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moldova

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MOLDOVA


 

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,431,570

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin

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Background:
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru (Dnister) River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. One of the poorest nations in Europe and plagued by a moribund economy, in 2001 Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist as its president. 

Update No: 269 - (29/05/03)

The Moldovans are in a class by themselves. They belong by race to Romania, by language also. Yet by history they are part of Eastern Europe, having been occupied by the Russians, while the Romanians steered an independent path, albeit under the Ceaucescus.
One day, it is still possible that Moldova will join with Romania, from which it was detached in 1940 as Bessarabia. The very possibility is bedevilling Moldova's politics, putting the Russians and Ukrainians in the TransDnester enclave against the idea of staying in Moldova. The communist government of the day is opposed to the idea of union with Romanians, who, anyway with more than enough problems of their own, are loath to take on board the basket case of the Moldovan economy. The equivalent of enosis or reunion is not for now.
Moldova is aiming for inclusion in the EU, like the 10 to be included in 2004. In its own case it cannot expect to be integrated soon, even by 2007, when Romania enters. It has refused the idea of a neighbour agreement, which is decidedly patronising its government feels. Actual membership is the issue.

The economy needs reform
The post-independence plunge of the Moldovan economy has been catastrophic; output being little more than one third of the 1991 level. The previous nationalist governments were complicit with crooks and sleazy elements that prevented proper reform. The communists curiously can offer a new slate, being less corrupt and having learnt from their past mistakes. But the international institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, are laying down strict terms.
The World Bank has set Moldova various conditions, the meeting of which could guarantee financial assistance. For Moldova to receive the second tranche (US$10m) of the World Bank SAC-III loan it is very important for the government to develop a high quality strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction. For the World Bank the completion date for work on the strategy is not important. 
One of the conditions is that Moldova follow International Monetary Fund recommendations. Moldova also needs to take steps to improve the business sector.

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FINANCIAL NEWS

Moldovan exports outside CIS up by 58 per cent

Moldova's foreign trade turnover for the first quarter of 2003 totalled US$252.3m, 47 per cent of which was with CIS countries, according to the CIS statistics committee, Basapres News Agency has reported. Of this, US$105m was in exports and US$147.3m in imports. The trade deficit was US$42.3m. 
The statistics committee reported that Moldova shipped US$48.2m in goods to CIS countries, which is 4 per cent up from last year, and imported US$71.4m worth, or 27 per cent more than last year. Moldova's share of the overall volume of trade between CIS countries is 1 per cent for exports and 1.3 per cent for imports. Moldova exports mainly agricultural goods and imports primarily gas, electricity and coal. 
Moldovan exports to non CIS countries rose by 58 per cent to US$56.8m. Imports decreased by 11 per cent to US$75.9m. In general, Moldova's share of trade with other countries was 0.3 per cent for exports and 0.9 per cent for imports.

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FOREIGN LOANS & AID

US ready to give humanitarian aid to Moldova, Pifer says

The US will be able to provide humanitarian aid to Moldova to ensure stability in the Transdnestrian Republic during its transition period, US Deputy Secretary of State, Steven Pifer, said while meeting with Moldavian president, Vladimir Voronin.
Voronin and Pifer have agreed that the creation of a joint Moldovan-Transdnestrian constitutional commission will be an important step towards finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, the Moldavian president's spokesman said. Pifer also noted the importance of withdrawing Russian military equipment and establishing effective control of the Transdnestrian part of the Moldavian-Ukrainian border as soon as possible. Pifer gave Voronin a message from US President, George Bush, in which the latter expressed support of the Moldavian administration in their democratic reforms, which are aimed at integration with Europe and reuniting the former Soviet republic. Voronin thanked the US president for supporting Moldova.

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SHIPPING

Experts work out Gurgulesti port study

Russian and Moldavian transport agency specialists have begun designing a feasibility study for the modernisation and development of the Danube port of Gurgulesti, the Russian Transport Ministry's state river fleet service (Rosrechflot) said.
One Rosrechflot source noted that the port's construction began back in 1996, but its moorings "to this point have not been used." Tentative expert estimates indicate that creating a modern port with terminals for bulk oil and dry cargoes will require investments of around 150m Euro.
The Rosrechflot sources said that Russian shipping and operating companies that earlier plied Europe's main shipping route "show lively interest in this project and are ready to take part with financing, if its economic expediency is proven." In that event, plans call for the creation of a Russian-Moldovian joint venture for building and running the port, in which Russia will own the controlling stock interest in the new company. Intentions are for Moldova to participate in the project with a 900m-stretch of Danube and the building of port installations. 
The source noted that river-ocean class vessels could make use of the port terminals on their way to Europe with many kinds of cargo, including oil and oil products, grain, timber, metals and mineral fertilisers. Forecast cargo handling volumes are as high as 15 million tonnes a year. 

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