BRIEF January 17, 2019

Reflections: Tajikistan's Partnership with the World Bank Group

For the past 25 years, the World Bank Group has partnered with Tajikistan to help boost economic growth, reduce poverty and unleash the country’s full development potential. The World Bank Group’s partnership with Tajikistan has evolved with the country’s changing needs, and built upon its achievements and successes. Below are some reflections from a few of the people who contributed, and are still contributing, to making this partnership a success.

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“Over the past 25 years, Tajikistan has consistently developed multifaceted ties and cooperation with various countries of the world, influential regional and international organizations and, in particular, with the World Bank Group.

Over the whole period of cooperation with the World Bank, significant progress has been observed, while large-scale projects and programs have been implemented successfully. The Republic of Tajikistan became a member of the World Bank in 1993, and a member of the International Development Association in 1994. Since then, the World Bank’s support to Tajikistan has totaled $1.4 billion.

It should be noted that cooperation between Tajikistan and the World Bank in the future can become the foundation for the rolling-out of a socially-oriented, sustainable and innovative model of the national economy. Such a model would be able to leverage integration processes, contributing to enhanced industrial, scientific technical ties and addressing living standards and livelihood related issues of the Tajik people.

In the course of further implementation of the goals and objectives set by the Leader of the Nation - President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon - Tajikistan is open to continuing and firmly expanding both friendly and business relations, as well as mutual cooperation with its traditional partners, in particular with the World Bank Group."

Faiziddin Qahhorzoda, Minister of Finance, Republic of Tajikistan

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''The World Bank Group is a reliable development partner of the Republic of Tajikistan. In 25 years of mutual cooperation, the World Bank has effectively implemented its mission of a “development institute”, all the time holding a constructive and impactful position with regard to the country’s development. A solid portfolio of successfully implemented projects in key sectors of the economy is strong evidence of that. I would like to emphasize the Bank’s leading and largely crucial role in the country’s economic reform agenda. Thanks to the timely support of the World Bank, Tajikistan has managed to achieve substantial economic growth, reduce poverty and make improvements in such sectors as agriculture, education, health, utilities and social protection.''

Nematullo Hikmatullozoda, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Republic of Tajikistan

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''Energy security is Tajikistan’s national strategic goal and the World Bank is one of our major partners in this direction. Sustainable development within the country and fostering regional power trade initiatives are the key directions of our cooperation with the World Bank. To help during hard times, to support the development of the energy sector, and to promote new regional power ties – are the mottos of our joint cooperation.''

Usmonali Usmonzoda, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Republic of Tajikistan

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''Promoting productive cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and development partners, in particular the World Bank Group, is key for expanding the scope of economic integration and implementing key reforms in various areas of the real sector of the economy. In this context, while highly appreciating the importance of making our future cooperation stronger for an improved investment climate, private sector development and effective public finance and property management, we pay particular attention to attracting direct investments aimed at implementing the country’s development goals and objectives.''

Farrukh Hamralizoda, Chairman of the State Committee on Investment and State Property Management, Republic of Tajikistan

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''I first visited Tajikistan 20 years ago, not long after the peace agreement was signed. At that time, the country was still in the throes of the terrible damage caused by years of conflict. I was happy to see that the World Bank was welcomed by the Tajikistan authorities and was able to engage quickly and in many ways effectively. Since then, Tajikistan has made much visible progress, even as many challenges remain looking forward. I am happy to see that the World Bank continues to assist the country in its journey towards a bright future. The wonderful people of Tajikistan deserve peace, prosperity, and good government.''

Johannes Linn, Regional Vice President, World Bank, 1996-2003

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''It has been a quarter of a century since Tajikistan became a member of the World Bank. I was fortunate to be part of the first team, which forged a close partnership between Tajikistan and the Bank through the development of the first Country Assistance Strategy, Country Economic Memorandum and policy lending operation. I also established the Country Office and served as the first Country Manager. I have since kept a close watch on the development situation in the country and remain full of optimism for the hard-working people of Tajikistan, in-spite of the difficult challenges facing the country.''

