Tajikistan: Validation of Country Partnership Strategy Final Review, 2016-2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tajikistan country partnership strategy (CPS), 2016–2020 aimed to support the government to achieve sustained and inclusive growth that would be less susceptible to external shocks and create higher-paying jobs. It laid out three pathways toward this end: (i) reducing infrastructure bottlenecks in the transport and energy; (ii) improving the investment climate and developing skills; and (iii) integrating support for food security, water resources management, and climate change adaptation. The ADB program implemented during the CPS period totaled $1,579 million, of which $831 million was approved before the CPS period, and an additional $748 million was approved during the period. The largest allocations were to transport (52%) and energy (26%). The remainder was spread over public sector management (7%); agriculture, natural resources, and rural development (5%); and five other sectors which received smaller amounts. In the latter part of 2020, ADB approved a further $83 million for education and an emergency countercyclical budget support package in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The validation assessed the ADB program in Tajikistan during the CPS period successful on the borderline. The program was relevant to the development constraints faced by the country and to the development priorities of the government and ADB; effective as there was substantial progress in transport and energy; efficient in its processes and economic internal rate of return; less than likely sustainable in view of the uncertainty over operation and maintenance financing and unfinished institutional reforms; and with satisfactory development impacts, on balance, for its contributions to the economic growth achieved through improved infrastructure. ADB had considerable success in reducing infrastructure bottlenecks (Pathway 1), partial success in bringing about a favorable investment climate and more productive jobs (Pathway 2), and limited success in achieving food security (Pathway 3).
The Tajikistan program has not been able to give significant attention to economic diversification and the economy remains dependent on remittances and public investment. Resilience to external shocks, such as the recent decline in migrant workers and their remittances, and the COVID-19 induced slowdown, remains low. In large part, Tajikistan’s vulnerability relates to structural issues arising from its incomplete transition to a market economy. The validation recommends that, in the next CPS, ADB should: (i) increase the country program’s focus on marketbased diversification of economic activities and resilience; (ii) improve the sustainability of the program results by providing more support for public finance management and programmatic sector reforms; (iii) use more knowledge solutions to guide ADB support; and (iv) delegate more operational authority to the Tajikistan Resident Mission.