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Looking to the future: Ensuring better job opportunities for Tajikistan’s youth

Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad's picture
A significant share of Tajikistan’s workforce works outside the country. 
Photo: Gennadiy Ratushenko / World Bank

My colleague Victoria and I had an opportunity recently to meet with students at the Tajik-Russian Slavonic University in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as part of our research and preparation for a new report called Tajikistan Jobs Diagnostic: Strategic Framework for Jobs.

Curious to learn about their future professional ambitions, we asked one class of students how many of them would like to work in the private sector after they graduate. Only about 10% of the students raised their hands. We also asked them how many would like to work for the government. This time, around 20% raised their hands.

Have remittances been neglected in comparison to exports in the economic policy dialogue of low income countries (LICs)?

Sudharshan Canagarajah's picture

A liberal trade regime is regarded by most economists as being necessary for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction over the long term. One of the main reasons for this is that trade liberalization helps to boost incentives for export growth, and in turn exports are one of the main drivers of long term economic growth. Most of the fastest growing developing countries in the last three decades, such as the East Asian tigers, have also sustained very rapid export growth. Exporters usually face greater competitive pressure than do suppliers of goods to the domestic market, and so must constantly innovate to improve efficiency and the quality of their products. Hence exports usually lead the economy in upgrading technology and improving factor productivity, both of which are crucial for long term growth.

The impact of the global crisis on remittances: Case of Russia and Tajikistan

Sudharshan Canagarajah's picture
  Photo ©

The Russian economy suffered a double blow in 2008; first from the drop in world crude oil prices and secondly from a reversal of capital account inflows. The fall in national income and the adjustment of the balance of payments to the external shocks triggered a steep recession. After recording real GDP growth of 8.1 percent in 2007, growth fell to 5.6 percent on 2008 and then to negative 9 percent in 2009, one of the steepest falls of any major economy. This affected remittances, mainly to other CIS economies, through two channels: first because of a contraction in employment, especially in the cyclically sensitive construction industry and secondly because the depreciation of the Russian rouble, by 51 percent against the US dollar between March 2008 and March 2009, reduced the dollar value of remittances.

Remittances to Tajikistan fell much more sharply in the final quarter of 2008 than can be attributed to seasonal factors alone. The slump continued throughout 2009 with gross inflows of remittances valued in US dollars for the year falling 31 percent below the total for 2008. How did this fall in remittances, of more than $800 million (about one sixth of GDP) relative to the level in 2008, affect the macroeconomy in Tajikistan? There are three possible channels of adjustment to a reduction of foreign exchange inflows of this magnitude.

Remittances to Central Asia are falling, but less so in ruble terms

Sanket Mohapatra's picture

Remittance flows to several Central Asian countries appear to be declining precipitously in the first half of this year, raising concerns that these flows are less resilient in the Europe and Central Asia region than in other developing regions. Remittance flows in US dollar terms to Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, and Tajikistan declined by 15 percent, 33 percent and 34 percent respectively in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period last year.
Most of remittances to these three Central Asian countries come from Russia. From a survey of central banks that we conducted last year, Russia reportedly accounts for more than four-fifth of remittance inflows in Kyrgyz Republic and Armenia, and it was the top source country for remittances to Tajikistan. Driven by increasing emigration, primarily to Russia, remittance flows more than doubled in Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan US dollar terms between 2006 and 2008, while personal transfers through banks in Armenia increased by some 70 percent.