Nation at a Glance - Tajikistan

History

The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s and 1870s, but Russia's hold on Central Asia weakened following the Revolution of 1917. Bands of indigenous guerrillas (called "basmachi") fiercely contested Bolshevik control of the area, which was not fully reestablished until 1925. Tajikistan was first created as an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan in 1924, but the USSR designated Tajikistan a separate republic in 1929 and transferred to it much of present-day Sughd province. Ethnic Uzbeks form a substantial minority in Tajikistan, and ethnic Tajiks an even larger minority in Uzbekistan. Tajikistan became independent in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and experienced a civil war between regional factions from 1992 to 1997. Tajikistan has endured several domestic security incidents since 2010, including armed conflict between government forces and local strongmen in the Rasht Valley and between government forces and criminal groups in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. In September 2015, government security forces rebuffed attacks led by a former high-ranking official in the Ministry of Defense. President Emomali RAHMON, who came to power during the civil war, used the attacks to ban the main opposition political party in Tajikistan. RAHMON further strengthened his position by having himself designated “Leader ofthe Nation” and removing term limits on himself through constitutional amendments in a referendum on May 2016. The country remains the poorest in the former Soviet sphere. Tajikistan became a member of the World Trade Organization in March 2013. However, its economy continues to face major challenges, including dependence on remittances from Tajikistanis working in Russia, pervasive corruption, and the opiate trade in neighboring Afghanistan.

Location: Central Asia, west of China, south of Kyrgyzstan

Border Countries: Afghanistan 1,357 km, China 477 km, Kyrgyzstan 984 km, Uzbekistan 1,312 km

Total Area: 144,100 sq km Land: 141,510 sq km Water: 2,590 sq km

Climate: Mid-latitude continental, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid to polar in Pamir Mountains

Terrain: Mountainous region dominated by the Trans-Alay Range in the north and the Pamirs in the southeast; western Fergana Valley in north, Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys in southwest

Natural resources: Hydropower, some petroleum, uranium, mercury, brown coal, lead, zinc, antimony, tungsten, silver, gold

Land use: Agricultural land: 34.7% arable land 6.1%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 27.7% Forest: 2.9% Other: 62.4% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Tajik 84.3%, Uzbek 13.8% (includes Lakai, Kongrat, Katagan, Barlos, Yuz), Other 2% (includes Kyrgyz, Russian, Turkmen, Tatar, Arab) (2010 est.)

Languages: Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business

Religions: Sunni Muslim 85%, Shia Muslim 5%, Other 10% (2003 est.)

Population: 8,330,946 (July 2016 est.)

Literacy: 99.8%; Male: 99.8%; Female: 99.7% (2015 est.)

Administrative divisions: 2 provinces (viloyatho, singular - viloyat), 1 autonomous province* (viloyati mukhtor), 1 capital region** (viloyati poytakht), and 1 area referred to as Districts Under Republic Administration***; Dushanbe**, Khatlon (Qurghonteppa), Kuhistoni Badakhshon [Gorno-Badakhshan]* (Khorugh), Nohiyahoi Tobei Jumhuri***, Sughd (Khujand)

Economy: 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 hurdle 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 banking sector, which is still troubled. 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.

Agriculture - products: Cotton, grain, fruits, grapes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats

Industries: Aluminum, cement, vegetable oil

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