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The European Commission has announced a €59 million support programme to boost rural development in Tajikistan. Agriculture contributes to about one quarter of the country’s GDP and close to three quarters of the population live in rural areas. Yet the rural economy suffers from structural challenges, notably in the areas of natural resource management and business activity.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said: “With this new €59 million investment we will help Tajikistan’s rural communities to use natural resources in a sustainable way and improve their resilience to extreme climatic conditions. This will benefit the communities themselves and all of us”.
In addition, the EU will help to enhance business competitiveness, strengthen the management of natural resources, and promote sustainable and efficient use of water.
The newly approved programme, Rural Development Programme II, builds on past EU efforts in the sector and merges the ongoing EU programmes Rural Development Programme I and Enhancing Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme.
The newly approved programme will, amongst others:
The measures will be realised in cooperation with the German development agency Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the World Bank, and other organisations.
EU-Tajikistan relations date back to 1991, when the European Commission launched the Technical Aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) programme. Tajikistan is the biggest recipient of bilateral assistance in Central Asia. EU bilateral development assistance has increased from around €20 million annually in the early 2000s to around €33 million annually today. The current cycle’s funds for Tajikistan focus on improving education, health and rural development, as well as boosting investment.
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