Tajikistan president on energy, Arab investment

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan ranks eighth in the world in hydropower resources and renewable energy. The country also ranks sixth in the world in terms of production and consumption of ecologically clean energy, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said in an interview to Al Jazeera Television Channel. The interview was recorded on September 9 after the commissioning of the second hydro unit of the Rogun Hydropower Plant in Tajikistan, Rahmon’s press service reported on October 4.

“Our independent country does not have sufficient oil and gas resources. Tajikistan’s only wealth is hydropower and according to this indicator we rank eighth in the world,” President Rahmon said. “Tajikistan’s resources and potential count over 580 billion kWh. With gaining independence on 9 September 1991, the major challenge we faced was the electricity supply to [our] people and economy. In the first years, we had almost no access to electricity. Tajikistan’s economy also faced serious difficulties. Taking this, we have made a commitment to develop an energy sector in Tajikistan. The project study of the Rogun Hydro Power Plant (HPP), where we are now, began long ago during the Soviet period. However, later it was forgotten. With the independence, we returned to studying and development of the project, as well as construction works.”

Asked about the role of Arabs and Arab investors in Tajikistan’s revival, President Rahmon said the role is unsatisfactory. “We consider the Arab countries as one of our key partners in the international arena. We pay constant attention to the development and strengthening of good relations with them. The Arab world should pay enough attention to our region. Past period was a knowledge development period in our relationship. However, to our view, this period took too long. 28 years have passed. Our cooperation with the Arab countries is developing and it is not satisfactory. We put many efforts to expand our economic, trade and humanitarian cooperation. The Tajik people and the Arab world have a lot in common. Within the framework of visits to Arab countries, be it official or business trips, we continuously invite to have active economic and investment presence. There are positive examples, but not many. Our cooperation, mostly in economic and trade spheres, developed well with Kuwait and Qatar, to some extent with the Emirates. The Arab countries’ interest in the region, I do not know why, is inactive. Though we share same history and civilization. Taking the long history within the Islamic world, Tajikistan was one of the first post-Soviet countries to join the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). […] I have repeatedly pointed out that developed and economically rich countries have the opportunity to support developing countries of the Islamic world. […] If ten percent of the money which are accumulated in the banks of the powerful and advanced countries will be invested to create a centralized fund under the auspices of the Islamic Bank to support the developing countries of the Islamic world, this step could be for the benefit both of the Arab countries and the unity and solidarity of the Muslim Ummah, and it will increase cooperation among the Muslim countries. Unfortunately, these proposals are rarely heard and supported,” the Tajik leader said.

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