Country Profile of Tajikistan Essay Sample

Country Profile of Tajikistan Pages
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About The Country

  • Origins and History

The name of the country is Tajikistan and it was ruled by Russians in the year 1860s as well as 1870s.[1] There was a serious contest as to the control of the Bolsheviks in the country and such control was later on established again in the year 1929. In the year1991, Tajikistan became independent as Soviet Union was disbanded.[2] Within the year 1992-1997, a civil war took place in Tajikistan and after its end there was a constant struggle to achieve a peaceful and democratic government. At present, there were opportunities of the country which led to existence of jobs and long-term stability conditions. Seeking World Trade Organization membership, the country is trying to change its status as the poorest in the former sphere in Soviet.

  • Demographics

The ethnic groups of Tajikistan is composed of the Tajik which comprises 79.9 per cent, Uzbek having 15.3 per cent, Russian which is only 1.1 in percentage, Kyrgyz having 1.1 per cent and others comprising 2.6 per cent as of the year 2000 census.[3] With respect to its religious groups, Tajikistan is composed of 85 per cent Sunni Muslim, 5 per cent Shi’a Muslim, and others for about 10 per cent as of the year 2003 estimate.[4] For the age demographic or structure, there are about 1, 270, 289 males and 1, 226, 954 females of persons having the age of 0-14 years old or an equivalent to 34.6 per cent of the whole population.[5] For the age of 15-64 years old, about 61.7 per cent of them comprises the whole population and for 65 years old above comprises 3. 7 per cent or is equivalent to 113, 156 males and 153, 105 females in all. The languages of the people in Tajikistan are Tajik which is the official language and Russian which is widely used in government and business transactions.[6] The population of the country as of the year 2008 estimate is about 7, 211, 884 and most of them are living in cities.

Pertaining to the geography of Tajikistan, the place is landlocked and considered as the smallest in Central Asia in terms of area.[7] The country was covered by lakes and it was about 10 per cent in approximation. The environment of the country has insufficient sanitation facilities that it appears untidy. There is also an increasing level of salinity in its soil. Aside from that, one of the environmental problems in Tajikistan is the industrial pollution as well as massive and continuous use of pesticides. Since some of its natural hazards are earthquakes and floods, it follows that the unorganized environment of Tajikistan severed floods and other calamites. There is a necessity for the people of the country to faithfully implement environmental laws to save its devastated environmental conditions. Hence, Tajikistan is one of those countries that deserve guidance in terms of welfare matters.

Section 2

Social Development Indicators

            The recent trends in human development as of the years 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 are as follows:

Year 1995 1996 1997 1998
HDI 0.555 0.537 0.528 0.540
Life Expectancy 0.721 0.707 0.688 0.723
Adult Literacy Ratio n/a 0.651 0.651 0.651
Enrolment ratio n/a 0.226 0.208 0.226
Knowledge index 0.911 0.877 0.859 0.877
Real  GDP 0.013 0.036 0.025 0.025
GDI 0.571 n/a n/a 0.534

Table1. Comparison of Social Development Indicators[8]

            Poverty is extreme in Tajikistan as it was considered as the poorest among the past Soviet Union Blocks. Of all the people in the country, women are the most affected by wars and other calamities. Personal security of women is not established after the civil war such that many of them suffered in the country. After the civil war, women who worked in major industries were affected since these industries lost its business opportunity to operate. Hence, women were the first to lose their jobs after the civil war. There was a loss of the social safety net and that families find it hard to combat existing poverty. There was a low level of gross domestic product then. However, despite that situation, Human Development Index (HDI) for the country was 0.629 which is comparable to the 0. 649 averaged by nations classified by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as “medium” income countries.[9]

Section 3

Government

Government is an instrumentality to which the needs of the people are formulated, expressed and realized. It is also the body politic having the power of governing the constituents.[10] Applying this principle to the country of Tajikistan, there will be a realization of how the country struggled to gain economic, social and political strength after going through so many problems.

