Send to

Tajikistan envoy urges S. Korea to partner for green economy vision

Dec. 4, 2023 - 21:06 By Sanjay Kumar
Tajikistan's ambassador to Korea Salohiddin Kirom speaks in an interview with The Korea Herald at the Embassy of Tajikistan in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, on Friday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

Tajikistan Ambassador to Korea Salohiddin Kirom advocated for a strategic partnership between South Korea and Tajikistan in an interview with The Korea Herald on Friday.

"Green Economy Development Strategy 2023-2037" strategy adopted by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in 2022 with an estimated budget of $2.1 billion aims to enact regulatory reforms, optimize natural resource use, attract investments, introduce modern technologies, boost global collaboration in the green economy and double renewable energy production by 2050.

Tajikistan plans to double its green energy production capacity, he said.

He highlighted Tajikistan’s abundant natural resources, vast hydropower potential, and mineral reserves, which are advantageous for South Korea's sustainable development goals.

Tajikistan ranks eighth globally in total hydropower resources such as rivers, natural lakes and glaciers. The country is home to some of the world’s largest hydropower plants and is ranked eighth in the world for hydropower potential with an estimated 527 terawatt-hours (TWh), according to the International Energy Agency Report 2022.

A scenic view of the Vakhsh River, located in north-central Tajikistan. The river is a tributary to the Amu Darya River and traverses the Pamirs, encountering mountainous terrain that often confines its flow to narrow channels within deep gorges. (Embassy of Tajikistan in Seoul)

"But only 5 percent of the hydropower capacity is currently utilized,” said Kirom, adding that Tajikistan is seeking collaboration with South Korea for large investments and new technologies to harness its hydropower potential.

"Tajikistan's hydropower capacity, combined with new technologies, allows for the production of aluminum, other metals and finished products from them with minimal carbon emissions,” Kirom highlighted, citing the example of Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO).

According to the ambassador, Tajikistan wants to utilize energy for environmentally friendly production, and Tajik Aluminum Company (TALCO) already ranks among the top global producers of "green aluminum." Tajikistan sees the production of "green aluminum," copper and lithium as advantageous for investments in electric vehicle manufacturing.

Tajik ambassador to Korea Salohiddin Kirom explains the potential of Tajikistan during an interview with The Korea Herald at the Embassy of Tajikistan in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, on Friday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

“Products made with green energy will be exempt from carbon taxes in the near future,” said Kirom, urging Korea to take advantage of taxes and labor resources to produce industrial products and export them to the Korean market. This will be beneficial,” Kirom said.

He underscored investment potential in Tajikistan's mining industry, which boasts 800 identified deposits spanning gold, silver, iron-bismuthic, wolframrite, antimony, marble, granite, precious stones, oil and natural gas, which have been identified and prepared for exploration.

The ambassador suggested that Korean companies exploit polymetallic minerals and rare and precious metals amid the high demand for essential mineral resources.

Calling for Sustainable Industrial Collaboration, Kirom envisioned the production of electric vehicles, leveraging Tajikistan's resources to contribute to the global shift towards "green" transportation.

According to Kirom, Tajikistan is rapidly developing through the economic reforms outlined in its National Development Strategy until 2030, and the country is collaborating with international financial institutions to implement investment projects totaling $4.5 billion.

Tajikistan's ambassador to Korea Salohiddin Kirom discussed the green economy initiatives of the government of Tajikistan during an interview with The Korea Herald at the Embassy of Tajikistan in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, on Friday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

"The private sector is developing in Tajikistan,” he said, highlighting Tajikistan's consistent annual economic growth, averaging over seven percent, thanks to the private sector's role, which contributes approximately ninety percent to the production of goods and services.

He cited the private sector's robust development, extensive legal guarantees for business and investment protection, and Tajikistan's membership in the World Trade Organization, as factors in his country's economic advancement.

When asked about Tajikistan's role in regional stability, Kirom highlighted Tajikistan's efforts to address global challenges posed by terrorism and extremism for stability and development. Diplomatic ties between Tajikistan and South Korea were established on April 27, 1992.

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon(right) and National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug pose for a photo in Tajikistan in Nov. 2021. (Embassy of Tajikistan in Seoul)

The legal framework between the two countries is underpinned by nine intergovernmental agreements, including the Forum on Cooperation between Central Asia and South Korea, initiated in 2007.

The forum, held annually, discusses cooperation between Central Asian countries and South Korea. In a meeting held on October 31, 2023, Tajikistan's Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Korea's Foreign Minister Park Jin discussed enhancing the legal framework and broadening ties in trade, economics, investment, science, technology, inter-parliamentary relations, industry, energy, culture, tourism and labor migration.

Kirom expressed Tajikistan's commitment to expanding bilateral cooperation with Korea as a reliable partner with valuable development experience and next-generation technologies.

“Tajikistan is looking forward to achieving areas of mutual interest within the Korea-Central Asia Forum and C5+Korea framework,” he said, reaffirming Tajikistan's commitment to fostering regional cooperation.

The C5+Korea framework is a diplomatic channel through which the Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan governments can engage with Korea.