Real estate is booming - in Turkmenistan!

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Ashgabat_copy_5While real estate has been taking a hit in many parts of the world, there is at least one place that is booming - Turkmenistan. Sebastien Peyrouse, writing in the CACI Analyst, describes the scene in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan's capital:

In the city center, expropriations are continuing as former Soviet quarters are razed to make way for grand, green esplanades and new building-lined avenues. Apart from administrative buildings, dozens of residential buildings with marble facades have also materialized.

The two big players in this construction boom are French and Turkish firms, and competition is getting stiff. Between construction firms from the two countries, they've managed to take in contracts worth somewhere between 2.3 and 2.5 billion euros. That's a tidy sum. It makes you wonder how the rest of the country is faring, in particular the rural areas, since the agricultural sector accounts for the livelihood of half of the population according to the most recent World Bank data.

Of course, Ashgabat is not the only place benefitting from the construction boom. A lot of money is pouring into a planned tourist area in the port city of Turkmenbashi. According to Peyrouse, this will be

   ...the site for an immense complex that will include sixty hotels, as well as restaurants, shopping center, activities and leisure centers, an artificial river, and also a free trade zone to encourage foreign firms to set up there. The total cost of the complex is estimated at US$5 billion.

Unfortunately, as Peyrouse notes, this location may not be optimal for tourism since "the sea there is cold and polluted." I still suspect it will fare better than the ice palace that Turkmenistan's former President Saparmurat Niyazov ordered to be built in 2004.

Of course, Turkmenistan's rural areas aren't totally missing out on the construction boom. Apparently, rural areas will see "the construction of several grain silos...the construction of a factory...[and] several health centers." I just wonder why the Turkish and French firms don't seem to be competing to get these contracts?


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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