            2.1 Form of government

            Within the first years of independence, there was a chaotic politics in Tajikistan since there are people who wanted to lead the country in the guise of Soviet-style ruling. There was also a collection of politicians that belongs to the opposition group who wanted to establish a new administration. As such, a civil war ensued in the year 1992 wherein struggles between factions exist. Later on, a faction that favours the neo-Soviet system and the group that one the civil war due to the aid of Russian and Uzbekistani forces took over the reign of governance in the year 1992.[11]

            It is worthy to note that the highest-ranking Islamic figure of the country in the year 1991 was named Hajji Akbar Turajonzoda. In the 1991 elections in Tajikistan, Khudonarov received the highest number of votes despite the fact that his opponent named Nabiyev is very influential and popular. From all these events up to the time when the issues are brought before the international scene, the politics of the country has never become stable. There initiatives applied by the government and that were when peace talks was processed between the power-seekers. The most notable success on these peace talks was when ceasefire was recommended and accepted by the contesting parties in the month of October 2004.[12]

2.2 Government’s Organizational Chart

The initial independent government of Tajikistan conforms to parliamentary-ministerial governance. By then, there was a Constitution adopted by the country of Tajikistan of which its governmental structure is as follows:

Executive Department

            -the President is chosen by the people through election

            -the President appoints a Prime Minister

-under this department is the Council of Ministers which is composed of the fifteen members in addition to six deputy prime ministers, the chairmen of five state committees, the presidential adviser on national economic affairs, the secretary of the National Security Council, and the Chairman of the National Bank of Tajikistan.[13]

The Legislature

            -named as the Supreme Assembly

            -elected directly fro a term of 5 years

The Judiciary

-composed of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Economic Court, and the military court

-the procurator general is elected to a 5-year term in Tajikistan

The Local Government

-comprises of the republic level, the provinces, the districts, and then the cities having their own elected assemblies

-the chief executive is considered as the Chairman of each political unit or subdivision

2.3 List of Official Government Websites

            The list of official government websites in Tajikistan are as follows:

  1. Office of the President- http://www.prezident.tj/[14]
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs – http://www.mid.tj/[15]
  3. Ministry of Transportation-

http://www.mincom.tj/ru_mincom/asnod_ru.html[16]

  1. Ministry of Health- http://www.health.tj/[17]
  2. Drug Control Agency- http://www.akn.tj/law_akt.htm
  3. Ministry of Economic Development and Trade-http://www.met.tj/acts.htm[18]

            2.4 Other important Organizations in the Country

                        There are also important organizations in Tajikistan and these include United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, International Labour Organization and Amnesty International.[19]

Section 4

Institutions and the Rule of Law

The rule of law in Tajikistan is affected by its two most dominant problems: poverty and lack of civic consciousness and education as inherited from the past experience of communist kind of governance. In order to answer these problems, there should be a development of democratic governance in the country wherein the people become active participants in policy-making and implementation.[20] It is said that economic growth can only be attained in Tajikistan through participation of the people in deciding as to what policies that best suits the country. Besides, democratic governance that has institutions that practice accountability and transparency, pluralism, participation, justice and equity, rule of law as well as efficiency is the best things that Tajikistan needs.[21]

It is worthy to note the roadmap of development for Tajikistan. Land reform and educational improvements must be done together with solving human development concerns. However, we must be aware of the neighbouring countries that caused too much problems to Tajikistan such as the war in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.[22] The effects of the dilemmas of its neighbouring countries are fatal such that it should be resolved as soon as possible. Corruption in the government led to slow food production and extreme poverty infused by high unemployment rate. The difficult political trajectory of Tajikistan since self-government has shaped an often dysfunctional state sector, with insufficient governance mechanisms, high levels of corruption, limited rule of law, and unsatisfactorily qualified and knowledgeable personnel.[23] With that, the interest of the international political key players in helping Tajikistan rise above its neighbouring countries is obvious and necessary.

According to Transparency International, Tajikistan is proven to be as the 124th most corrupt public sector based on several surveys.[24] It means to say that corruption in Tajikistan is common and that public officials are abusing public office in exchange for private interest and gain. The Tajik government failed to solve corruption and it affects the economic progress of the country.

In addition, Tajikistan’s membership with the World Bank started on the year 1993. Since Tajikistan is a poor country, having a per capita income of US$ 437 Gross Domestic Product, it was a recipient of a highly concessional financing from the World Bank through loans, funding and grants.[25] Latest reports mentioned that in the year 2008, the World Bank grant financing to Tajikistan was altered to 100 % because of high risk to debt distress.

As reflection, the situation of the country can still be corrected as the people will uphold the law and corruption must be taken away from the political system. Problems in the neighbouring countries must not be allowed to prevent continuous economic progress of Tajikistan. Besides, democratic governance must be seriously applied to the country along with increasing the civic consciousness of the constituents.

