Economic Cooperation Organization

Republic of Tajikistan *

Republic of Tajikistan lies in the heart of Central Asia and is bordered by Kyrgyzstan on the north, China on the east, Afghanistan on the south, and Uzbekistan on the west and northwest. The territory of the country is 143,100 square km. Tajikistan encompasses the smallest amount of land among the five Central Asian States, but in terms of elevation it surpasses them all, enclosing more and higher mountains than any other country in the region.

The Country is inhabited by the representatives of over 70 nationalities, the majority of them is the Tajiks (64%), followed by Uzbeks (25%), Russians (3.5%), others (6.6%). The official language is Tajik. By creed the majority of people are Muslim-Sunni (80%), Shi'i (5%) and others (15%). The literacy rate of the population is 98% with that of men (99%) and women (97%).

In 1994 voters approved a new Constitution to replace the Soviet-era constitution that had been in effect since 1978 and amended after independence by referendum. The new Constitution establishes legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Unique among Central Asian Republics, Tajikistan's Constitution provides for a strong legislature rather than a dominant executive; though the President is Head of State. The current President is H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahman. Members of the legislature, a unicameral National Assembly, are elected for five-year term. The legislature has the authority to enact and annul laws, interpret the constitution, and confirm presidential appointees. The President is elected directly for a maximum of two five-year terms and appoints the Cabinet of Ministers including the Prime Minister and high court justices, subject to approval by the legislature. The highest courts include the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Economic Court (for commercial cases), and a Court of Gorno-Badakhshan, which has jurisdiction over the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region.

Agriculture dominates the economy, with cotton being the most important crop. Industry is represented by a large aluminum plant, gold-processing plant, carpet-making factory and mining plant, hydro power facilities and factories mostly in light industry and food processing. The continuous transition of the Tajik national economy to the market-oriented policies made it possible to start attracting foreign investments and to set up joint ventures.

Tajikistan possesses rich mineral deposits. Important metallic ores are silver, iron, lead, zinc, antimony, mercury, gold, tin, and tungsten. Non-metallic minerals include common salt, carbonates, quartz sand and precious and semi-precious stones. Energy resources include sizeable coal deposits and smaller reserves of natural gas and petroleum. The hydro-power is significant. Mountainous rivers allow at a relatively low cost to build and operate medium and large size hydro-power stations which could meet the energy requirements not only of Tajikistan but most of the ECO region.

* The data and statistics here are reproduced from the following UN source: