President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov used his considerable advantages -- total control over the media and all public organizations -- to announce his program in the essentially uncontested presidential elections on February 12. The Turkmen leader conceded the need to bring his desert nation of nearly 5 million people out of their nomadic past to become a modern industrialized nation.
In fact, Turkmenistan is already an industrialized country producing mainly gas and oil, although the total state budget and percentages of revenue from various industries are either hidden or exaggerated. Berdymukhamev essentially conceded that his country needs to diversify its hydrocarbons-intensive economy and add more agribusiness and manufacturing. Most adults of working age are employed outside the gas and oil industry in farming or municipal services, yet many are jobless. New clinics and schools sit half empty with unused new equipment because there aren't sufficiently trained people to run them.
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