Khorog 1 Hydropower Plant, Tajikistan. Since 2002, Pamir Energy has restored 11 micro hydropower plants and …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

The Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA) office in Khorog. PECTA was established in April 2008 …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

The Vanj Cross-Border Bridge, Tajikistan. The Vanj Bridge joins three other bridges at Darwaz, Tem, and …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Accelerate prosperity - a partnership between AKF and AKFED - acts as an incubator for business start-ups in …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

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Tajikistan | Economic Development

96 percent

Pamir Energy provides energy for about 96 percent of the population of Gorno-Badakhshan, with subsidies for the poorest.

Pamir Energy has implemented over 30 projects, including the full rehabilitation of 11 hydropower plants, totalling a little more than 44 MW in generation capacity. Its success proves that small-scale hydropower plants can provide reliable, clean and affordable electricity - 24 hours a day - over the long term.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer


With our partners we launched Indigo Tajikistan (now Tcell) in 2002. Today, Tcell is the largest mobile operator in Tajikistan, with 38 percent of the total market. Tcell provides coverage to over 90 percent of the country’s population and has set high standards for Tajik telecommunication companies for customer service and corporate business practices.

We manage a Serena Inn in Khorog and the Dushanbe Serena Hotel, a five-star hotel with over 100 units, which opened its doors to guests in 2011. These help Tajikistan to become a more viable destination, ultimately translating into economic development and improved livelihoods.

Pamir Energy hydro power plant, Murghab - a new power station that came online in 2018 to serve the remote communities leaving in and near Murghab.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Pamir Energy

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a five-year civil war, Tajikistan’s electrical infrastructure was in need of significant investment. Amongst the most affected areas was Gorno-Badakhshan. Economic and human development was stifled during the cold winter months as a result of a lack of electricity for heating and the consequent closure of schools, health centres and businesses.

Many of the region’s 227,000 residents resorted to wood fuel for their heating and cooking needs during the winter, resulting in the loss of 70 percent of the region’s forests within a decade and a sharp increase in respiratory disorders due to smoke inhalation. In partnership with the International Finance Corporation, AKFED formed the Pamir Energy company in 2002 to address the situation.

Under a public-private partnership agreement signed with the Government of Tajikistan, the company is managing the operation of all power generation, transmission and distribution facilities in the area for a 25-year concession period. Pamir Energy has invested more than US$ 200 million since 2002 to repair electrical infrastructure, expand hydroelectric and solar capacity and establish a metering system in the region.


The renewable energy produced by Pamir Energy’s plants has displaced the need to burn trees or use high-polluting diesel generators. About 96 percent of the population in Gorno-Badakhshan has gained access to electricity. Tariff subsidies for the poorest households enable them to access power during winter.

Pamir Energy transmits surplus energy from eastern Tajikistan to northern Afghanistan, giving five percent of the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan (some 50,000 people and over 200 government and commercial entities) electricity for the first time.

It also continues to be a source of livelihood and skill development, providing employment opportunities to over 750 local residents and 300-400 contractual opportunities on an annual basis. In 2017, Pamir Energy was recognised with the Ashden Award, a prestigious international prize, for excellence in sustainable energy, particularly in the area of rural electrification.

Tcell company now provides coverage to over 90% of Tajikistan’s population, which has given the country an economic and social boost, especially in the rural areas.



In the late 1990s, mobile telephone service in Tajikistan was delivered by a single company. Service was limited to key urban areas, and handsets and service were expensive ($1,000 for a handset). The national landline system offered poor quality voice services and restricted long-distance calling.

In 2001, AKFED partnered with MCT to launch the Indigo Tajikistan mobile telephone company. Now called Tcell, the company has over three million subscribers. MCT’s stake in Indigo and Somoncom has been acquired by Telia, one of the largest mobile operators in Europe and Central Asia.

Through investments like Tcell, AKFED aims to create more employment opportunities in higher skilled segments of Tajikistan’s economy and to build local management ability. All of Tcell’s employees – more than 500 – are local residents. In line with AKFED’s philosophy, Tcell also seeks to welcome rather than discourage mobile service competitors in the country and to expand telecommunications coverage into Tajikistan’s rural areas, even if these regions are not profitable in the short term.


Tcell was the first mobile provider in Tajikistan to offer coverage in the remote mountainous regions of the country, and the first in Central Asia to launch 3G, 4G and subsequently 5G networks. The company now provides coverage to over 90 percent of Tajikistan’s population, giving rural areas in particular an economic boost.

Tcell pioneered its own app, allowing its users to communicate free with subscribers in Russia, to serve the large migrant labour force. Its new communication platform will enable other service developers to harness new opportunities.

Tcell is actively working to develop the digital economy, with projects including:

  • the TezSum digital wallet;

  • a direct contract with Sberbank of the Russian Federation for accepting payments without commission; and

  • working with First Microfinance Bank for direct receipt of money transfers to cards.

