Books on Tajikistan
Update No: 293 - (27/05/05)
Tajikistan is a faraway, remote place. But it is strategically situated, next to
Afghanistan, and certain foreigners are interested in it all the same, namely
the Russians, the Americans, the Chinese and the Japanese, indeed, the Europeans
too and the World Bank.
Actually so are the Indians, who have a military base and hospital there, where
the 'Lion of the North,' Shah Massoud, died on September 9th, 2001, two days
before 9:11, struck down by two Islamic fundamentalist suicide bombers in
Tiger Economy Stats….But?
From a statistical point of view Tajikistan is doing incredibly well. Its GDP
has been growing by 9-10% per annum for several years now. It is due to grow by
11% this year.
But this is all from a very low base. It is still the poorest republic of the
FSU - and likely to remain so for a long time.
Encouraged by the good news, however, the World Bank is moving in. The World
Bank on April 21st approved an IDA grant in the amount of US$10m for the
Tajikistan Land Registration and Cadastre System for Sustainable Agriculture
The project's objective is to expand farm privatisation to enable more rural
people to become independent farmers and take management decisions in response
to market forces, by providing them with secure land use rights certificates
distributed in a transparent and fair manner. This project is part of the
government's strategy of improving farm productivity farmland over the course of
the next four years.
Farm privatisation contributes to the development of Tajikistan's agriculture,
which employs more than 70% of the population and generates close to a third of
the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The agriculture sector faced a
severe decline in productivity in the years following independence. However, it
has imported over recent years but remains short of reaching its full potential.
The project is being implemented through the project management unit in Dushanbe
along with the state land committee and the ministry of agriculture. The project
has been divided into four main components such as a farm privatisation and land
registration component that will privatise and register farm land under a
uniform, parcel-based system of land use rights registration, a farm information
and irrigation support component which includes the expansion of the farm
information and advisory service (FIAS), support to on-farm irrigation and water
management, as well as integrated pest management; a project management and
policy support to fund a project management unit (PMU) and policy support for
formulation of national policy issues associated with scaling up farm
During the course of the five-year project, 300 farms will be privatised in what
is hoped will be a transparent and fair manner, for which 75,000 secure land use
certificates will be provided. Farm information services will be expanded to
cover some 36 Raions, at least 10,000 ha of agricultural lands will be restored
through farm irrigation and water management rehabilitation and 3,600 farmers
within project areas would be updated about integrated pest management.
Tajikistan became a member of the World Bank on June 4th, 1993. Since 1996, IDA
has approved 18 projects for a total commitment of about US$322.1m. In addition,
over US$3.5m has been made available to Tajikistan for institution building and
post-conflict assistance on a grant basis.
New energy power-house
For the Russians, Chinese and Iranian, Tajikistan is increasingly important
by reason of its ability to produce a 'green,' that is clean, source of energy
in abundance - hydro-electric power. True, it is far from the market-place. But
it is very cheap in situ and, even with high transport costs, it is increasingly
competitive with highly-priced oil and gas equivalents.
Tajik and Russian officials began construction of the Sangtudinskaya GES-1
(hydropower station-1) power project in the ex-Soviet republic of Tajikistan on
April 15th, Interfax News Agency reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin officially sent a message of greetings to the
official ceremony of the start of building the Sangtuda project in Tajikistan.
"I congratulate you on the start of realisation of the crucial project of
Russian-Tajik cooperation - building of the Sangtudinskaya GES-1. It's
construction and joint use are called upon to become one of the key directions
of economic partnership between our countries, an important stage in the
development of all-round interaction between Russia and Tajikistan," the
Kremlin press service quoted Putin as saying.
Unified Energy Systems CEO, Anatoly Chubais, and Tajik Energy Minister,
Dzhurabek Nurmakhmatov, attended the ceremony.
The company Inter RAO UES and the Energy Ministry of Tajikistan concluded the
agreement on setting up the company OAO Sangtudinskaya GES-1, targeting joint
participation in finalising the facility. Its preliminary cost is 485m Euro.
Under the agreement, the GES-1's initial authorised capital is 100,000 Euro.
Inter RAO UES holds 75% of the hydropower station and 25% is the property of
Tajikistan. The station lies on the Vakhsh River 200km south of Dushanbe. Its
construction began in the late 1980s but was suspended for lack of funds. Last
January the Russian and Tajik sides concluded the agreement on completing the
project. Inter RAO UES is a subsidiary of the company RAO UES and the
Rosenergoatom nuclear concern. The subsidiary is their export-import operator.
Russia, Tajikistan and Iran signed a protocol to complete the construction of
the Sangtuda 1 and 2 hydroelectric power plants at the start of the year. The
Sangtuda-1 facility will be built by Russia and Tajikistan, while the
construction of the Sangtuda-2 plant will be completed by Iran and Tajikistan.
UES plans to complete the Sangtuda-1 project in four years. The Sangtuda-1
hydroelectric power plant will generate electricity both for Tajik consumers and
for export to Russia, former Soviet republics, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In addition, the Sangtuda-1 plant's operations will help better manage the water
resources of the Vakhsh River.
At last Tajikistan has something to sell to the outside world. It takes the
Russian energy giant to make it happen but Chubais' UES is buying into power
generation all across the FSU. In a world where oil prices reflect demand, where
hydro is available on the scale it is here, it is no vain statement to make as
the "King of Bhutan" did recently, that 'hydro is the new oil.'
Dushanbe and Kabul target stronger relations
Tajik president, Emomali Rakhmonov, accompanied by a senior delegation from
Tajikistan, arrived in Kabul recently for an official three-day visit. A meeting
was held between Rakhmonov and Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, at which both
leaders discussed the fight against terrorism and illicit drugs.
"Tajikistan benefits from peace in Afghanistan and Afghanistan benefits
from peace and security in Tajikistan. We share common interests. Tajikistan and
Afghanistan are like twins," Karzai said recently, Interfax News Agency
For his part, Rakhmonov said the most important subject of the meetings and
talks was the exploration of fruitful ways to expand the bilateral relations of
the two neighbouring and friendly countries. Tajikistan and Afghanistan have
signed an agreement to boost further already existing bilateral cooperation
between the two countries. The leaders of both countries also signed several
cooperation protocols in order to strengthen relations between the two
neighbouring countries. The protocols signed include those dealing with energy,
industry, education, trade and transit, good neighbourly relations,
counter-narcotics and counter-terrorisms.