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TURKMENISTAN


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,010 7,672 4,000 110
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,120 1,200 950 131
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
488,100 

Population 
4,863,169 

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Turkmens 77%
Uzbeks 9.2%
Russians 6.7%

Capital 
Ashkhabad 

Currency 
Turkman Manat

President 
Saparmurat Niyazov


Update No: 293 - (27/05/05)

Niyazov goes to Moscow
Turkmen President, Saparmurat Niyazov, is something of a recluse. The small-time dictator does not attend meetings of the various international organisations to which his country belongs, doubtless fearing removal in his absence.
But for once he felt he had to go abroad in early May. He arrived in Moscow on May 8th to attend festival events marking the 60th anniversary of V-Day and an informal summit of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
He also held a number of bilateral meetings, his chief reason probably for going. Niyazov met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and the head of the Russian LUKoil company, Vagit Alekperov. Each side discussed prospects of bilateral cooperation. 
During the meeting, Alekperov stressed that Turkmenistan, which has huge energy reserves, was of great interest for business circles in both Russia and the world as a whole. The president of LUKoil said his company would soon submit a programme of cooperation in exploration of oil and gas fields on the Turkmen shelf of the Caspian Sea for consideration by the leadership of Turkmenistan.
Another meeting was held between Niyazov and Chinese President, Hu Jintao. According to the press service of the Turkmen leader, the whole complex of issues of bilateral partnership was discussed during the meeting. "Feeling great respect for you and the Turkmen people as a whole, I would like to invite you to pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China," Hu said during the meeting.

The example to be avoided 
It is for certain that Turkmenbashi, as he likes to be known as, is immensely alarmed at events in Kyrgyzstan and now neighbouring Uzbekistan. The masses are restive and are showing their power. Could it happen in Turkmenistan?
'No' is the probable answer. The regime is simply too repressive to allow it, even more repressive than in Uzbekistan. There are tens of thousands of political prisoners, while the much smaller population makes it easier to police. There is nothing like the swarming Ferghana Valley, which is where all the trouble began for first the Kyrgyz regime and then the Uzbek one.

Turkmenistan records 20% economic growth in 4 months
Still, it is always a good idea to put a gloss on things, especially as high energy prices are working in the regime's favour here right now.
The results of the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan in January-April 2005 were discussed on May 6th. Chairing the session, President Niyazov noted the sustainable development of Turkmenistan's economy.
He said gross domestic product (GDP) increased 20% in the four months, while the state's foreign trade surplus reached US$495m, demonstrating the national industry's efficiency.
Niyazov also announced Turkmenistan will establish a new production of metalware from metal scrap on the basis of the Ashgabat oil machine-building factory within the framework of discussions of prospects of the further realisation of the country's economic potential.
He assessed positively the favourable trends in stock raising, where livestock rose to 17m heads, in construction, transport and communication fields.
Commenting on the situation in the oil and gas field that reported a slight, 1.5-2 per cent decrease in oil refining, Niyazov criticised the leadership of this sector and reprimanded Elly Guranmuradov, the deputy premier in charge of this sector. Niyazov urged that the leadership of the oil and gas sector speed up the work on the development of hydrocarbon fields discovered by geologists, in Yolatan district of Mary region.
Niyazov also spoke on the issues related to the further development of Turkmenistan's network of high-class highways. He instructed the Motor Transport and Roads Minister Baymuhammed Kelov to complete the construction of Ashgabat - Mary highway in one year and also assured that the government would provide all necessary resources taking into account the importance of this transport corridor.

Russia bests Ukraine
The Russian conglomerate, Gazprom, has seemingly outmanoeuvred Ukrainian competitors, securing access to Turkmenistan's vast reserves of natural gas - at least for now. During a recent visit to Ashgabat, Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller and Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov resolved a pricing dispute, clearing the way for the resumption of gas exports to Russia. 
While Russia would seem to have the upper hand in the struggle over Turkmen energy, Niyazov's fickle nature virtually ensures that the geo-economic manoeuvring will continue.

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ENERGY

Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan reach pipe deal


A proposed trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan was given the go ahead recently by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which declared that the multi-billion dollar project was feasible, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
"This is good news for all the 3 countries," Pakistani Petroleum Minister Amanullah Jadoon told reporters after a meeting attended by Turkmen Oil and Gas Minister Amangelgi Pudakov and Afghan Engineering Minister Mir Mohammad Saddiq.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who chaired the meeting said the 1,600km long gas pipeline would improve ties and strengthen regional cooperation.
One of the major hurdles to undertaking the project was the quantity of gas reserves in Turkmenistan's Daulatabad field. Pakistan insisted the project would be profitable only if it provided 3bn cubic feet of gas supply every day.
The security of the proposed project, in view of the volatile situation in Afghanistan, was another major concern of the planners.
Experts observe the project could ultimately be extended to India as well where energy requirements are increasing by 27% each year.

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EUROPEAN UNION

Turkmenistan ready for broader ties with EU

Turkmen President, Saparmurat Niyazov, recently expressed Turkmenistan's readiness to continue the work on strengthening and developing the partnership with the European Union, the Turkmen leader said during his meeting with the visiting Ashgabat Deputy Director General of the EU Commission (EUC) on external relations, Michael Lee, Interfax News Agency reported.
Niyazov's press service said that during the meeting both parties discussed the present situation, key avenues of cooperation and prospects for expanding contacts between Central Asian nations, among them Turkmenistan and the EU are also included. "Turkmenistan is committed to vigorous and constructive cooperation with major international organisations if such contacts are guided by the principle of equality and respect for each other's interests," the press service said. Niyazov also told Lee about Turkmenistan's democratic processes and plans to hold elections, including the country's presidential vote in 2009, the press service said. After the meeting, the EU official told Interfax that a large number of topics were discussed and the meeting was highly productive.
Among other issues, the meeting's agenda involved energy supplies, roads, relations between Central Asia and the EU, the TASIS programme and ways to increase the volume of air traffic between Central Asia and the EU, Lee added. The TASIS programme, being successfully carried out in Turkmenistan, was cited as a clear example of this cooperation within the framework of which many important projects were implemented. The European countries remain the largest trade partners of Turkmenistan.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Niyazov authorises contract with Huawei Technologies

Turkmen president, Saparmurat Niyazov, signed a decree on May 2nd authorising the Turkmen Communication Ministry to sign a contract worth 2.5m Euro with the Chinese company, Huawei Technologies Investment Co Ltd. According to the decree, the Chinese company will supply transmission units, equipment for an automatic telephone station and fibre optic cable to be used to implement a project on the construction of the fibre optic line Ashgabat - Dashoguz. Turkmen communication workers have recently implemented a number of projects on the expansion of the telephone network of Ashgabat and development of cellular-phones. Meanwhile, Niyazov is expected to have a number of bilateral meetings, including with the head of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao, within the framework of his visit to Moscow to participate in the CIS summit and celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of V-Day, the Chinese embassy in Russia said, turkmenistan.ru website reported.
The current state and prospects of development of the Chinese-Turkmen relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest are expected to be discussed at the meeting.

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