Why Is Tajikistan PoorTajikistan has done an incredible job over the past 15 years of reducing poverty and strengthening its economy. However, the poverty rate still remains at 31 percent. Despite being in the top 10 percent of countries in terms of poverty reduction, the question of why Tajikistan is poor remains.

Poor soil and a lack of employment opportunities have driven more than one million Tajiks to work abroad, mostly in Russia, in order to support their families. Additionally, narcotics are a huge source of economic activity in Tajikistan, leading to hostile environments for students and driving away foreign investment.

Education in Tajikistan is often truncated. There is limited opportunity for secondary school, and higher education is an opportunity only the most privileged can afford. The levels of education across Tajikistan are lower for women, as 12 percent do not end up graduating the compulsory nine years of primary school.

Minimal infrastructure is another explanation as to why Tajikistan is poor. Though there is a fairly well developed system of roads, they are in need of repair and supplement. Access to the internet and clean water, not to mention basic health care, is also restricted, and the railway system is rudimentary and ineffective.

Besides a lack of education and overall infrastructure, the rule of law in Tajikistan is weak, likely due to a history of civil war and a former dependence on the Soviet Union. This makes foreign direct investment unlikely, leaving little chance for new businesses to grow and develop.

Much has been done in recent years to continue to strengthen the Tajikistan economy, yet the question of why Tajikistan is poor remains. The country must work even harder than in the past, increasing access to the internet and energy, developing the private sector more fully and making the country an attractive one for foreign direct investment if they wish to continue the impressive growth that has been the norm for fifteen years.

Connor S. Keowen

Photo: Flickr

On May 10, 2016, China announced the relocation of 2 million individuals from rural and remote areas to urban cities. The announcement enacts just one of the many changes China plans to make. China’s government hopes to lift all of its impoverished citizens over the poverty line by 2020.

The relocation strategy would move some of the country’s poorest citizens to areas with better resources, such as healthcare and education.

In addition, citizens will transfer to areas with better roads and access to water. For these individuals, moving to an urban city also offers opportunities for better jobs.

Reuters reported that Liu Yongfu, a Chinese government official from the Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, stated that the number of people relocated would gradually reach 3 million.

In March, the Chinese government also announced that they would increase poverty alleviation funding by 45 percent.

Poverty Action Lab, a research center at MIT, reported that urban relocation schemes contribute to the alleviation of poverty. Slums and poor communities can become ‘traps’ and provide little opportunity for individual economic growth.

As the most populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion people, China has previously struggled to improve the standard of living for all of its residents.

In October 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that about 200 million people live under $1.25 U.S. dollars a day. In addition, almost half of those individuals lived under $1 a day.

In the same month, China announced its plans to alleviate poverty in its country altogether by 2020, with President Xi Jinping stating that the goal was achievable.

Since 1990, China has lifted almost 500 million individuals out of poverty. The World Bank reports that over half of China’s population was living in poverty at that time.

In 2010, the percentage of people living in poverty had dropped to 11 percent. Because its economic growth has slowed over the past two decades, the government is now relying on social schemes to alleviate poverty in China.

Despite all of the obstacles China has faced and will continue to struggle against, the nation is making considerable progress. President Xi is committed to reaching the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

In fact, China was the first developing nation to meet the target of cutting its poverty rate in half by 2015. With that massive success behind them, China is confident that it will succeed.

Isabella Farr

Photo: Flickr