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publicationMay 23, 2023

Gender Dimensions of Cross-Border Trade in Tajikistan

Tajikistan, Women, Gender, Trade

Women in Tajikistan

Nozim Kalandarov/World Bank

Research has shown that the expansion of international trade is essential for poverty reduction, and it provides better job opportunities and increased returns particularly for women. Oftentimes, women face more or different challenges than men that prevent them from fully participating in trade.

This survey aims to quantify the exact nature of challenges women cross-border traders face at the firm-level in Tajikistan. The World Bank Group undertook a survey of 401 cross-border trade firms and 31 customs brokers between March and November 2022.

The research largely focused on areas related to the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, while also researching the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts in the region, transport issues, and safety and security at the borders. 

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the study undertaken in Tajikistan.


Select findings

The survey showed that gender-specific challenges for trade firms in several areas: 

  • Fewer women-led firms reported that guidance and explanations on penalties and official appeal processes are clear and easy to access across government entities. 

  • Awareness of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), known as the Coordinating Committee on Facilitation of Trade Procedures (CCFTP), is very low in Tajikistan.  

  • Fewer women traders stated that their business is consulted regularly or has the opportunity to comment on public consultations regarding changes to official trade processes and procedures. 

  • Among traders that face difficulties finding information, more women stated that official websites are not user-friendly and that the information is not centralized. 

  • More women traders are unsatisfied with the amenities provided at the land border post or airports. 

  • More women reported that caretaking responsibilities affect their ability to trade. 

  • The majority of trade firms are not familiar with Authorized Economic Operator program.

  • Few traders use government enquiry points for trade-related questions, and fewer women than men have used them.

  • A larger share of women traders relies on personal/company savings to finance their business. More men traders use official bank loans. 



Findings demonstrate an opportunity to improve the design of trade interventions to better address the needs of all traders and customs brokers, and women in particular, for example, by: 

  • Expediting the full and effective implementation of the WTO TFA, considering specific challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts

  • Strengthening and promoting the National Trade Facilitation Committee

  • Improving access to official border regulations and procedures

  • Enhancing formal and regular consultations between the government and the private sector, especially women-led businesses

  • Reviewing and publicizing official grievance procedures in a clear and easy-to-access manner

  • Strengthening and promoting electronic declaration systems and establishing suitable infrastructure at Customs and other border agencies

  • Improving infrastructure and facility services at border crossings

  • Recruiting more women staff and improving staff working conditions at Customs and other border agencies and border posts

  • Increasing access to trade finance

This study was financed by the Government of Japan through the Quality Infrastructure Investment Partnership.

The survey is a collaborative effort between World Bank Group Transport and Trade teams.