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Overview

  • Country Context

    TAJIKISTAN

    2019

    Population, million

    9.3

    GDP, current US$ billion

    8.1

    GDP per capita, current US$

    874

    Life Expectancy at Birth, years (2018)

    70.6

    Over the past decade, Tajikistan has made steady progress in reducing poverty and growing its economy. Between 2000 and 2018, the poverty rate fell from 83 percent of the population to 27.4 percent, while the economy grew at an average rate of 7 percent per year.

    However, the rate of job creation has not kept pace with the growing population, leaving the economy vulnerable to external shocks, and the private sector’s role in the economy remains limited, contributing to only 13 percent of formal employment and 15 percent of total investments. Non-monetary poverty indicators in rural areas remain high, as only 36 percent of the population in rural regions has access to safe drinking water. Tajikistan scores 0.53 in the Human Capital Index, which is lower than the average for its region but higher than the average for its income group.

    Tajikistan’s high vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters represents an additional challenge to successful economic management. Between 1992 and 2016, natural and climate-related disasters led to GDP losses of roughly US$1.8 billion, affecting almost 7 million people.

    The National Development Strategy (NDS) to 2030 sets a target of increasing domestic incomes by up to 3.5 times by 2030 and reducing poverty by half. This target is achievable if Tajikistan transforms its current growth model and gives the private sector more opportunities to invest, create jobs, and contribute to the economy.

  • Strategy

    World Bank Portfolio in Tajikistan
    Number of projects15
    IDA grants and credit$741 million

    About the World Bank Group in Tajikistan

    Tajikistan joined the World Bank in 1993 and the International Development Association (IDA) in 1994. During this time, the World Bank invested over $1.4 billion to support Tajikistan’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

    Over twenty-five years, the partnership with Tajikistan has evolved in line with changes in local needs and the global economy. Initially, the World Bank focused on post-conflict reconstruction projects in the late 1990s and provided emergency funding in response to food insecurity and natural disasters.

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    Starting in 2000, investments have aimed to restore productivity-led growth and job creation through improved education, better access to healthcare and safe drinking water, enhanced land rights, diversification of agriculture in rural areas, and an improved business environment.

    Following the 2008 and 2014 economic shocks, which impacted Tajikistan through reduced remittances and lower export commodity prices, Bank support aimed at protecting the poorest households and creating income generation opportunities in rural regions.

    Subsequent strategies focused on supporting second generation reforms in agriculture, energy, health, and education, to increase acess to and quality of services for the population. At the same time, the World Bank Group worked closely with the government of Tajikistan, the private sector, civil society and development partners to improve the business environment, promote private investments for better job creation and create sources of sustainable economic growth.

    The current World Bank Group Country Partnership Strategy aims to support Tajikistan’s transition to a new growth model led by investment and exports. The active World Bank portfolio in Tajikistan includes 16 projects (including regional projects) with a net commitment of $560 million. The largest share of the portfolio is in the energy sector (44%), followed by water (16%) and urban and rural development (12%). Other sectors supported by the Bank Group include transport, governance, agriculture, health, education, and social protection.

    Tajikistan and the World Bank Group are currently consulting on strategic priorities to be addressed jointly under the new Country Partnership Framework for 2019–23. This new strategy aims to support the country’s efforts to transform the economy along the “industrial-innovative scenario” spelled out in Tajikistan’s National Development Strategy to 2030.

    Tajikistan became a member of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1994. The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. Since 1997, the IFC has invested $152 million to support 40 private sector projects in the financial, hydropower, retail, tourism, and manufacturing sectors.

    The IFC’s Advisory activities focus on improving the business environment, promoting private sector development, strengthening the financial sector, supporting the improvement of corporate governance practices, promoting electronic and digital financial services, supporting agribusiness, and enabling private sector involvement in infrastructure. The IFC’s investment portfolio in Tajikistan stands at $32 million. The current portfolio comprises 45% in the financial market and 37% in telecommunications, while the rest is distributed among food, retail and agribusiness. 

    Tajikistan’s portfolio is complemented by Trust Fund grants to the amount of $356 million. These grants cover important sectors including education, energy, agriculture, food security and social sectors. Some of the World Bank Group’s technical assistance in Tajikistan is financed directly by the country’s various bilateral and multilateral development partners.

    As an institution of global expertise in development, the World Bank Group invests heavily in research to understand country development experience and shares this cross-country knowledge through analytical and advisory services. In Tajikistan, over 100 publications have been produced on economic and other sector issues since 2000. In addition, advisory services have brought international experience to Tajikistan on private sector development, health, education, energy, agriculture, investment strategies, and climate change.

