Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tajik Gastarbeiters Abroad have Sent Home Eight Times as Much Money as Foreigners have Invested in Their Country

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 15 – More than a million Tajiks are working abroad, most of them in the Russian Federation, and between 2008 and 2018, they sent home 30.4 billion US dollars, eight times more than the 3.6 billion US dollars foreigners invested in their country, according to official data cited by the Migrant News portal (migrantnews.info/amp/ru/post/7035).

            Other data that portal cites show that the amount Tajiks working abroad sent home exceeded the country’s export earnings by 2.5 times (migrantnews.info/amp/ru/post/7039) and that such transfer payments now account for 35 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP, down from 49 percent in 2013 (migrantnews.info/amp/ru/post/7059).

            The size and hence impact of such transfer has become the focus of attention in the last several weeks because Dushanbe, which hopes to become less dependent on this flow and thus on the country, Russia, from which most of it comes, has been discussing making transfer payments more difficult (fergana.agency/articles/113463/).

            While developing its economy and reducing Dushanbe’s dependence on such payments are laudable goals, a rapid shift away from this source of income could not only send the economy into a tailspin but undermine social stability at a time when that country is already facing challenges in that regard and from insurgents coming across the border from Afghanistan. 

            Other Central Asian and South Caucasus countries face similar problems, but none is as large or as urgent as Tajikistan’s. 

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