China, top investor in the Tajik economy

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon shake hands in Beijing on August 31, 2017 (Source: AFP)

The People’s Republic of China is the main investor in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan. In fact, since 2013 when Beijing launched the Belt and Road Initiative, China has invested significant financial founds in Central Asia with the aim of modernizing regional infrastructure and stabilizing this strategic area.

According to data released by the Gosudarstvennyj komitet po investicijam i upravleniju gosudarstvennym imushhestvom (Committee for Investment and State Property of the Republic of Tajikistan), in 2019 the Tajik economy received 346 million dollars of investment of which 262.3 million dollars belongs to China.

Recently, Farrukh Mahmoud Hamralizodam, the chairman of the Committee, reported the statistics of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Tajikistan in 2019 and discussed the data during a press conference. According to him, last year registered an increase of 6% of foreign direct investments and China ranks as the leader in investment in the Central Asian country.

The flow of Russian direct investment amounted to 33.1 million dollars in 2019, the United Kingdom invested about 13.9 million dollars, while the Turkish investors invested 13.5 million dollars.

Hamralizoda noted that seven investment agreements worth 247.6 million dollars were signed in 2019. The implementation of the projects provides for the creation of eight new production enterprises. Currently, 65 projects are under implementation in Tajikistan and their total amount is more than 3.3 billion dollars. The share of the Tajik government in these projects is about 150 million dollars (1.4 billion somonis).

Because of the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing has been hugely involved in Central Asian dynamics and economic development supporting local stability and confronting the United States and Russia’s interests in the region.

In fact, recently the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an official visit to Central Asia with the purpose of strengthening the diplomatic relations between the White House and the post-Soviet republics and warning the Central Asian countries about their strong connection with Beijing accused of aggressive trade practices.

Although in 2017 NATO closed its liaison office in Tashkent (La NATO “abbandona” l’Asia Centrale) the recent visit of Mike Pompeo renewed the US interests in Central Asia, a region which plays a strategic role in the international arena and has experienced the confrontation among great powers such as the Tsarist and the British empires during the era of the Great Game, the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War, and nowadays the Russian Federation, the United States and China.

The European Union might as well be involved in the Central Asian dynamics and trade as confirmed by EU Diplomatic Service (EEAS) document  The EU and Central Asia: New Opportunities for a Stronger Partnership where Brussels stressed the ‘longstanding relationship based upon strong mutual interests’ with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and the will of adopting a new strategy (A new European Union strategy for Central Asia).