At a conference just held in Paris under World Bank auspices, the donor countries and financial institutions have pledged to support the transition to a market economy in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
According to Kyrgyz Prime Minister Kubanychbek Zhumaliev, reporting yesterday in Bishkek on the Paris conference, the donors were encouraged by the country’s 7 percent annual growth rate in the last two years. The commitments made to Kyrgyzstan amount to $600 million from 1998 through 2000. Most of this funding is intended to supplement state investments in electrical power generation, agriculture and food processing. At the same time, the Kyrgyz government is being asked to improve and expand both the legal framework for privatization and the incentives for growth in the private sector.
Tajikistan is slated to receive $280 million (including $60 million in humanitarian aid) from 1998 through the year 2000. Participants in the conference pointed out that the amount could have been considerably higher if the political situation in Tajikistan had been more stable. Japan and Switzerland were among the countries that promised more aid on condition that stability and security improve. (Russian and Western agencies, May 20 and 21)
Led by President Imomali Rahmonov, the Tajik delegation included prominent leaders of the United Opposition in an attempt to demonstrate progress toward pacification. Just days before the conference, however, Rahmonov threw the political settlement into question through a fiery speech in which he attempted to de-legitimize the opposition altogether (see the Monitor, May 18). The president appears at the moment to practice two types of discourse–one at home and for Moscow and another for Western audiences.–VS
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