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tajikistan

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  TAJIKISTAN

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
143,100

Population
5,751,000

Principal
ethnic groups

Tajiks 62.3%
Uzbeks 23.5%
Russians 17.6%

Capital
Dushanbe

Currency
Tajik Rouble

President
Imamali Rahmonov

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Background:
Tajikistan has experienced three changes in government and a five-year civil war since it gained independence in 1991 from the USSR. A peace agreement among rival factions was signed in 1997, and implementation reportedly completed by late 1999. Part of the agreement required the legalization of opposition political parties prior to the 1999 elections, which occurred, but such parties have made little progress in successful participation in government. Random criminal and political violence in the country remains a complication impairing Tajikistan's ability to engage internationally.

Update No: 253

The Tajiks are a great beneficiary of the current world crisis. They have given the Americans superb support (not yet recorded fully by the world's media). They gave them full use of forward air bases and turned a blind eye to the operation of 'special forces.'
The leadership saw that the 9:11 events and their aftermath gave them a golden opportunity to escape the Russian nexus. Previously, Tajikistan was little more than a Russian colony, policed and defended by 25,000 troops under Russian officers. Now suddenly, the Western world is showing an interest, with French as well as US troops around.
The world now sees Tajikistan in a new light. Instead of being a remote backwater, it is the neighbour and networker of Afghan affairs next door. The route to Kabul lies through its capital, Dushanbe.
The international bodies are showing great interest, the IMF, the EBRD, the ADB (Asian Development Bank).
Official figures are positive. The GDP of Tajikistan rose by 12.1% in the first nine months of the year on the same period of last year. Industrial output rose by 16% and agricultural output by 13.1%. Inflation in the same period rose by 6.9%.
The foreign trade sector is in deficit, imports exceeding exports by 10.2% or US$50.3m. But the country is attracting investment of at least US$70m, itself modest, but sufficient to cover the deficit. Political leaders have told Franklin Huddle, the US ambassador, that they want to see much more foreign investment in Tajikistan. Now that it is on the map in a big way more interest is likely to be shown by Western and other investors.

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BANKING

Iranian bank to open branch in northern Tajik region


The Iranian bank, Tijorat, will open a branch in Khujand [the centre of Tajikistan's northern Soghd Region], Asia-Plus News Agency has reported.
The press secretary of the Iranian embassy in Tajikistan, Alii Tusi told Asia-Plus that the decision had been taken at a meeting between an Iranian delegation and the administration of Soghd Region and Khujand. The Iranian delegation, including a representative of the Iranian bank, was led by the deputy Iranian ambassador to Tajikistan, Mohammad-Reza Forqani.
During the visit to Soghd, the Iranian diplomats visited higher educational establishments and Zafarobod District. The main aim of the visit was to reach agreements on expanding economic ties between Iranian investors and businessmen in Soghd.

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FOREIGN LOANS & AID

European Union to give €50m aid to Central Asia


The European Union is allocating €50m [US$44m] to Central Asian countries. Most of this money will be used to develop the Tajik economy, the European Union's ambassador [to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan] and the head of the EU office, Mr Alan Waddams, said at a news conference, summing up his visit to Tajikistan, Tajik Television first channel reported.
Waddams said that the main aim of his visit was to restore channels for the provision of EU aid for Tajikistan and look for ways of further expanding cooperation.
A Khovar News Agency correspondent reported that, according to Waddams, the EU understands Tajikistan's increasingly important role in the region, and this justifies increasing and expanding humanitarian aid as well as helping develop the most important industries of the Tajik economy.

Japan gives US$376,000 grant

The Japanese government has given a grant worth US$376,075 for minor projects in Tajikistan, a Tajik TV channel reported recently. Quoting the media information, the money will be used in projects such as to encourage former fighters in the civil war to return to civilian life by providing them with jobs. 
In addition, certain portions of the amount will be allocated for the development of agriculture and restoration of water supply systems in the localities. The grant was signed by Permanent UN coordinator in Tajikistan, Matthew Kahane, and First Secretary of the Japanese embassy in Tajikistan, Tadanori Kumano.

China grants 5m yuan to Tajikistan

A ceremony of signing exchange notes was held on 2nd January. The government of the People's Republic of China will provide a 5m-yuan aid [over US$600,000] to the Tajik government for buying material resources of general use and implementing projects agreed by the two sides, Tajik Television has reported.
The document was signed by Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Isroil Mahmudov for the Tajik side and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Guchang for the Chinese side.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov, and members of the Chinese State Council, Ismail Amat.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Tajik-Russian venture starts mobile phone services in Tajikistan


The North-Western GSM [Russian closed joint-stock] company has begun providing services to customers in Tajikistan, Saidakbar Shukurov, managing director of the Tajik-Russian TT Mobile joint venture (set up in August 2001), has told Asia-Plus News Agency.
Currently the new GSM mobile communications network covers [the Tajik capital] Dushanbe and some centrally administered Districts.
Shukurov said that the founders of the TT Mobile company are the North-Western GSM closed joint-stock company of Russia, with a 75 per cent stake and the Tajik Telecom closed joint-stock company of Tajikistan, with a 25 per cent stake.
TT Mobile was licensed by the Tajik Communications Ministry to provide GSM-standard mobile telephone services inside the country in September 2001, and 25 customers are now making use of the company's services.

Tajikistan expands its mobile telecom market

The prices for mobile telephone calls will go down with the arrival of new mobile telecommunications operators in the Tajik market, Matthew Scanlon, the general manager of the Indigo Tajikistan telecommunications company, said in an interview with the Tajik Asia-Plus newspaper published on 10th January.
"There will soon be three mobile telecommunications companies operating in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, and the competition between them will drive down the prices," Scanlon told the newspaper. "The people will have a choice and the quality of services will improve."
Scanlon also said that his company would start operations within the next two months and that his company's coverage would be the widest in the country.
"We are planning to be become the best mobile telecommunications operator in Tajikistan," the general manager added.

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