Tajikistan Country Report
President Imomali Rahmon, in his current position since 1994, is likely to seek re-election in 2020, providing medium-term policy continuity. In 2015 he solidified his power in Tajikistan by eliminating independent opposition (the Islamic Renaissance Party was banned in September 2015) and strengthening political and military ties with Russia. In the longer term, dynastic succession to his eldest son Rustam Imomali is likely. The business environment remains challenging as corruption is widespread, with the president's immediate family and close associates dominating local businesses. Terrorism risks are likely to increase if Tajik Islamic State militants begin returning from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is an increased threat of Islamist militants' infiltration over the porousand poorly defended 1,344-km border with Afghanistan, including in the Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Region (MBAR).
High levels of corruption and complex bureaucratic procedures pose major problems for investors. Tajikistan has a relatively young population but most of the workforce is not skilled. A large proportion of the working male population was employed in Russia due to the lack of opportunities in Tajikistan. The economic weaknesses in Russia led to some migrant workers coming back to Tajikistan, bringing back improved skill-sets. Instances of strikes and worker disruption remain relatively rare. Regular electricity supply shortages in the winter months and poor road infrastructure further hamper business operations.
The risk of terrorism varies from moderate in Dushanbe and in the north, to high in the mountainous areas in the east. Most of terrorist activity is linked to radical Islamist groups, often connected to Islamist groups in Afghanistan, across the porous border along the Panj river. If the estimated 600–1,400 Tajiks currently fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq choose to return to Tajikistan, this would significantly raise terrorism risks as the current government actively suppresses Islamic practices. A further crackdown against moderate Islam is likely to radicalise the local youth, especially taking into account limited employment prospects in Tajikistan's underdeveloped economy.
Tajikistan has a limited military budget of USD84.5 million in 2018 and relies on Russia's military support in dealing with external threats. Islamic militant activity in northern Afghanistan, across the porous border, represents a key threat, especially if the Afghan conflict spills over into Central Asia. The armed groups associated with the former United Tajik Opposition, which fought against the government during the civil war of 1992-1997 highlight the risks for a renewed civil war. The alleged mutiny of renegade general, former deputy defence minister, Abdukhalim Nazarzoda and his supporters in September 2015 is a relatively recent indicator of such risk.
Political protest is uncommon due to repressive policies of the government and the likely violent crackdown by security services. However, small and isolated protests are more likely in the remote mountainous areas out of easy reach of the central government in Dushanbe. Although labour unrest is also rare, there are increasing pressures due to migrant workers returning from Russia, which has been hit by economic weaknesses. Media reports indicate that thousands of Tajik migrant workers, especially those from the rural communities, find it difficult to secure employment in Tajikistan, keeping the risks of labour unrest in the 12-month outlook elevated.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine and proguanil (sometimes marketed as Paludrine ) or proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
The country is situated in a highly active seismic zone, with an average of 2000 earthquakes reported each year. There has been an increase in the number of earthquakes of Tajikistan during 2016 and 2017. Risk is particularly high in Gharm Valley, located in the center of the country (an earthquake that hit the area in 1949 left 50,000 dead), and in and around the city of Kulob (southwest).
The threat of floods is significant in Khatlon province (southwest), Gharm Valley (center), and Khorog region (southeast). Flooding and heavy rains can cause landslides and avalanches in the regions of Khatlon (southwest), the Gharm Valley (central), and Khorog (southeast); the risk is particularly pronounced in the spring when levels of precipitation are high.
Fergana Valley is exposed to serious levels of pollution. Radioactive waste is being stored in Mailuu-suu, Kyrgyzstan, not far from the Tajikistan border, in an area vulnerable to landslides. If a major landslide were to occur, the Fergana Valley could be contaminated, threatening the three million people that inhabit the area.
Transportation and hotel infrastructure remain largely below Western standards. Poor road maintenance and erratic driving makes driving in Tajikistan dangerous. Pedestrians do not cross streets at dedicated crosswalks and often do not look both ways before crossing. Taxis and marshrutka (shared taxis) often stop unexpectedly or swerve in front of other vehicles to pick up or drop a fare. It is not advisable to drive alone but rather hire an experienced local driver to minimize the risk of an accident.
In Dushanbe, public transportation is often overcrowded and not always safe.
Traveling outside urban areas is dangerous in winter as avalanches, mudslides, rockslides, and flooding often block major routes. The roads linking Dushanbe to Khujand and Dushanbe to the Pamirs can be closed for lengthy periods due to avalanches and snow accumulation. Air travel is recommended. Sufficient emergency equipment (satellite phone, enough fuel; shovel, snow chains in the winter; food, water, blankets) should be taken on upcountry trips.
French authorities advise against using the Anzob tunnel, located 80 km (50 mi) from Dushanbe on the M24 highway, during winter.
Tajikistan has a primarily continental climate with significant fluctuations in temperature between seasons or even over the course of a single day. Summers are hot and winters are cold. In the lowlands, located in the southwest of the country, the climate is arid and subtropical. Average temperatures range between 23°C to 30°C in July and between -1°C to 3°C in January. In the Pamir Mountains, temperatures are much lower (5°C to 10°C in July and -20°C to -15°C in January).
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz