Economy - overview: Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. Because of a lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, as many as a million Tajik citizens work abroad, almost all of them in Russia, supporting families in Tajikistan through remittances. Less than 7% of the land area is arable. Cotton is the most important crop, and its production is closely monitored, and in many cases controlled, by the government. In the wake of the National Bank of Tajikistan's admission in December 2007 that it had improperly lent money to investors in the cotton sector, the IMF canceled its program in Tajikistan. A reform agenda is underway, according to which over half a billion dollars in farmer debt is being forgiven, and IMF assistance has been reinstated. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, and tungsten. Industry consists only of a large aluminum plant, hydropower facilities, and small obsolete factories mostly in light industry and food processing. The civil war (1992-97) severely damaged the already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Tajikistan's economic situation remains fragile due to uneven implementation of structural reforms, corruption, weak governance, seasonal power shortages, and the external debt burden. Electricity output expanded with the completion of the Sangtuda-1 hydropower dam - finished in 2009 with Russian investment. The smaller Sangtuda-2, built with Iranian investment, began operating in 2011. The government of Tajikistan is pinning major hopes on the massive Roghun dam which, if finished according to Tajik plans, will be the tallest dam in the world and significantly expand electricity output. The World Bank has agreed to fund two feasibility studies for the dam (technical-economic, and social-enviromental), scheduled to be completed in mid-2013. In January 2010, the government began selling shares in the Roghun enterprise to its population, ultimately raising over $180 million but Tajikistan will still need significant investment to complete the dam. According to numerous reports, many Tajik individuals and businesses were forced to buy shares. The coerced share sales finally ended in mid-2010 under intense criticism from donors, particularly the IMF, and all sales of Roghun shares in 2012. Food and fuel prices in 2011 increased to the highest levels seen since 2002 due in part to an increase in rail transport tariffs through Uzbekistan. Tajikistan imports approximately 60% of its food and 90% of that comes by rail. Uzbekistan closed one of the rail lines into Tajikistan in late 2011, hampering the transit of goods.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of February 21, 2013
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