Section 5

Economic Development

            It is reported that Tajikistan has the lowest per capita gross domestic product among those that formerly belong to the Soviet republics. What dominates the economy is the production of cotton which is the most relevant crop. The reason why the economy of Tajikistan became weak is because of such time that Moscow no longer supported the country in terms of trading.[26] As such, major economic and political problems were faced by Tajikistan wherein humanitarian aid and services are needed.

In line with that, the economic profile of Tajikistan is reported as follows:

Gross Domestic Product US$ 2, 811 million (estimated 2006)
Gross Domestic Product composition by sector:  
             Agriculture 24.8 %
             Industry 27.4 %
             Services 47.8 %
National Budget: revenue $ 285.4 million
                             expenditure $ 279.3 million
Number of Workers 2, 199, 027
Gross Domestic Product per capita $ 423.40
Major trade partners for exports Netherlands, Russia and Turkey
Major trade partners for imports Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine

            Table 2. Economy of Tajikistan[27]

5.1 Informal Sector

The microfinance sector in Tajikistan involves some issues of development in rural lending services. In taking loans, loan agreements that are transparent and equitable must be present. Finding a guarantor and preparing collateral for loan engagement are the things that hindered rural villagers in Tajikistan.[28] However, for the present years, developments in the microfinance sector are increasing and farmers can now access to loans without procedural hindrance.

The said developments include the idea that access to loan facilities is the most important way of helping the people to become productive and self-reliant by means of handling their own business and trading activities. Later on, in the year 2005, international financial organizations tied up with local public organizations to extend loan opportunities to the people in rural areas.[29] In analysis, the first thing discovered is that people who belong to the most vulnerable groups in the society were able to access the loan facilities since collateral is the last thing considered in the process. Second, women were able to repay their loans including the most vulnerable members of the society until such time that they were able to access banking privileges. [30] Third, microfinance sector is following the international standards in terms of credit practices.[31]

All these facts prove that there is a new economic development in Tajikistan. People who live in the countryside are also capable of developing their business due to the microfinance sector of the economy. Women improved their well-being as they can also work at home through self-employment while being house wives due to the accessibility of loan agreements.

Section 6

Foreign Investment

            At present time, Tajikistan is still in the process of recovering from the 1992-1997 civil wars that resulted in its devastated economy and national dilemmas. With that, the country has attracted relevant investment only from government-spearheaded bodies in China, Iran and Russia at present time.[32] However, despite that development there are still problems that prevented the attraction of investments at Tajikistan and these are corruption, red tape, and lack of free media as well as independent court.[33] What is needed in attracting foreign investments is to create and provide apparent and conventional conditions.

            In line with that, there is a specific major foreign investment project in Tajikistan and that is the Tajik Aluminum Plant. There are also developments with respect to hydro-power sector as well as boosting aluminum production.[34] This endeavour of Tajikistan however caused so much tension in its neighbouring countries especially Uzbekistan. It conducted measures in order to prevent economic policies in Tajikistan to be implemented such as preventing the supply of electricity from Kyrgyz to support Tajik Aluminum Plant.[35] The main purpose why the neighbouring country staged that action is to prevent the modernization of the said plant in Tajikistan.

            On the other hand, Iran is also planning to have major investments in Tajikistan especially on hydro-energy sector. But the problem is that there were restrictions of oil in Iran and the same will surely affect its positive plans towards Tajikistan.[36] Since Iran has become a current major foreign investor in Tajikistan, its problem regarding oil ration might hamper planned economic development for Tajikistan. Therefore, such problem in Iran must be solved since Iranian investments are relevant for rebuilding the economy of Tajikistan. In addition, Tajikistan attracted $224 million in foreign investments which is direct within the year 1997-2004.[37] Annually, the country’s flow of direct foreign investment ranges from $30 to $36 million.

            Essentially, Tajikistan’s trade route actually passes along Uzbekistan. Yet, knowing the political tensions between the two neighbouring countries, the flow of trade is hampered to the disadvantage of Tajikistan. Basically, the country adopted a law concerning free trade which could attract foreign capital, direct investments and technical resources. There are also efforts in setting favourable conditions in the country to attract investors such as lowering tariff taxes, decrease the cost for land leasing transactions as well as special rules for visa services.[38] Aside from that, the government is building a bridge to link two countries like Afghanistan and Tajikistan in order to improve trade relations in the south. Road system and infrastructure projects are also developed to further the plans and economic policies of the country.

