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tajikistan

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  TAJIKISTAN

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
143,100

Population
6,578,681

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: 257 - (30/05/02)

The Tajik republic is doing well. It is a firm ally of the US against terrorism, exchanging embassies and establishing good relations. The outcome of the recent Afghan war could hardly have been more favourable. The Northern Alliance, dominated by ethnic Tajiks, has prevailed and there are three Tajiks in top posts in the new government. Of 38 new generals appointed in the reconstructed army, 37 are ethnic Tajiks.
Tajikistan itself has dealt with its own moderate Islamic fundamentalists more tolerantly of late, having won a war against them in the early 1990s. The (not so very) post-communist government has brokered a peace with them, which is now more likely to be sustained.

Russia still allies
Having the US as an ally should change things a great deal for the Tajiks. But they are keeping up the old ties with the Russians, who provide basic defence. Some 20,000 Russian troops patrol the borders. The accord, under which they do so, dating from April 1999, has been renewed.

Foreign sponsors needed
What Tajikistan needs in addition is the sponsorship of its economic development such as Germany is offering Kyrgyzstan next door. There has been a 70% jump in foreign direct investment (FDI). But more is needed than that. The sums involved are not so impressive. FDI was US$49m in 2001, no very big figure. Some 43% of this came from the UK, in the shape of several jvs. FDI in 2002, however, is shaping up to be around US$200m, which shows how 9:11 has changed everything.
The real need is for a more 'hands-on' approach by a major country like Germany, prepared to extend technical and institutional support. Japan has expressed interest in Tajikistan and could be the vital catalyst here.
An alternative is France; Chirac and Rakhmonov have been in communication recently and the French foreign minister, Hubert Vedrin, visited Dushanbe. But their cooperation is geopolitical, rather then economic, French troops being disposed there. 

The economy recovers
The civil war with the Islamicists naturally devastated what was already the poorest economy in the CIS. Then came a three-year-long drought, ending only recently.
There is plenty of water in the Pamir Mountain passes, but not in the plains where it is wanted. A water crisis is building up throughout central Asia.
From very low base figures, Tajikistan is rapidly picking up again. GDP growth was 8.3% in 2000 and 10.2% in 2001, while it is projected at 6% for 2002. But this is negligible in absolute terms after a massive one half contraction since independence in 1991. There is a great deal still to do.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Tajiks interested in Russian technologies

The organisation of a bilateral working operation between Tajikistan and the Russian Federation in the field of protection of the most important economic units was at the centre of discussions between the Tajik Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov and visiting Russian Deputy Minister of Atomic Energy, Anatoly Kotelnikov, Asia-Plus News Agency has reported.
It was noted at the meeting that Tajikistan and Russia are strategic partners and they have a mutual interest in the sphere of protection of the national border of Tajikistan. Oqulov noted that present conditions required the improvement of the communication system and use of the newest means of border protection. To this effect, the Tajik Premier disclosed Tajikistan's interest in purchasing Russian technologies in that sphere. 
He also offered the launch of a Tajiks-Russian joint venture on the basis of Vostokredmet and Tajiktextilmaash. Kotelnikov, in turn, noted that the Russian delegation had arrived in Tajikistan at the direction of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. 
During the visit, members of the Russian delegation were also due to hold talks with senior representatives to discuss details of bilateral cooperation and further expansion of cooperation between the two countries in that area.

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FOREIGN LOANS & AID

Tajikistan reports receipt of aid in first quarter

Thirty-five countries gave US$36.8m in humanitarian aid to Tajikistan in January-March 2002, the State Statistics Committee has told ITAR-TASS News Agency. The humanitarian aid exceeded 47,000 tonnes.
Almost 37,000 t of flour and grain, 1,700 t of vegetable oil, clothing, footwear, medicines and construction materials were supplied to regions stricken by natural calamities.
The United States, Latvia, Germany, Russia and Uzbekistan made the largest donations.

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