BEGINNING OF FOURTH DECADE
Turkmenistan celebrated the 31st anniversary of state independence, having entered the fourth decade of independent political and economic development. Summing up the major results of the first 30 years, the government outlined long-term plans of economic strategy and state development for another 30 years, more specifically until 2028.
The main strategic guidelines for development of the country in the coming 30 years are stated in the National Program for the Socio-Economic Development of Turkmenistan for 2022–2052 adopted in February 2022. Based on this program, the Program of the President of Turkmenistan for the socio-economic development of the country for 2022–2028 was also developed and approved in July this year.
In the previous 30-year period, Turkmenistan achieved the great results in the oil refining and chemical industry, power generation, construction sector, food production, textile and electronics industries and manufacture of medical and pharmaceutical products. Therefore, in the coming decades, the country will focus on these areas to further develop and build on the achieved capacity.
As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted at a meeting of the State Council on the eve of the celebration of Independence Day, Turkmenistan plans to spend more than 278.9 billion manats in the coming seven years by 2028 in accordance with this program.
“In the next seven years, we will significantly strengthen the country’s production capacity. In this period, wages will be increased 1.8 times, about 30,000 additional jobs will be created, and the total area of housing per capita will increase by 102.2 percent. Dozens of kindergartens, secondary schools, modern hospitals, cultural centers, as well as over 500 industrial and social facilities will be built in the country,” the President said.
At the same time, Serdar Berdimuhamedov stressed that special attention will be paid to financing a competitive, technological, resource- and energy-saving, environmentally friendly electronic and electrical industry. The head of state also issued instructions to take measures for Turkmenistan’s accession to the WTO that will open new opportunities for attracting foreign investment to the national economy, creating additional jobs and developing the infrastructure of industries.
In general, the seven-year presidential program is aimed at the greater use of the country’s economic potential, increasing the level of industrialization of the economy, widespread introduction of digital technologies and taking full advantage of the geopolitical and geo-economic position of Turkmenistan.
The gradual increase of the capacity of the Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan – China gas pipeline, completion of construction of the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline, further diversification of natural gas exports, intensive development of gas resources, increasing hydrocarbon output offshore and onshore, attracting foreign investment in the development of promising fields in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea, increasing the volume of oil and gas processing are among the main directions of development of the country’s fuel and energy sector until 2028. Increasing oil output will be supported by development of deep-seated deposits in Balkan province.
The strategic plans include construction of new gas chemical complexes in each province for production of polyethylene and polypropylene, rubber, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate, methanol. At the same time, these plans provide for measures aimed at increasing the competitiveness, depth of processing and creating an environmentally friendly and waste-free production.
At the same time, there are plans to develop new areas in the fuel and energy sector. Together with foreign partners, it is planned to explore opportunities to establish production of helium and hydrogen from natural gas as well as a plant for production of benzol from crude oil, which is a popular product in in the world market and widely used in the production of synthetic rubber and plastics, synthetic fibers and dyes and pharmaceuticals.
Production of alternative and renewable types of energy will be developed. Technologies for the use of solar and wind energy will be actively introduced. At the same time, the volume of investments in alternative and “green” energy technologies will be increased. It is also planned to attract investors for supply of modern mining and processing technologies with environmentally friendly production lines.
The reliable supply of electricity to domestic consumers, creation of new energy facilities and increasing electricity exports are the priority for the energy sector. Turkmenistan is currently implementing a project on construction of a single ring energy system, which will be launched in 2023. The energy security of the country will be strengthened, and the efficiency of production, consumption and export of electricity will be ensured.
Turkmenistan currently exports electricity to Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. There are plans to start exporting electricity through Afghanistan to Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. To this end, the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan power transmission line is being built parallel to the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline. In 2022, it is planned to increase the volume of electricity exports to 9 billion kilowatt-hours, which is 3.3 times higher than in 2013.
In accordance with the seven-year program, Turkmenistan plans to increase the total volume of electricity production by 22.5 percent to 37.5 billion kilowatt-hours by 2028. By the same year, the country plans to build some 3.5 thousand kilometers of power transmission lines in all provinces.
In order to increase the country’s energy potential and introduce environmentally friendly technologies, it is planned to transform state-owned power plants in all five provinces into the combined-cycle system and to build combined power plants in Mary and Lebap provinces. By 2025, the first solar-wind power plant with the capacity of 10 megawatts will be built near the Turkmen Lake “Altyn Asyr”.
