His Excellency Emomalii Rahmon, the President of the State of Tajikistan and his delegation arrives in Kuwait on Sunday, June 23, at the invitation of the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. During his two-day visit, the state guest is expected to witness the signing of eight agreements on economic and cultural cooperation, investment and tourism promotion. Prior to his departure for Kuwait, President Rahmon addressed a visiting Kuwaiti delegation and confirmed his country’s desire to cement relations with Kuwait at various levels. He also invited Kuwaiti investors to explore business opportunities in the Tajik market and stressed that his government was ready to overcome all obstacles that hindered Kuwaiti entrepreneurs from opening business in Tajikistan. A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier visited the Tajik Capital to participate in a meeting of the Kuwaiti-Tajik Economic Cooperation Committee.

Tajikistan’s economy grew substantially after the Civil War. The GDP of Tajikistan expanded at an average rate of 9.6 percent over the period of 2000–2007 according to the World Bank data. This improved Tajikistan’s position among other Central Asian countries. In 2004, as part of its effort to support the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the United States contributed to building a bridge between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, improving the country’s access to South Asia. In 2007 the Anzab tunnel was completed, connecting the previously hard to access Northern part of the country to the capital Dushanbe; this has been labeled as part of the new Silk Road and is part of a road under construction that will connect Tajikistan to Iran and the Persian Gulf through Afghanistan.

The primary sources of income in Tajikistan are aluminum production, cotton growing and remittances from migrant workers. Aluminum industry is represented by the state-owned Tajik Aluminum Company — the biggest aluminum plant in Central Asia and one of the biggest in the world. Tajikistan’s rivers, such as the Vakhsh and the Panj, have great hydropower potential, and the government has focused on attracting investment for projects for internal use and electricity exports. Other energy resources include sizable coal deposits and smaller reserves of natural gas and petroleum.

Tajikistan has achieved transition from a planned to a market economy without substantial and protracted recourse to aid, of which it by now receives only negligible amounts, and by purely market-based means, simply by exporting cheap labor — its main commodity of comparative advantage. Tajikistan has a high rate of literacy due in part to the old Soviet system of free education, with an estimated 99.5 percent of the population having the ability to read and write.

Foreign remittance flows from Tajik migrant workers abroad, mainly in Russia, has become by far the main source of income for millions of Tajikistan’s people and represents additional 36.2 percent of country’s GDP and directly reaching the population. The World Bank Tajikistan Policy Note 2006 concludes that remittances have played an important role as one of the drivers of Tajikistan’s robust economic growth during the past several years, have increased incomes, and as a result helped significantly reduce poverty. In 2010, remittances from over one million Tajik labor migrants totaled an estimated 2.1 billion US dollars.

The majority of the population follows the Sunni branch of Islam. During a 2010 Organization of the Islamic Conference session hosted in Dushanbe, Rahmon spoke against what he deemed was the misuse of Islam toward political ends, noting, “Terrorism, terrorists, have no nation, no country, no religion. Using the name ‘Islamic terrorism’ only discredits Islam and dishonors the pure and harmless religion of Islam.”




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