Tajikistan vs. Kazakhstan


Economy - overview

Tajikistan is a poor, mountainous country with an economy dominated by minerals extraction, metals processing, agriculture, and reliance on remittances from citizens working abroad. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, antimony, tungsten, and coal. Industry consists mainly of small obsolete factories in food processing and light industry, substantial hydropower facilities, and a large aluminum plant - currently operating well below its capacity. The 1992-97 civil war severely damaged an already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Today, Tajikistan is the poorest among the former Soviet republics. Because less than 7% of the land area is arable and cotton is the predominant crop, Tajikistan imports approximately 70% of its food.

Since the end of the civil war, the country has pursued half-hearted reforms and privatizations in the economic sphere, but its poor business climate remains a hindrance to attracting foreign investment. Some experts estimate the value of narcotics transiting Tajikistan is equivalent to 30%-50% of GDP.

Because of a lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, more than one million Tajik citizens work abroad - roughly 90% in Russia - supporting families back home through remittances that in 2017 were equivalent to nearly 35% of GDP. Tajikistan’s large remittances from migrant workers in Russia exposes it to monetary shocks. Tajikistan often delays devaluation of its currency for fear of inflationary pressures on food and other consumables. Recent slowdowns in the Russian and Chinese economies, low commodity prices, and currency fluctuations have hampered economic growth. The dollar value of remittances from Russia to Tajikistan dropped by almost 65% in 2015, and the government spent almost $500 million in 2016 to bail out the country’s still troubled banking sector.

Tajikistan’s growing public debt – currently about 50% of GDP – could result in financial difficulties. Remittances from Russia increased in 2017, however, bolstering the economy somewhat. China owns about 50% of Tajikistan’s outstanding debt. Tajikistan has borrowed heavily to finance investment in the country’s vast hydropower potential. In 2016, Tajikistan contracted with the Italian firm Salini Impregilo to build the Roghun dam over a 13-year period for $3.9 billion. A 2017 Eurobond has largely funded Roghun’s first phase, after which sales from Roghun’s output are expected to fund the rest of its construction. The government has not ruled out issuing another Eurobond to generate auxiliary funding for its second phase.

Kazakhstan's vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of its economy. Geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, Kazakhstan, g possesses substantial fossil fuel reserves and other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. The government realizes that its economy suffers from an overreliance on oil and extractive industries and has made initial attempts to diversify its economy by targeting sectors like transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals and food processing for greater development and investment. It also adopted a Subsoil Code in December 2017 with the aim of increasing exploration and investment in the hydrocarbon, and particularly mining, sectors.

Kazakhstan's oil production and potential is expanding rapidly. A $36.8 billion expansion of Kazakhstan’s premiere Tengiz oil field by Chevron-led Tengizchevroil should be complete in 2022. Meanwhile, the super-giant Kashagan field finally launched production in October 2016 after years of delay and an estimated $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan’s total oil production in 2017 climbed 10.5%.

Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends on Russia to export its oil to Europe. It also exports oil directly to China. In 2010, Kazakhstan joined Russia and Belarus to establish a Customs Union in an effort to boost foreign investment and improve trade. The Customs Union evolved into a Single Economic Space in 2012 and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in January 2015. Supported by rising commodity prices, Kazakhstan’s exports to EAEU countries increased 30.2% in 2017. Imports from EAEU countries grew by 24.1%.

The economic downturn of its EAEU partner, Russia, and the decline in global commodity prices from 2014 to 2016 contributed to an economic slowdown in Kazakhstan. In 2014, Kazakhstan devalued its currency, the tenge, and announced a stimulus package to cope with its economic challenges. In the face of further decline in the ruble, oil prices, and the regional economy, Kazakhstan announced in 2015 it would replace its currency band with a floating exchange rate, leading to a sharp fall in the value of the tenge. Since reaching a low of 391 to the dollar in January 2016, the tenge has modestly appreciated, helped by somewhat higher oil prices. While growth slowed to about 1% in both 2015 and 2016, a moderate recovery in oil prices, relatively stable inflation and foreign exchange rates, and the start of production at Kashagan helped push 2017 GDP growth to 4%.