    Tajikistan became a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in 2002. MIGA has not, so far, provided any political risk guarantees for investment projects in Tajikistan.

  • Economy

    NOTE: Our Spring 2020 Regional Economic Update was published on 8 April 2020, and includes analysis of the economic impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on countries in the region.

    Learn more about how the World Bank Group is coordinating with partners to accelerate the international response and support countries to manage the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Recent Economic Developments

    According to official statistics, GDP growth remained strong in 2019 at 7.5 percent. A jump in exports and a recovery in remittances helped narrow the current account deficit to an estimated 4.3 percent of GDP in 2019. Export earnings rose by 9.4 percent, supported by higher shipments abroad of precious metals and electricity.

    Delays in rolling out the Targeted Social Assistance (TSA) program to an additional 28 regions and slow progress on the decision to increase the TSA’s budget by 10 percent have put this important anti-poverty measure on hold.

    Except for two problem banks, the financial sector has continued on its recovery from the 2016 banking crisis, showing an improvement in the quality of the credit portfolio. The share of nonperforming loans stood at 26 percent at the end of 2019. Banking sector profitability also continued to improve, and the level of dollarization declined to 53 percent at the end of 2019 from a peak of 64 percent in 2015.

    The poverty rate—using Tajikistan’s official poverty line—fell to 27.4 percent in 2018, reflecting a recovery in remittance inflows. The rate of extreme poverty also fell steadily from 18 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2018.

    Economic Outlook

    The COVID-19 outbreak and the closure of Tajikistan’s borders with its neighbors pose significant risks to the economy. GDP growth is expected to fall to 1 percent in 2020 or lower, reflecting the implications of the pandemic and the slowdown in Russia and China. These implications include a sharp decline in trade and lower commodity prices, a likely large drop in remittances, and worsened prospects for the transport and tourism industries. Growth will likely remain weak at about 3.5 percent in 2021–22, supported by public investment ahead of Tajikistan’s commemoration of 30 years of independence in 2021. Should the COVID-19 outbreak extend beyond the six months now underpinning the baseline scenario outlined above, the outlook will be much more negative. Growth could be nil in 2020 or even negative, and the pressure on the current account and fiscal deficits will increase. 

    Prospects for poverty reduction will be undermined by the increase in food prices and the fall in the growth rate and remittances.

    Structural challenges in the Tajik economy also weigh on the country’s development prospects. Governance issues in the state-owned enterprises—including in key sectors of the economy—present high quasi-fiscal risks and threaten the sustainability of public finances. Delays in implementing much-needed structural reforms to improve the business environment will continue to hinder private sector development.

    The construction of the Rogun Hydropower Plant from budget proceeds continues to present a serious risk to macro-fiscal sustainability and to further squeeze social spending.

    Tax reform efforts, the power utility rehabilitation program, and financial sector reform—if implemented successfully—could improve the country’s fiscal management and business environment over the medium term.

    The Government could accelerate progress in reducing extreme poverty by expanding the TSA to those regions currently not covered by the program and by augmenting the TSA to compensate poor households for utility tariff increases. 

  • ALL PROJECTS

    Highlighted Project

    The Second Public Employment for Sustainable Agriculture and Water Management Project

    In Tajikistan, irrigated agriculture is critical for food security and for rural livelihoods. More than 90 percent of agriculture production is from irrigated lands and over half the workforce is engaged in the agriculture sector, contributing to almost 20 percent of GDP.

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    “When I set up my dehkan farm in 2012, it was not easy. We saw the harvest dying, as we did not receive sufficient water for our crops,” says farmer Zulfiya Ishmirzoeva. “Disputes over who will get water first were common among the farmers.”

    The Second Public Employment for Sustainable Agriculture and Water Management Project (PAMP II) supported the Government of Tajikistan in improving water resource management at the local, basin, and national levels. Key to improved irrigation was the rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage infrastructure and support to Water Users Associations, which are community-based organizations linking farmers to an irrigation service provider. The project also supported improved payment and financial accountability practices between the farmers, Water Users Associations, and bulk irrigation service providers through the introduction of a billing system. Training and new equipment for all these groups further helped to improve water planning and the delivery of irrigation services.

    The US$57.9 million for the project, financed by IDA and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, covered 17 of the most food insecure districts in Tajikistan. Approximately 1.4 million people living in these districts have benefited from improved irrigation services and better water management.


LENDING

Tajikistan: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Dushanbe, +992 48 701-5810
48 Ayni Street, Business Center "Sozidanie", 3rd floor, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
tajikistan@worldbank.org
Almaty, +7 727 377-8220
Central Asia Regional Office: 41A Kazybek bi Street, 4th Floor, 050010 Almaty, Kazakhstan
almatyreception@worldbank.org