Mustapha Rouis, Country Manager, World Bank, 1999-2002

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''Having served as Country Manager for Tajikistan between 2003 and 2007, I greatly enjoyed working in the country and seeing how the World Bank's support contributed to the development of Tajikistan. During my presence there, Tajikistan enjoyed rapid economic growth and poverty was lowered. Now that there are signs that relations among Central Asian countries are improving, in particular between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, I expect Tajikistan's economic growth and development prospects to be stronger than before.''

Cevdet Denizer, Country Manager, World Bank, 2003-2007

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''I served as Country Director for Central Asia from 2006–2008 and I still hold Tajikistan dear in my heart. When I returned to Tajikistan in 2017 for the launch of the CASA-1000 project, after almost ten years, I was very happy to observe the development of the country. When I finished my term in 2008, the country was going through a difficult period; the Global Financial Crisis hit the region hard, and many Tajik workers were returning from working abroad. It is good to see the country back on a trajectory of development and growth. The country has a young population and accelerating growth is important to give its young people a positive future prospect.''

Annette Dixon, Country Director for Central Asia, World Bank, 2006–2008

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''During the five years of my work in Tajikistan, in the early 2000s, I was able to witness how this beautiful small country and its people were able to weather the storms of various crises (food, energy, and economic) that this country faced and how they came out of those dire situations with greater resilience and resolve. This bodes well for this young country’s future prospects, as it continues to grow economically and improve the standards of living of its beautiful people. My best wishes for a continued productive partnership between Tajikistan and the World Bank Group.''

R. Sudharshan Canagarajah, Lead Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank, 2005-2010

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''Tajikistan has over the years earned and solidified a well-deserved reputation as a reliable upstream riparian that has never compromised the water needs of downstream countries. Additionally, it has underscored its commitment to applying international best-practices to the development of water management and hydropower assets. At this quarter-century cusp of the World Bank in Tajikistan, the regional circumstances and stars seem aligned for Tajikistan to further deepen regional cooperation in the water-energy spheres to build a prosperous future for its citizens. All the very best to the people of Tajikistan in this important endeavor.''

Ranjit Lamech, Energy Practice Manager, South and Central Europe, Western Balkans and Central Asia, 2009-2016

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''Tajikistan is a hidden treasure. From the Zarafshon River to the Pamir peaks, it beguiles the unsuspecting visitor with surprising physical beauty, both in the welcoming faces of villagers and in the vista of mountain passes. Yet for all the remarkable progress of the past quarter-century in reducing extreme poverty, the people of Tajikistan are increasingly vulnerable to climatic disasters. The country’s most abundant asset – fresh water – may paradoxically become its most serious threat. I have seen the power of Tajik floods and mudslides, and it is terrifying. Fortunately, with wise policies and close partners, Tajikistan is now investing in strategies to make infrastructure more climate-resilient. Such forward-looking measures are commendable to protect the human treasure of Tajikistan.''

Marsha McGraw Olive, Country Manager, World Bank, 2011-2014

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''Serving the people of Tajikistan as World Bank Director for Central Asia has been one of the most treasured moments of my professional life. I enjoyed working for this young nation of young people with enormous potential. We had many innovative projects to help the people of Tajikistan realize their dreams. I will of course never forget our support in carrying out an independent assessment of the Rogun Hydro Power Plant project. The Bank has been a true friend of Tajikistan in helping it realize its development goals. I wish this partnership success for the wellbeing of the people of Tajikistan.''

Saroj Kumar Jha, Regional Country Director, World Bank, 2012-2016

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''I really enjoyed working in Tajikistan and all my travels to and around the country. I was privileged to lead a great team in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the ground and became impressed by many of our clients in Tajikistan – very entrepreneurial, honest, and proud. We were involved in several important “firsts” in the country: IFC was the first international financial institution that invested in IT and telecom, pioneered local currency financing for the financial sector, and supported the first PPP in energy. We also helped a local confectionery business to develop into a modern operation. In addition to investment activities, IFC has been involved in the full range of advisory activities – from comprehensive advisory programs in the agri sector to investment climate reforms and the financial sector. As I reflect on my experience with Tajikistan, I wish the country a lot of success with its reforms and with achieving high growth rates for the benefit of the people.''

