Development Coordination Council Proposes High-Priority Actions to Help Meet President’s Ambitious Growth Targets (28/04/2014)

Tajikistan can reach higher growth and poverty reduction targets by focusing on fewer, more critical priorities, according to a report by representatives of the Development Coordination Council (DCC) to a Government meeting chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Davlatali Said and DCC Chair, Marsha Olive.

At the meeting held on April 25 at Kokhi Vahdat, DCC representatives reiterated the commitment of the DCC to provide technical and financial support to help the Government realize the goals in the Living Standards Improvement Strategy (LSIS) for 2015, including reduction of poverty to 30%. However, they observed that resources of the Government and development partners were insufficient to meet the wide-ranging objectives in the LSIS, so prioritization on key bottlenecks would be essential. Current DCC commitments total more than US$ 850 million in support of the six priority areas of the LSIS 2013-15: public administration and governance; private sector-led growth; human development; energy security; food security; and greater connectivity with the region and the world. Priorities enumerated by DCC representatives were communicated in more detail in a joint letter of all 28-development partners, which are members of DCC to the President of Tajikistan, HE Emomali Rahmon, in February this year. The purpose of the joint DCC-Government of Tajikustan meeting was to prepare for the next Development Forum, chaired by President Rahmon, to take place in Dushanbe in November 2014.

In writing to the President, the 28 multilateral, bilateral, and UN based organizations, in the DCC noted that Tajikistan is in the top rank of countries internationally on the pace of poverty reduction, which has fallen by half in just over a decade. However, there are increasing risks that threaten Tajikistan’s impressive progress. Poverty reduction in the country has mainly been driven by wages and buoyant remittances from migrant labor. At the same time, opportunities for migrant labor are unlikely to keep pace with the demands of Tajikistan’s rapidly increasing population. New sources of growth, they noted, are needed to create jobs and meet the Government’s ambitious poverty reduction goals by 2020.

To bolster Tajikistan’s goals of robust economic growth, poverty reduction, and a rising middle class, DCC members recommended the Government to focus on the following priorities in the next 16 months to the end of the current LSIS. These include, a) increasing the transparency and accountability of public finance, particularly for the state-owned enterprises; b) strengthening the financing and restructuring of Barki Tojik to improve delivery of energy to the population; c) promoting access to justice for the most vulnerable; d) allowing the private sector to flourish and create jobs; e) investing in people and protecting the poorest from economic shocks; f) expanding the national goal of food security to include better nutrition in particular for children; and g) breaking the connectivity deadlock, particularly through improving the competitiveness of Tajikistan’s aviation sector and the resulting expansion of airline connectivity. In view of climate change issues becoming an additional burden on the challenges of attaining long-term economic growth in the country, DCC strongly encouraged Government’s efforts to integrate the theme of climate risk and resilience into core development planning and implementation.

Effective and timely implementation of these activities by the Government will gradually open new economic opportunities and enable growth to become more balanced and sustainable. At the same time, it will support further reduction of poverty rates towards the government’s target of 20 percent by 2020.

Representatives of the DCC who presented at the Government-DCC meeting include: C.C. Yu, Asian Development Bank Country Director and Head of DCC Energy Security and Transport Connectivity initiatives; Christopher Miller, International Finance Corporation Country Officer and Head of DCC Private Sector Development initiatives; Nicolas Oberlin, World Food Programme Country Director and Head of DCC Food Security initiative; Norimasa Shimomura, UNDP Country Director and Head of DCC Rule of Law initiative; and Ovidiu Mic, European Union Head of Operation and Head of DCC Human Development initiatives.