Republic of Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a landlocked country situated in Central Asia. Slightly smaller than the state of Wisconsin, Tajikistan's territory is measured at 143,100 square kilometers (55,251 square miles). It shares borders with Uzbekistan (1,161 kilometers) to the west, China (414 kilometers) to the east, Afghanistan (1,206 kilometers) to the south, and Kyrgyzstan (870 kilometers) to the north. The capital, Dushanbe, is in the west, near the Uzbekistan border.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's estimated July 2001 population for Tajikistan was almost 6.6 million. The country's population density of 143 people per square kilometer is low except that 93 percent of the country is mountainous, resulting in a more real population density of 488 people per square kilometer; this figure is one of the highest in the world. Tajikistan's growth rate is about 2.12 percent. It also has a high infant mortality rate, estimated at 117.4 deaths per every 1,000 live births. Compared to many other countries, life expectancy at birth in Tajikistan is low, estimated at 64 years. Unlike many other countries, Tajikistan's rural population is rising due to a higher fertility rate in the countryside and reduced opportunities for employment in urban centers.
Tajiks comprise approximately 65 percent, Uzbeks about 25 percent, and Russians—due to economic and political reasons—less than 3.5 percent of the population. The autonomous (self-governing) Badakhshan province is primarily inhabited by Pamiri Tajiks whose various dialects can be considered separate languages from other Tajik dialects spoken in Tajikistan. Furthermore, whereas Tajiks and Uzbeks are mostly Sunni Muslims, the far majority of the people of Badakhshan are Shia Muslims. Other ethnic groups, such as Turkmen, Kyrgyz, and Tatars live in Tajikistan. While Tajik is the official language of the country, Russian and Uzbek are widely used, especially in business circles.
Following years of sharp decline, the end of the civil war in 1997 permitted relatively strong industrial sector growth, including real increases of 8 percent in 1998 and 5 percent in 1999. The mainstay of the industrial sector of Tajikistan is the production of aluminum, which requires alumina and large amounts of electrical energy. Even though Tajikistan does not have its own source of alumina, due to its potential for excess electrical energy, the Soviet Union built the Tursonzoda smelter, one of the world's largest aluminum smelters, near Dushanbe. The factory can produce as much as 500,000 metric tons of aluminum annually. Due to similar economic problems as the agricultural sector, however, since independence, aluminum production has declined. More than 90 percent of the aluminum produced is exported. Whereas the production of aluminum in 1990 was at a peak of 450,000 metric tons, by 1997, it had reached a low of 189,000 metric tons. Recently, however, the government has attempted to provide for the necessary inputs to increase aluminum production. Consequently, aluminum production in 2000 was estimated at about 300,000 metric tons.
Tajikistan has significant, largely unexplored, mineral deposits, such as gold, silver, antimony, and coal. Physical access to the sites—in remote areas with limited infrastructure—has been difficult and costly. A joint venture between British-owned Nelson Gold Company and the Tajik government, Zeravshan Gold Company, has been a success. In 1999, gold production in Tajikistan totalled 2.7 metric tons. In addition to gold, Tajikistan contains one of the world's largest silver deposits, Adrasmanskoye, which the country hopes to develop with the aid of foreign investors. Nine of the former Soviet Union's 34 antimony deposits are in Tajikistan. In 1997, 800 metric tons of lead was produced.
Tajikistan is a net importer of energy. In 1999, it consumed about 29,000 barrels of oil per day. The country has some petroleum deposits, and as much as 3,500 barrels of crude oil are extracted daily. There is no oil refinery, however, so all oil is imported—nearly 70 percent from Uzbekistan. Tajikistan has small natural gas reserves of about 200 billion cubic feet, and only minor domestic production. About 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year is produced domestically. In 1998, 37 billion cubic feet of gas was consumed, the majority imported from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Gas pipelines run from Uzbekistan to Dushanbe, and from Uzbekistan to northern Tajikistan. Tajik authorities supply gas to Uzbekistan in exchange for Uzbekistan's free use of a rail transport corridor, a gas pipeline across northern Tajikistan (for re-export to Kyrgyzstan), and other incentives.
Due to the country's terrain and plentiful water, the major domestic energy resource is hydroelectric power: in 1998, Tajikistan produced 13.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh). The southern and the northern power grids are linked to Uzbekistan. Over the past decade, depending on rainfall and domestic needs, Tajikistan has been both a net exporter and net importer of electricity. Due to a regional drought, begun in 2000, the country has experienced serious electricity shortages. It has imported more electricity and imposed increased power cuts on residential customers. Electricity prices were raised in April 2000 to limit demand. The Tursonzoda aluminum plant consumes 40 percent of the country's generated electric power. A new hydroelectric power dam, Sangtuda, is under construction with Russian and Iranian financing. It is expected to eliminate Tajikistan's need for power imports in the north and leave sufficient surpluses for export. A link between the northern and southern power grids is also planned. A study on improvements to the Tajik power grid, funded by the Kuwaiti government has been underway since 2001.
There were 17 registered banks in 1999. Four major commercial banks—Agroinvest-bank, Orion Bank, Vnesheconombank, and Savings Bank—account for nearly three-quarters of all deposits and loans in the country. The banking sector, however, is marred by mismanagement and a history of extending bad loans . There are also few programs specializing in small loans to the agricultural and small business sectors, which are a crucial part of the economy. One study estimated that owners of micro-and small businesses pay as much as 130 percent interest rates on loans.
Tajikistan has no territories or colonies.
Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan: 2000-2001. London: EIU, 2000.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Tajikistan, 2000 Country Investment Profile. Geneva: EBRD, 2000.
Foroughi, Payam. 1998 Socio-Economic Survey of Households, Farms and Bazaars in Tajikistan. USAID and SCF, 1999.
International Monetary Fund. Republic of Tajikistan: Recent Economic Developments, Washington, DC: IMF, 2000.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html> . Accessed August 2001.
United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 2000. New York: UNDP, 2000.
"United Nations Statistical Yearbook 2000." United Nations. <http://jlnt2s.imf.org/ICA/stayear.ica> . Accessed February 2001.
World Bank. Tajikistan: A World Bank Country Study. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1994.
"World Outlook 2000." International Monetary Fund. <http:// dsbb.imf.org/category.htm> . Accessed February 2001.
Somoni (SM). Introduced in 2000 to replace the Tajik ruble. SM1 equals 1,000 Tajik rubles. Somoni are issued as notes of SM1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Also 1, 4, 20, and 50 diram notes (100 dirams in SM1).
Aluminum, electricity, cotton, gold, fruits, and textiles.
Electricity, petroleum products, natural gas, aluminum oxide, machinery and equipment, and foodstuffs.
US$7.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).
Exports: US$761 million (2000 est.). Imports: US$782 million (2000 est.).