Remittances remain an important integration channel linking Tajikistan with EDB member countries

DUSHANBE  — Remittances remain strategically important to stimulating consumer and investment demand in the country, as well as to Tajikistan’s balance of payments, as they compensate the significant foreign trade deficit. This finding was presented in the report entitled “Main Tendencies in Tajikistan’s Integration Development in 2019” prepared by the Eurasian Development Bank’s (EDB) Centre for Integration Studies.

Given the geographical distribution of incoming money transfers, remittances remain an important integration channel linking Tajikistan with EDB member countries. In 2019, the country received US $2.576 billion in remittances, up 0.9 per cent compared to 2018 (US $2.553 billion), the report said.

Since 2015, Tajikistan has been considering the feasibility of joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Neither Tajikistan nor the EEU believes that the country should join the Union only for the sake of becoming its member. Global integration developments, in particular those within the European Union, suggest that the process of artificially involving countries in regional groupings only creates additional problems and does not contribute to their progressive development.

The index of mutual trade between Tajikistan and EDB member states was 39 per cent in 2019, which is 1.1 percentage points less than the year before. The figure for imports from the Bank’s member countries is a little bit higher than that for exports, suggesting that Tajikistan relies more on imports from the states of the region than on its exports to these countries, the report said.

The main buyer of products from Tajikistan in the region is Kazakhstan. The key commodity group supplied to Kazakhstan is zinc and lead ores and concentrates, although trade in these has been declining for the third year in a row. By contrast, imports from EDB member countries have been growing. In 2019, they reached USD $1.5 billion, an increase of 12.3 per cent year-on-year. Russia and Kazakhstan accounted for the bulk of supplies – over 60 and 30 per cent, respectively. Tajikistan imports mineral fuel and wheat from Kazakhstan. Russia also supplies fuel, as well as food products, timber, and machinery and equipment.

To date, the Tajik government has not made a final decision on joining the EEU. However, this should not hamper the development of partnerships with the Union countries. In addition, Tajikistan is a member of the EDB, which also facilitates its integration with other Bank shareholders, the report concludes.

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB’s charter capital totals US $7 billion. The member states of the Bank are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, and Tajikistan.