Improving the employment situation in selected high-mountain regions

Project description

Title: Supporting the local economy in selected high-mountain regions
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tajikistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Overall term: 2016 to 2022


With a population of around nine million people and a per capita gross domestic product of roughly USD 830, Tajikistan is the poorest of the former Soviet republics. The decline in money transfers from Tajik workers in Russia is also having a detrimental effect on the country’s economic development. Tajikistan therefore needs to reduce its dependence on developments in other countries by boosting the development of its own private sector. Remote and inaccessible high-mountain regions are particu-larly affected by the lack of economic dynamism and the emigration of young people. The diversification of the economic basis sought by the government is making only slow progress. The local labour market is particularly difficult in high-mountain regions. Many people are underemployed and there is a particularly high rate of unemployment among young people and young adults.


Young women and men increasingly find an appropriate, stable environment to become self-employed or take up employment.


The project is run in the high-mountain regions of Gorno-Badakhshan and in the Rasht Valley. The project’s target groups include young adults aged between 18 and 35 and companies creating jobs for this target group. Further target groups are vocational school teachers and employees of education providers in the sectors promoted by the project and professionals working in regional administration. 

The project’s strategy is to enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and also those supplying training courses and services to make better use of the economic potential and qualifications of young people in selected high-mountain regions. Measures to develop skills, which form an essential component of the project, have been offered not only for young women and men, but also for entrepreneurs and the employees of regional and local governments and administrative authorities. 

The project is concentrating on two areas of action, namely training courses for the local labour market and support for local business and MSME development. To increase the efficiency of measures to support business and MSME development, the project works intensively with public administration, thereby improving the conditions for economic development.


  • Six months after completing the training courses and acquiring corresponding knowledge (for instance of technology and business management), 107 of the 125 participants have become em-ployed or self-employed. This corresponds to 86 per cent. 
  • A total of 61 participants have become self-employed. These individuals either took part in training courses for professional qualifications or participated in business start-up courses. In addition, the project has made it easier for them to access funding. This funding was provided by the microfinance institution promoted by the project and the commissioned Accelerate Prosperity programme of the Aga Khan Foundation.
  • In the Rasht Valley, groups of producers (436 businesses, 133 of which are managed by women) that grow and process potatoes and apples have been able to raise their selling prices by 20 per cent through joint distribution. This corresponds to a 20 per cent increase in turnover at a constant level of production.
  • In the Shugnon and Murghob districts, the range of products and services offered by the agricul-tural and transport sectors has been changed and expanded. A total of 83 new and existing businesses, 46 of which are managed by women, have been able to increase their turnover by 38 per cent (agriculture) or 51 per cent (transport sector).