Section 7

Donor Projects

            There are also international organizations that provided funding as donor projects for Tajikistan. These organizations include World Bank, International Monetary Fund, USAID, European Union and the Africa Development Bank.

7.1 USAID

            There are seven strategies that were applied by USAID for Tajikistan. These strategic objectives for the country is for the promotion of reforms and training that the will result to the growth of small and medium business organizations, information extension to the general public, improvement of primary health care as well as education. There is also a promotion of efficient use of energy as well as clean and sufficient water supply. Essentially, the USAID is doing its best to strengthen the linkage of the communities of Tajikistan and its local government.[39] This work is important for the USAID since it was found out that the different organizations in Tajikistan’s society are not accustomed to practice cooperation in working for economic development.

 7.2 World Bank

            The World Bank has presented some activities for Tajikistan. One of these activities include the competition held under the auspices of the Civil Society Fund Program involving an amount of USD 35, 000 intended for non-profit, non-governmental groups or associations in Tajikistan.[40] The focus of the program is engagement for environmental protection in Tajikistan. The project was materialized by means of dissemination of information and enhancing partnerships with other organizations that supports protection of the environment in the country.

 7.3 International Monetary Fund

            The International Monetary Fund has given technical help or aid for Tajikistan in terms of customs administration. The International Monetary Fund tried to solve this issue in Tajikistan since there may be tax policies development but taxation on agriculture, small entrepreneurship, and refunds of value-added taxes as well as social contributions are not in order and the system is defective.[41]

 7.4 European Union

            The European Union has a project for Central Asia that includes development for Tajikistan and it is called Border Management Programme. The Central Asia Border Security Initiative or CABSI has a specific project and it involves institutional reforms in Tajikistan.  Since France is the present Chairman of the EU, Tajikistan will be benefited since it has developed a close relationship with France. As a proof, French jet planes usually use the airport in Dushanbe which is the centre of the country.[42] The French Defence Minister visited the country Tajikistan twice and the visit is intended to promote wider military and economic cooperation with France.

7.5 Africa Development Bank

            Africa Development Bank or ADB has provided substantial aid for Tajikistan. The bank grants credits to the country to extend support in terms of social development. It also facilitates technical assistance to the country for the implementation of development projects. The priority areas of the ADB in helping Tajikistan are on supply of water, health of the people, education and infrastructure.[43]

Section 8

International Finance

            Tajikistan accepts support from different organizations like International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Africa Development Bank, and European Union and it follows that it has debts from those financial organizations. In line with that, a table that shows its macroeconomic indicators will be shown to analyze its situation. After such presentation, a careful analysis and review shall be given.

Nominal GDP

US $

2001

1,033

2002

1, 193

2003

1556

2004

2073

Real GDP growth 10.2 9.1 10.2 10.6
CPI inflation annual average 38.6 10.2 17.1 7.1
Exchange rate 2.32 2.73 3.06 2.94
Overall fiscal balance excluding PIP, % of GDP -0.1 -0.1 -0.9 0.3
Current account deficit -6.6 -2.7 -1.3 -3.9
Public external debt 98.4 84.6 66.2 39.7
         

Table 3. Selected Macroeconomic Indicators from 2001-2004

                        Source is http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/

WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2005/10/27/000012009_20051027083915/Rendered/INDEX/322940corr0rev0pdf.txt.

            With respect to public external debt, Tajikistan faced the highest amount in the year 2001 with US $98.4 and it dramatically lowered in the year 2004 having an amount of US $39.7.[44] Its annual average for CPI inflation in the year 2001 is too high having 38. 6 % of the GDP but has only 7.1 % in the year 2004. Thus, there is improvement of its records in macroeconomic state.

Section 9

Summary Comment

            The name of the country is simply Tajikistan wherein the people are called Tajiks. The first country that colonized the same is Russia and it happened in the year1860’s up to 1870’s. It was only in the year 1991 when the country gained independence as the Soviet bloc was disbanded. However, within the year 1992-1997, a civil war took place due to confusion as to what kind of governance to be applied after such a long colonization by the Russians. After that long struggle, there was a continuous fight to attain a democratic state of government.