Despite some positive institutional and legislative changes in the last several years, investors remain concerned about corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement, especially at the regional and municipal levels. An additional concern is the condition of the country’s banking sector, which suffers from poor asset quality and a lack of transparency. Investors also question the potentially negative effects on the economy of a contested presidential succession as Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, turned 77 in 2017.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$31.502 billion (2019 est.)

$29.438 billion (2018 est.)

$27.435 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$487.868 billion (2019 est.)

$466.859 billion (2018 est.)

$448.472 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - real growth rate7.1% (2017 est.)

6.9% (2016 est.)

6% (2015 est.)
6.13% (2019 est.)

4.41% (2018 est.)

4.38% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,380 (2019 est.)

$3,235 (2018 est.)

$3,090 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$26,351 (2019 est.)

$25,544 (2018 est.)

$24,863 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 28.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 25.5% (2017 est.)

services: 45.9% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 4.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 34.1% (2017 est.)

services: 61.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line26.3% (2019 est.)4.3% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA (2009 est.)

highest 10%: NA (2009 est.)
lowest 10%: 4.2%

highest 10%: 23.3% (2016)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.7% (2019 est.)

3.9% (2018 est.)

7.3% (2017 est.)
5.2% (2019 est.)

6% (2018 est.)

7.3% (2017 est.)
Labor force2.295 million (2016 est.)8.685 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 43%

industry: 10.6%

services: 46.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 18.1%

industry: 20.4%

services: 61.6% (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate2.4% (2016 est.)

2.5% (2015 est.)

note: official rate; actual unemployment is much higher
4.8% (2019 est.)

4.85% (2018 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index34 (2015 est.)

34.7 (1998)
27.5 (2017 est.)

31.5 (2003)
Budgetrevenues: 2.269 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.374 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 35.48 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 38.3 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesaluminum, cement, coal, gold, silver, antimony, textile, vegetable oiloil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, uranium, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate1% (2017 est.)5.8% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsmilk, potatoes, wheat, watermelons, onions, tomatoes, vegetables, cotton, carrots/turnips, beefwheat, milk, potatoes, barley, watermelons, melons, linseed, onions, maize, sunflower seed
Exports$873.1 million (2017 est.)

$691.1 million (2016 est.)
$76.455 billion (2019 est.)

$74.809 billion (2018 est.)

$68.256 billion (2017 est.)
Exports - commoditiesgold, aluminum, cotton, zinc, antimony, lead (2019)crude petroleum, natural gas, copper, iron alloys, radioactive chemicals (2019)
Exports - partnersTurkey 24%, Switzerland 22%, Uzbekistan 16%, Kazakhstan 12%, China 10% (2019)China 13%, Italy 12%, Russia 10%, Netherlands 7%, France 6%, South Korea 5% (2019)
Imports$2.39 billion (2017 est.)

$2.554 billion (2016 est.)
$69.117 billion (2019 est.)

$61.933 billion (2018 est.)

$58.099 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commoditiesrefined petroleum, wheat, natural gas, bauxite, aircraft (2019)packaged medicines, natural gas, cars, broadcasting equipment, aircraft (2019)
Imports - partnersChina 40%, Russia 38%, Kazakhstan 19%, Uzbekistan 5% (2019)Russia 34%, China 24% (2019)
Debt - external$6.47 billion (2019 est.)

$5.849 billion (2018 est.)
$159.351 billion (2019 est.)

$163.73 billion (2018 est.)
Exchange ratesTajikistani somoni (TJS) per US dollar -

8.764 (2017 est.)

7.8358 (2016 est.)

7.8358 (2015 est.)

6.1631 (2014 est.)

4.9348 (2013 est.)
tenge (KZT) per US dollar -

420.0049 (2020 est.)

385.9248 (2019 est.)

370.4648 (2018 est.)

221.73 (2014 est.)

179.19 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar yearcalendar year
Public debt50.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

42% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

19.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.292 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$652.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.75 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$29.53 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$35 million (2017 est.)

-$362 million (2016 est.)
-$7.206 billion (2019 est.)

-$138 million (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.522 billion (2019 est.)$181.194 billion (2019 est.)
Taxes and other revenues31.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)22.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)-1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 98.4% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 11.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 2.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 10.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -36.6% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 53.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 4.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 35.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -27.1% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving24.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

15.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

11.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
26.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

27.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

25.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook