Tajikistan possesses many elements that will be needed to diversify its national economy after decades of specialization within the Soviet system. Significant deposits of gold, iron, lead, mercury, and tin exist, and some coal is present. Some regions have ample water for irrigation, and the country's rivers are a largely untapped source of hydroelectric power generation. The labor supply is sufficient, provided Tajikistan can retain qualified workers in critical fields. The civil war of 1992-93, the collapse of the integrated Soviet economic system, and the lack of significant economic reform by the post-civil war government all have severely impeded economic performance, however.
Economic problems that had developed in Tajikistan during the Soviet era persisted into the first decade of independence. These included overreliance on production of cotton and raw materials in general, a high level of unemployment, and a low standard of living. Although the old Soviet economic system ceased to exist officially, several aspects of it survived after 1991. The transition to a market economy progressed slowly, and Russia and other former Soviet republics continued to play an important role in Tajikistan's economy. Yet Tajikistan also took the first steps toward developing economic relations with a wide assortment of other countries. Quite apart from the deliberate changes implemented by policy makers, the economy of Tajikistan was profoundly affected in the early stages of its independence by the political turmoil that accompanied the transition.
|Country Studies main page | Tajikistan Country Studies main page|