Tajikistan’s economic growth is projected to moderate in 2023, as geopolitical uncertainty remains high, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to slow to 5.5% this year after registering 8.0% growth in 2022, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) April 2023, released on April 4.  Growth is reportedly forecast to rebound to 6.5% in 2024, depending on gains in mining and other industries, and an easier tax regime.  ADO is ADB’s flagship economic publication.

“Recent growth has come largely from expanded industry and construction, mainly through mining and public investment,” said ADB Country Director for Tajikistan Shanny Campbell.  “Transitioning to a digital economy can boost Tajikistan’s economic growth, improve public services, reduce economic and social inequality, and foster innovation.  While the government has been promoting digitalization, more needs to be done.”

The report notes that insufficient and costly digital connectivity is a barrier to digital development in Tajikistan.

The country lags others in the region in mobile broadband subscriptions, with only 44% of households subscribing in 2021.  According to ADO, only one-third of the population uses mobile internet.  Tajikistan reportedly can facilitate the transition to a digital economy and reduce inequity by investing in improved connectivity, hardware, and software, according to the report.  Allocating funds for digital literacy campaigns targeted at girls and improving internet access for low-income households will also help, according to the report.

The report suggests that targeted subsidies could make internet subscription plans more affordable.  In addition, facilitating programming and coding courses for young people in remote areas can enhance job prospects at home and reduce labor migration to other countries.

ADO notes that the government may consider creating public service centers across the country where the front offices of ministries and agencies would be integrated into a single unit to offer public services to firms and citizens efficiently and transparently.

Inflation, which slowed to 4.2% in 2022, is reportedly projected to accelerate to 7.0% in 2023, reflecting possible currency depreciation in tandem with a weakening Russian ruble, further increases in consumer lending, salary hikes for some civil servants, and a rise in pensions.  Inflation is projected to slow to 6.5% in 2024 as global food prices moderate.

Established in 1966, the Asian Development Bank is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

The digital economy is the worldwide network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communications technologies (ICT).  It can be succinctly summed up as the economy based on digital technologies.