GDP, current US$ billion
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Life Expectancy at birth, years
Turkmenistan is located at the center of the Eurasian continent and has been classified as an upper-middle-income country. It borders Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and, to the west of the country, the Caspian Sea, which offers abundant natural resources of gas and oil deposits.
Turkmenistan’s gas reserves are estimated to be the world’s fourth largest, representing about 10% of global reserves. In addition to cotton and natural gas, the country is rich in petroleum, sulfur, iodine, salt, bentonite clays, limestone, gypsum, and cement—all potential inputs to chemical and construction industries.
China remains the largest market for Turkmenistan’s hydrocarbon exports. In an attempt to diversify gas exports, the country is embarking on the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and, after the recent summit of the heads of the Caspian states, is considering the Trans-Caspian Pipeline. In addition, the potential resumption of gas supplies to Russia, as well as and the possibility of exporting gas to the South Caucasus by using gas swaps with Iran, would help to diminish the risk of overreliance on a single client.
Tight administrative controls and the public sector’s dominant role in economic activity have hindered private sector development in Turkmenistan. Despite the growth of the private sector’s share in various segments of the economy, public sector and state-owned monopolies continue to govern the economy and the formal labor market. Apart from the hydrocarbon sector, foreign direct investment (FDI) remains limited and principally linked to suppliers’ contracts.
Opening the economy, improving the business regulatory environment, accelerating the corporatization and privatization of state-owned enterprises, and investing more heavily in human capital would be vital to boosting private sector development and achieving medium- and long-term national development strategy goals.