Tajikistan Looks to Emirates for Investments
In his latest endeavor to gin up some or any foreign investment, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon last week traveled to the United Arab Emirates.
The bilateral deals signed at the conclusion of the March 16 visit encompassed security, extradition agreements, education and tourism.
During his meeting with the director general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, Rahmon said that Tajikistan was laying the grounds for preferential terms to attract outside investment.
Rahmon lamented that only 14 Tajik-Emirati joint enterprises, which he said fell far short of the real potential.
The general director Abu Dhabi’s state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, said that plans were in the footing to dispatch an Emirati delegation to Tajikistan to explore possibilities.
This marks Rahmon’s second visit to the Middle East in search of economic tie-ups since the start of the year.
Eyebrows were raised when the Tajik leader cropped up in Mecca, of all places, with swathes of government officials and relatives in January.
The visit was intended to burnish his credentials as an honest-to-Allah Muslim, while also serving as an opportunity to hit up the Saudis for some credit. The timing was particularly curious given that Riyadh was at the time in the throes of an ugly war of words with Iran, which has traditionally has more developed, if not always smooth, relations with Tajikistan.
Iran irked Tajikistan in late December by laying out the red carpet for wanted opposition leader Muhiddin Kabiri. To compound the insult, Kabiri was welcomed to conference on Islamic revival and was seated on the same row as the head of Tajikistan’s semi-official Council of Ulema.
Rahmon is now assiduously trying to court his Arab friends.
On March 14, the National Bank of Tajikistan granted its first banking license to an Islamic micro-credit institution — Alif-Sarmoya Bank. The bank will be allowed to hold individual and corporate depositors, issue micro loans and perform cash transfers. It has been waiting for the license since 2014, and it all it took for the Tajik authorities to move was economic collapse.