Tomasz A. Telma, Director, Europe and Central Asia, International Finance Corporation, 2011-2017

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''I loved working in Tajikistan and the memories of my travels there make me smile. At the heart of Central Asia, Tajikistan provides some of the best opportunities for tourism because of its mountainous landscape, the hospitality of its people, and the unparalleled quality of its fruits and vegetables. Tajikistan is also central to the production of clean hydro power energy and connecting Central Asia and South Asia. Although small in size, the Pamir Energy Hydro Power Plant presents an excellent case of high development impact, by using the power of water to supply electricity to the remote region of Gorno-Badakhshan.''

Moazzam Mekan, Regional Manager, Central Asia, International Finance Corporation, 2012-2018

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"I am very proud of what our clients in the private and public sectors in Tajikistan accomplished together with the great team from the IFC, including milestone investments in infrastructure, finance, and manufacturing, as well as significant reforms to improve access to finance, corporate governance, and the wider investment climate. Our work really reflects the best that IFC has to offer across investment and advisory services and I saw this reflected every day during my four years in the trust of our partners and in the results we achieved together. Tajikistan is blessed with tremendous natural beauty, a young and entrepreneurial population, and a rich endowment of natural resources and, looking ahead, I have no doubt that living standards will continue to improve as the private sector harnesses these assets to drive inclusive growth. I look forward to seeing this progress as a frequent visitor and lifelong ‘friend of Tajikistan’!''

Christopher David Miller, Country Officer, International Finance Corporation in Tajikistan, 2012-2016

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''During my time as Country Manager in Tajikistan, the World Bank continued to focus on the country’s two major assets, namely its young population and its significant hydro power resources. We supported the expansion of results-based financing in the health sector, focusing on the wellbeing of mothers and children during the vital first 1,000 days. We also developed an innovative and inspirational Youth Entrepreneurship program, providing young people with guidance and support on how to set up small businesses, giving them hope that they could 'make it' in Tajikistan. The launch of a Jobs diagnostic and roadmap was also an important landmark with its emphasis on creating an enabling environment for job opportunities for Tajikistan’s young population. Given the important role hydro power has in Tajikistan’s economy, both domestically and as an earner of foreign exchange for exported energy during the summer period, partnering with the government and other development partners such as the AIIB and EDB to fund the rehabilitation of the [3200] MW Nurek hydro power plant was another major achievement.''

Patricia Veevers-Carter, Country Manager, World Bank, 2014-2017

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''Tajikistan has great potential to build a better future for all of its citizens. It has strong human capital, abundant water and hydropower potential, agriculture and mining resources, picturesque mountains and valleys, and proximity to big and growing markets to the south, east, and north of the country. To realize this potential, it needs to unleash the power of the private sector. The World Bank is committed to continue supporting Tajikistan in realizing its full potential.''

Lilia Burunciuc, Regional Country Director, World Bank, 2016-present

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''I remember my first project at the World Bank, as a Finance Consultant. It was a challenging and interesting experience to lay the foundation for aviation sector reforms. Two years later, I came back to Tajikistan, from abroad, to see the outcomes of the aviation project. This joint work with the Government of Tajikistan resulted in the formation of several independent entities with an improved level of service and price policy. This is just one example out of thousands of World Bank Group supported projects in different areas which help Tajikistan to develop its economy. My work for the World Bank Group has effected other areas of my professional development and life, as well. For example, as Head of the IFC in Tajikistan, I promote gender equality not only as a member of the Group, but also as a Tajik woman.''

Manizha Mamadnabieva, Country Officer, International Finance Corporation in Tajikistan, 2016-present