Belt and Road

What the Kyrgyz Republic must do to diversify its economy

Backed by healthy gold reserves and multilateral agencies keen to improve infrastructure, the outlook for the Central Asian republic is positive. However, the population’s tense relationship with China must be addressed if it is to make serious economic headway.
Woman presents handmade textiles at annual textile expo in 2009 at Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan.
Woman presents handmade textiles at annual textile expo in 2009 at Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan.

The second poorest Central Asian nation after Tajikistan, the land-locked Kyrgyz Republic formerly known as Kyrgyzstan has struggled to shift to a market-based economy since gaining independence during the break up of the USSR. It has remained for the past few years in what multilateral agencies euphemistically call a transition phase.

It is true, of course, that this growth is coming from a low base, but thanks to an abundance of minerals, particularly the open-pit gold mining site of Kumtor in Issyk-Kul, there is a sense that the tide might be turning.

For the first half of last year, GDP jumped 6.4% according to the Eurasian...

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