DUSHANBE (TCA) — As Central Asia’s poorest nation, Tajikistan, badly needs finance and foreign investment to develop its economy, we are republishing this article originally published by EurasiaNet.org:
Ever the optimist, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon is again pleading with the global Islamic community for financial assistance to develop his country.
Speaking at the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum in Indonesia this week, Rahmon appealed to prosperous Muslim countries to give a helping hand to struggling Muslim nations, including his own.
Rahmon proposed changing banking procedures to simplify the transfer of grants and lowering interest rates for loans.
“In our view, with a view to lowering the impact of global crises and other current issues in the developing Islamic world, especially among countries that do not have an outlet to the sea, it is necessary to create a specialized bank or a financial support fund,” he said. “I am certain that this would to a great extent enable the successful resolution of current problems before us, as well as strengthen the unity of the Islamic umma on the trajectory toward peace and stability.”
The Tajik government suggests electricity infrastructure like the proposed CASA-1000 grid, mineral exploration, farming and tourism could be promising targets for investment.
Rahmon said conditions were highly favorable in his country for investment and that reforms had been enacted to promote private enterprise. This will come as a surprise to the business community in Tajikistan, which has become used to operations in conditions of rampant corruption and cronyism.
Since the start of the year, Rahmon has been doing the rounds in monied Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the hope of drumming up investment for his cash-strapped country. Those efforts have yielded few notable results, however.
You have to admire Rahmon’s chutzpah. He tours the world vigorously promoting his Muslim credentials, but back home any young man daring to grow out their beard or any woman adopting the veil can expect severe harassment.
Tajikistan is even ruining its ties with Muslim partners abroad. It has until recently enjoyed cordial relations with the Shiite government in Iran, but things went sour there after Tehran hosted the leader of the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan to a religious conference. And in July, Iran’s Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation pulled the plug on its operations in Tajikistan following complaints from officials in Dushanbe about the organization’s activities.