            The ethnic groups of Tajikistan are Tajik, Uzbek, Russian and Kyrgyz. The religions of the country are Sunni Muslim and Shi’a Muslim. It can be said that there are more females in the population compared to males. The languages of the country are Tajik which is official and Russian. The present population is about 7, 211, 884 in number. The area of Tajikistan was tagged as the smallest among Central Asia countries. It is also a landlocked country and the country is covered by lakes. The place is also untidy since sanitation facilities are not fully developed. Industrial pollution is also a problem in the country due to massive use of pesticides. The untidiness of the environment augmented the risks of floods in Tajikistan. Hence, faithful compliance in environmental policies is asserted in the country by its political leaders and international organizations.

            Table 1 presented the social development indicators of the country. It can be gleaned from the records that in the year 1997, there was a low life expectancy. There is also a uniform adult literacy ratio in the year 1996, 1997 and 1998. For the knowledge index, it was in the year 1995 that the record was in the highest within the year 1995 up to 1998.

            There is one problem that can be highly associated with Tajikistan and that is poverty. It was even tagged as the poorest among the countries that has been under Soviet Union. This problem worsened due to wars and calamities. Of all the people in the country, women are most affected by it. Personal security of women in terms of safety and job are affected such that they suffered the consequences of the war especially the civil war in the year 1992 up to 1997. Women are also considered as the workers of the country such that when the civil war broke up, they lost their jobs and have to suffer extreme poverty.

            After the succeeding war in Tajikistan and it already enjoyed independence, there was turmoil in the area of politics in the country. There was confusion as to the application of Soviet style ruling or in some way applying democratic principles. The oppositions wanted to lead a new form of government while other groups wanted to retain the status quo. In addition to that, elections in the country are full of irregularities such that unstable government remained to be unresolved.

            The initial independent government of Tajikistan conforms to parliamentary-ministerial governance. It has three departments of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The president is chosen by the people through casting of votes during election time. The president also appoints a prime minister to run the affairs of the country that belongs to its power and authority. On the other hand, the legislature is named as the Supreme Assembly. Its members are elected by direct election for a term of five (5) years. The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Economic Court as well as the military court. It has also a local government that runs the grassroots level of political units and subdivisions like cities, municipalities and provinces.

The list of the official government websites of Tajikistan include Office of the President which is http://www.prezident.tj/, Ministry of Foreign Affairs  which is http://www.mid.tj/, Ministry of Transportation which is http://www.mincom.tj/ru_mincom/asnod_ru.html,  Ministry of Health which is http://www.health.tj/, Drug Control Agency which is http://www.akn.tj/law_akt.htm

and Ministry of Economic Development and Trade having http://www.met.tj/acts.htm as websites. The important organizations of the country include United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, International Labour Organization and Amnesty International.

            In addition, the most notable problems in Tajikistan are failure to implement the rule of law. The development of democratic governance is slow and that there is a need to let the people participate in policy-making and implementation. Accountability, transparency, pluralism, justice and equity are the things that should be implemented in the country in order to achieve development of democratic principles. Problems on unemployment must be resolved including land reforms. Since illiteracy of children is a dominant social problem, reforms in educational policies are the primary solutions. There is also a high level of corruption in the country since red tape or under the table transactions are common. The mechanisms of governance are not also sufficient such that limited rule of law is rampant. Hence, different international organizations like the World Bank, USAID, European Union, Africa Development Bank and International Monetary Fund extended financial support in the country though loans and implementation of projects. Non-governmental sector in Tajikistan are also helping in the economic, social and political development of the country.

Conclusion

            It is not denied that Tajikistan is one of those countries that experienced poverty after having passed a devastating war. The people are the victims of selfish motives of other countries especially the women who need personal security. But, despite the frailties of the women in Tajikistan, they serve as the workers in the country. One of the reasons why Tajikistan experienced extreme poverty is its defective political system and practices. Corruption by government employees through practice of red tape is a stumbling block for economic and political progress. In addition, the problems between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan referring to its strained relations due to the latter are will to topple down the former, contributed to the dilemma. It is not proper for Uzbekistan to prevent the supply of electricity intended for Tajikistan since the latter was left with no options at all for Uzbekistan is the only entry for goods and services to the country. Thus, this situation must be resolved as soon as possible if economic and social development is to be managed.

Finally, there is a continuing effort on the part of Tajikistan in order to achieve economic development. The support of international organizations in the development of its policies on health care, environmental protection, water supply, educational enrichment, microfinance facilities and many others is a primary factor on its will to succeed. There may be current problems like oil ration in Iran which is its primary investors but the election of France as Chairman of the European Union is a good news since Tajikistan has a close relationship with the same.

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