Tajikistan’s National Development Strategy: achievable or overly ambitious?

Tajikistan joins a string of Central Asian countries eager to boost their standing on the political arena. President Emomali Rahmon unveiled the country’s ‘National Development Strategy’ (NDS), which aims to promote the conditions for ‘sustainable human development’ by 2030. Priorities include: transforming Tajikistan’s agrarian-heavy economy into a more industrialised one, reforming state institutions and reducing citizens’ dependence on remittances from abroad.

According to the World Bank, full implementation of the plan would require the Tajikistani government to raise an estimated 120 billion USD, four times its annual GDP (PPP). That being said, sourcing foreign investment for the NDS still remains speculative. The Rahmon administration anticipates that agriculture will continue to occupy the largest share of Tajikistan’s income, to raise funds for the projected expenditure on education, healthcare, infrastructure and so forth, despite the introduction and development of other sectors, namely tourism.

A diminishing population also threatens to thwart the NDS. As the country’s economically active flock towards Russia, where the average monthly salary is 73% higher (2018), the hope of abandoning the need of remittances, as well as raising a substantial workforce, seems distant. Is the sustainable development Tajikistan longs for achievable in ten years?

Above all, the government must allow the private sector to flourish liberally, as current employment availability does not suffice, instead of limiting such business ventures to the country’s elite, such as Shamsullo Sakhibov, Rahmon’s son-in-law. What many demand is a level-playing field. Will Rahmon’s thirty-year-long mandate, bursting with countless corruption allegations, promise an end to Tajikistan’s economic woes?

 

By Fabian Piga

Sector Leader: Fabian Piga

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