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Economic Growth and Trade

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Economic Growth and Trade
USAID empowers women-run farms to increase livelihoods for families.
Women's Entrepreneurship for Empowerment Project

Tajikistan is a small, landlocked, low-income country located in Central Asia. It is the poorest of the Commonwealth of Independent States – 19.5 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day, and 56.6 percent lives on less than $3.10 a day.  The country remains highly susceptible to external economic shocks and has suffered from recent regional economic downturns triggered by Russia’s economic crisis, resulting in a 54 percent decrease in remittances from migrant laborers working abroad, from $4.2 billion to $1.9 billion between 2013 and 2016.  Investment rates, and in particular private investment rates, have consistently been lower in Tajikistan than in other Central Asian and lower-middle income countries, which has further dampened growth and employment prospects.

Even though only seven percent of Tajikistan’s land is arable, agriculture is a cornerstone of the country’s economy and accounts for 25 percent of gross domestic product and employs 53 percent of the labor force. The agricultural sector in Tajikistan offers a solid foundation for economic development. In addition to supporting agriculture and agribusiness through Feed the Future, USAID supports the Tajikistan government’s goal to move toward an agro-industrial economy through an increased focus on expanding the private sector within the agriculture and transit and logistics sectors to improve regional and international competitiveness. 

Improvements in regional trade will expand economic development, strengthen cross-border linkages, and ultimately lead to greater stability in the region.  USAID supported Tajikistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and continues to promote the implementation of reforms under the WTO Post Accession Action Plan, supporting the Government of Tajikistan in their focus on reducing trade barriers and expanding access to market information.

USAID also works to improve regional trade by supporting regular regional dialogue on key trade, energy and water issues.  Tajikistan is rich in water resources and produces hydropower for regional export, so the energy market is an important area for economic opportunity.

To develop a regional electricity market, USAID supports the Government of Tajikistan as they establish a transparent competitive market to increase electricity export beyond Central Asia. USAID also promotes energy efficiency measures in capital city Dushanbe’s residential sector by demonstrating the potential for available energy efficiency and renewable energy for improved heating services. 

  • USAID promoted private sector engagement in agriculture by partnering with 20 local entrepreneurs, who invested more than $1,480,000 in 2017 to establish cold storage, canning, drying and livestock feed processing facilities. USAID’s partnership included equipping these facilities with harvesting, processing, drying, canning, packaging, labeling, weighing and refrigeration equipment.
  • USAID increased access to finance through a $2 million co-funded investment facility, which granted nearly $1.8 million in loans to small and medium enterprises in 2017. 
  • USAID provides technical support to the Intergovernmental Council for the CASA-1000 (500 KV electric transmission line) project that will connect Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Realization of the CASA-1000 project will help Tajikistan sell its summer surplus of electricity and invest more resources into the development of the energy industry in the country.