program of infrastructure investment, but is likely to revise its plans downwards in order to avoid too great a deterioration of the deficit. Electricity subsidies could be reduced, especially those in favour of the aluminum company TALCO, which are very costly in budget terms. Support for the banking sector is, however, expected to put pressure on the public finances. Budgetary revenue, mainly derived from taxes, is likely to be hit by the weakness in activity, keeping the deficit at current levels.
The current account deficit is unlikely to decline. Exports are not projected to increase, given the lack of significant movements in export prices (for aluminum, zinc and metals) and given expectations of only weak growth in demand from Tajikistan's main export markets (Turkey, Kazakhstan).
Because of the weakness of the manufacturing base, making the country highly dependent on foreign products, imports are expected to remain high, especially those needed for infrastructure projects. A reduction in the deficit will not be helped by a lack of any increase in expatriates' remittances, but international financial support (China, EBRD, and IMF) could prevent further deterioration.
The country will remain vulnerable to external shocks, given the movement in its currency's exchange rate. After the sharp depreciation observed in early 2016 (-11% against the dollar between January and mid-February), the central bank (NBT) intervened to defend the somoni's exchange rate, thus stabilizing the currency. The highly restrictive exchange controls had to be eased, because of their impact on the economy. The level of exchange reserves, put at 2.5 months of imports (including gold) in July 2016, leaves little leeway for the NBT to support the currency. Downward pressures are still expected to persist, given the current account deficit, and could force the State to devalue the somoni in 2017. An exchange rate adjustment could also be among the conditions set by the IMF for the conclusion of a financial aid agreement currently being negotiated. The topic of banking will also be at the heart of these discussions, because of the sector's worsening position, as reflected by the increase in non-performing loans (from 14% in late 2015 to 30% in June 2016).
Elected to the presidency for the fourth time in a row in November 2013, Emomali Rahmon obtained popular support by referendum in May 2016 allowing him to stay as Head of State for an unlimited term. The other constitutional amendments approved at the same time provide for a reduction in the minimum age for presidential candidates from 35 to 30 years, which will allow Mr. Rahmon's son to stand for office in 2020, if his father (64 years) is unable to stand again.
The security situation remains unstable, given the extremist threat from the Taliban on the Afghan border and the risks of Islamist terrorism spreading within the country. Meanwhile, tensions continue to run high over proposals to delimit the borders with Uzbekistan and Kirghizstan. The worsening economic situation and high poverty levels (over 30% of the Tajik population lives below the poverty threshold) could exacerbate social tensions.
Finally, performance regarding the World Bank's governance indicators, already weak with regard to the fight against corruption (180th in 2015 out of 204 countries), is on a worsening trend.