THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2016

Bringing Prosperity to Life

Tajikistan

Ranked 100th of 149

At a glance

Ranks

100 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™

103rd
108th
126th
53rd
67th
47th
130th
81st
127th

SUB-INDEX RANKINGS

In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Tajikistan performs best on Safety & Security and Education and scores lowest on the Personal Freedom sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Tajikistan compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

Tajikistan is a low-income country that is significantly over-delivering prosperity compared to its wealth. The country’s prosperity surplus, which has grown since 2007, is amongst the global top 35 and has overtaken the USA’s.

Note:
In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.

Commentary

Tajikistan’s Economic Quality sub-index improved by 27 ranks to 95th between 2007-2014, and since has declined back to 103rd due to a slowdown in the economy. Between 2014 and 2016, trailing 5-year GDP growth has fallen from 4.8% to 4% due to lower prices for key export commodities and a lower US Dollar value of remittances. 80% of remittances come from Russia and in 2015 there was a steep depreciation of the Russian rouble.

Nevertheless, satisfaction with standard of living has improved by 33% over the last decade to above the global average. As one of Asia’s poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, Tajikistan has successfully reduced its absolute poverty rate to 4% and its relative poverty rate to 32%. It is feared that the slowdown in growth will reverse progress made in poverty reduction. Tajikistan has a narrow economic base and a heavy reliance on natural resources making it very vulnerable to external shocks. Reliance on seasonal employment means that people go from poor to non-poor over a short period of time, signifying an additional challenge for the government to sustain its rate of poverty reduction.

The World Bank estimates that 55% of Tajikistan’s population is under the age of 25 due to rapid population growth. The economy is struggling to absorb this increasing workforce. Unemployment is at 11% and labour force participation is only 71%. Financial inclusion remains extremely low, only 2.5% of the population aged fifteen or above holds a bank account. To push forward its economic development, Tajikistan needs to generate more and better paying jobs by diversifying its industrial sector. This would help protect it from external shocks and improve its low export diversification.

Tajikistan’s Safety & Security sub-index rank has moved up 20 places since 2007 to 47th. It is the fifth best in mainland Asia after Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Tajikistan is enjoying peace with its fighting days behind it. There are no civil and ethnic war casualties and battlefield deaths are so few they are almost negligible. Intentional homicides are the lowest in central Asia and the police do not ignore minor crime prevention either. Fewer than 5% of Tajikistanis have been victims of property theft in 2016 and 84% of citizens feel safe walking alone at night. Yet the refugee rate in the country is higher than the regional average- possibly long term effects of the civil war where 10% of the population was displaced. Economic hardship has led to renewed interest in radical Islam in Tajikistan. Consequently, the political terror scale has risen since 2011. Terrorist attack casualties have increased, in part caused by the neighbouring Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Safety & Security scores for Tajikistan, the OECD, and Central Asia according to the 2016 Prosperity Index.
Tajikistan’s Safety & Security score is not only higher than its regional peers, but also above Asia’s average and that of the OECD.

It seems that a more orderly life in Tajikistan has come at the expense of Personal Freedom, with the country never ranking above the global bottom 30 in this sub-index. The death penalty continues to exist, civil liberties are the worst in the region, and press freedom has declined by 8% in nine years.

Yet some democratic elements have taken root since the government has set its ambitious goal of doubling GDP, reducing poverty by 20%, and expanding the middle class by 2020. This is reflected in significant improvements in human capital. Since 2009, the country has benefited from a 25 rank improvement in the Health sub-index. Education rose by 15 ranks between 2007 and 2016. Most notable have been efforts to raise literacy rates to 99.8% and obtain a 99.6% primary school completion rate. Tajikistan has the fourth lowest rate of diabetes in mainland Asia, immunisation coverage is high, and life expectancy at birth has climbed to 69.9 years. Prosperity is being stimulated in Central Asia’s poorest country and with necessary reforms there are great hopes for long term effects.


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Data

How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.