Tajikistan’s economic minister has one of the toughest jobs in his government: attracting foreign investment to the impoverished Central Asian country, which ranks poorly on international corruption and business-development indices.
A former head of Tajikistan’s National Bank and ambassador in Europe, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sharif Rahimzoda, 55, helped negotiate Tajikistan’s 2013 entry into the World Trade Organization. He was also instrumental in securing a World Bank promise to fund the CASA-1000 project to carry Central Asian electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rahimzoda, who has been economic minister since January 2012, sat down recently to discuss these projects and Tajikistan’s energy deficit with EurasiaNet.org in the lush garden behind his Dushanbe office. Rahimzoda spoke in English and Russian; the interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.