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 since 2012. 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 percent 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.
Although in July 2019 Turkmenistan signed a five-year contract with the Russian Federation to supply natural gas, the resumed volumes will be significantly lower than three years ago, making China the largest market for Turkmenistan’s hydrocarbon exports. Additionally, the country is in the process of constructing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. Gas exports to other regions through gas swap mechanisms would help 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. Despite the growth of the private sector’s share in 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.
Opening the economy, improving the business regulatory environment, accelerating the corporatization and privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and investing more heavily in human capital would be vital to boosting private sector development and achieving medium- and long-term national development goals.