Located in central Asia, Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic. A landlocked country, it is bordered by Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, and Pakistan. The economy is small, but its close historical ties to Russia and burgeoning ties to China provide it with growth potential. The people of the country benefit from the social programs that remain from the Soviet era, but they still struggle due to the low standard of living.
Tajikistan receives more remittances from workers in Russia than any other country in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) except Uzbekistan. While the capital, Dushanbe, was not a part of the historic Silk Roads, Tajikistan is also benefiting from the Belt and Road Initiative, in which China is creating overland and sea trade routes that connect the East and West. Much of China’s interest in Tajikistan is its aluminum reserves, the mining of which constitutes the country’s largest export. However, in spite of this increasing access to foreign direct investment, Tajikistan still suffers from a persistently high unemployment rate, including an even higher youth unemployment rate.
The Tajikistani people benefit from government spending. The devastatingly high infant mortality rate has decreased by nearly at third over the past decade, down from near one of the highest in the world. This suggests a substantial increase in the efficacy of the health care system. The death rate has also decreased over the past years, suggesting similar outcomes. However, the government intervention has a cost. Tajikistan’s national debt has ballooned in recent years. If this spending is not brought under control, there could be negative macroeconomic effects for the country.
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