Tcell is ISO 9001-2015, ISO 45001 -2018 and ISO 14001 -2015 certified. The company was recognised by the government as a best taxpayer for three years in a row, and is committed to improving lives. Its social projects develop education, healthy lifestyles and social entrepreneurship, and help those in difficult situations.

Landscape of Bulunkul.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Tourism Development

Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) is an affiliate of AKFED that seeks to develop the tourism potential of underserved areas such as Tajikistan. TPS supports the natural environment and the culture of the local population. It operates a hotel in Dushanbe and an inn in Khorog.

AKF contributes to building the tourism ecosystem in Tajikistan, supporting the Pamirs Eco-Cultural Tourism Association (PECTA) to build the capacity of service providers to deliver quality services to tourists, and promoting Tajikistan as a destination of choice in foreign markets. PECTA’s advocacy in the Consultative Council on Improvement of the Investment Climate under the President of Tajikistan contributed to the approval of multiple-entry tourist visas, following lengthy negotiations and consultation with the national government.

With the facilitation of PECTA, the Pamir Mountains have been recognised as a Green Destination in the annual Sustainable Top 100 Destination Award ceremony. In recognition of its efforts towards responsible tourism and distinctive appeal, the Pamir Mountains took third place as “Best of Asia-Pacific” amongst the top destinations. The Pamir Mountains have been included in the list of 100 Green Tourism Destinations four times and in the list of “Best of Asia-Pacific” destinations twice. PECTA’s efforts and contributions to tourism development and promotion have been a major contribution to the achievement of this prominent award and the expansion of sustainable tourism in the region.

In Khorog, Tajikistan, Nigina Vatanbekova (third left) owns a pharmacy, which sells over 20 types of herbal medicines that her enterprise produces. Nigina used the investment from Accelerate Prosperity to purchase the required equipment for her business – which has since allowed her to employ 16 people.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Enterprise Development and Employable Skills

AKF’s value chain development interventions diversify economic activity and enhance productivity and market integration for thousands of small-scale producers and enterprises. The Foundation involves AKDN’s Accelerate Prosperity initiative, to provide technical expertise, creative financing solutions and market connections. This promotes entrepreneurship, particularly amongst women and youth, and the growth of start-up and early-stage businesses.

Opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs are expanded through links with the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) entrepreneurship programme. This connects graduates to mentors and facilitates access to investment capital. Meanwhile, the construction of cross-border infrastructure such as bridges, roads and markets is providing a foundation for long-term cross-border exchange and cooperation with Afghanistan, unlocking the economic potential of Afghan-Tajik border areas.

Educational interventions for youth aged 15 to 18 are delivered through schools. Entrepreneurship skills development encourages self-employment and creates new job opportunities. Over 13,000 seasonal and permanent jobs have been created through increased economic opportunity and investments in Tajikistan’s labour pool.

AKF also builds employer coalitions to advance youth recruitment, employer-led training, internships, and retention and career advancement strategies.

The First Microfinance Bank Tajikistan (FMFB-T), Murghab branch.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Financial Services

Established in 2003, FMFB-T was the first commercial bank in Tajikistan focusing mainly on microcredit lending. Building upon its strong foundation in the microfinance sector, the bank has expanded its services to better address the diverse financial needs of individuals and legal entities. It has a network of more than 40 branches.

The bank was originally established to consolidate the operations of all the previous microfinance institutions run by other AKDN agencies in the country, like the Enterprise Support Facility and the credit programme of the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme.

A Community Based Savings Group supported by AKF through the Multi-Input Area Development Financing Facility for Tajikistan (ESCoMIAD) programme with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Financial Inclusion

AKF empowers communities through community-based savings groups. These are widely in demand, primarily by women and youth, as safe and convenient platforms through which to save regularly for both emergencies and investments.

This is complemented by support for Rushdi Kuhiston, a community-owned micro-loan organisation. Rushdi Kuhiston provides financing for investments in agriculture, non-farm enterprises, and consumer and start-up purposes to borrowers in rural and remote areas of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), the Khatlon region and Rasht Valley where commercial loan capital is unavailable and investments are too large for savings groups. Since 2016, over TJS 46 million ($4 million) has been disbursed through microfinance loans to more than 7,000 clients, including over 2,000 women and 2,500 youth.

Shurabad cross-border bridge, Tajikistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Productive Physical Infrastructure

Improvements in social and economic indicators in AKF’s Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) area are often dependent on infrastructure. Isolated communities can benefit considerably from improved access to markets and social services.

Since 2017, AKF has built community-identified infrastructure including small bridges, local roads, village schools and clinics and drinking water supply schemes, with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the European Commission and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. These have benefited 108,000 people (17,000 in GBAO). MSDSP has also been active in riverbank stabilisation projects that have increased the area of protected arable land by 2,500 hectares since 2012.

Funding is in place to extend similar benefits to another 142,000 people between 2021 and 2023.