Sharing a common border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan is currently one of the poorest countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Ranking 125 out of 187 countries in the 2012 Human Development Index, Tajikistan also suffers from bad weather conditions which heavily affect rural areas and economic stability. Currently, the volume of imports to Tajikistan is twice as high as the country’s exports causing everyday commodities to rise in price, heavily affecting the lives of many Tajikistan citizens. This has forced approximately 1.5 million Tajiks to seek employment outside of the nation.
Luckily, in recent times, Tajikistan has been able to form lasting bonds with the European Union, the Government of Russia and select Western nations. With ongoing support, Tajikistan is aiming to increase their private sector and help boost an economy which pays very little to its workers.
For example, currently, university professors and doctors make an average of $70 to $150 a month, a fact that bothers many of its political leaders.
As of late though, The European Union has announced funding for the nation of Tajikistan to the tune of $250 million Euros which will be allocated for the betterment of education, health care and rural development. Currently, three quarters of the population live in rural areas where only 7% of land is arable. These funds will be put to use in hopes of boosting the economy and stabilizing food insecure communities.
These funds will also go towards the forthcoming cooperation program which will last from 2014 to 2020. Issues regarding water management, environmental resistance, rural development, poverty reduction and economic reforms will also be addressed.
This agreement partnership between the EU and Tajikistan has been in place since 2010. Although Tajikistan remains quite poor and lacking in sustainable resources, its location in the Middle East has peaked interest for many countries which has, not surprisingly, encouraged foreign support.
Tajikistan recently re-elected Emomali Rahmon as its leader for the next 7 years which has been received by mixed reviews. Since coming into power in 1992, Rahmon has made it a priority to establish lasting relationships with many countries in hopes to build support for the nation. Only time will tell what the future has in store for foreign aid in Tajikistan, but with recent improvements in government accountability, the future seems to be a brighter than usual.
– Jeffrey Scott Haley