The main tasks of the chemical industry are to increase the country’s export potential and import substitution, establish the production of new types of chemical products, including mineral fertilizers and reconstruct the existing production plants.
The modern national chemical production is aimed at obtaining sodium sulfate, epsomite, table salt, lithium, bromine – more than ten types of industrial products. According to scientists, only part of the country’s wealth has been used so far. The available resources make it possible to organize many promising and interconnected industrial productions. Among them is bischofite containing 65 elements of the periodic table, which is widely used in more than 25 different sectors of world economy, from space technology, aircraft and automotive industries to crop production and soap making.
Other than this, Turkmenistan boasts the world’s largest deposits of iodine-bromine waters and ranks first among the CIS countries in this resource, while the estimated iodine reserves in the country are much higher than the explored ones. Their use at an industrial scale is also envisaged in the long-term plans of Turkmenistan.
The expansion of the product range and creation of industries that replace imported materials are among the main areas for development in the building materials industry until 2028. As part of the presidential seven-year program, enterprises will be established to increase exports and meet the needs of the domestic market. The development of the construction industry is planned through innovation and introduction of modern technologies. Smart city and smart home systems, as well as renewable energy technologies will be actively introduced. The first such houses built in the new administrative center of Akhal province and Ashgabat City will be made available to citizens in the coming years.
In the transport and communications industry, large-scale work will be carried out to expand transit routes, increase the volume of passenger and freight traffic, modernize communications and the national space system. Construction of roads and related infrastructure will have a positive impact on the development of the country’s economy. In particular, it is planned to build the highways Turkmenabad – Gazodzhak – Dashoguz; Turkmenbashi – Garabogaz – the border of Kazakhstan; Mary – Serhetabat; Gumdag – Esenguly – Etrek – Gidrolum.
Turkmenistan is developing transport and transit corridors along North – South and East – West routes, actively participating in creation of international transport corridors Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey, Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Oman – Qatar and TRACECA. All this opens new opportunities for strengthening international transport and logistics cooperation, creating and expanding modern transport and transit corridors.
The electronic industry was established in the country in recent years. It has turned into a new and rapidly developing area of the national economy. Turkmenistan now produces competitive smart TVs, laptops, tablets, monoblocks, computers with touch screen monitors. Establishment with the support of the Academy of Sciences of new enterprises for production of communication, industrial and automotive electronics, medical and computer equipment and electronic goods is one of the key factors for the further development of this area.
The seven-year program provides for a large-scale modernization of agriculture. As a result, Turkmenistan will turn into a country that will stop importing food products and increase its exports. A significant increase in productivity will be achieved through the introduction of new technologies. It is also expected to introduce new agrotechnical and managerial technologies in animal husbandry. Development of modern technologies for extraction and use of groundwater will continue, following the transition to water-saving algorithms.
The major emphasis is placed on the construction of new grain processing and livestock complexes, greenhouses and factories that meet modern requirements, producing a wide range of products, to further increase the potential of the agro-processing and food industries.
The priorities for the further development of the national economy of the country include the active introduction of digital technologies into all spheres of the economy. Technical and technological modernization is an inseparable part of the reform in the industrial sector, laying the foundation for development of high-tech, knowledge-intensive and innovative areas, in particular the electronics industry.
The country’s GDP growth rate will be at least 6.7 percent in the period up to 2028 as a result of implementation of the presidential program for 2022–2028. According to the program, retail trade will increase by 14.5 percent, and the volume of foreign trade will grow 1.9 times. The share of the non-state sector in the GDP will reach 72 percent. Public-private partnership will provide a systemic basis for structural development.
The seven-year program provides for the intensification of interaction with international financial institutions. Mechanisms for attracting foreign investment will be gradually improved to support entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized businesses, and finance local producers. Cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is gaining momentum.
The concept of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan for 2022–2028 aims at creating favorable international conditions for development of the national economy, expanding and diversifying trade and economic relations with foreign countries, as well as political and diplomatic support for the “open doors” strategy in the foreign economic relations to attract foreign investments, advanced technologies and innovative solutions in the country.
The implementation of this concept will help the country to participate more actively in the work of leading international financial, economic and trade institutions, taking into account the current state of the world economy. It emphasizes the importance of implementing major projects in the areas of energy, transport and communications.
Development of trade and economic relations with other states and integration into the world economic infrastructure are the priority for the long-term geo-economic strategy of Turkmenistan. Practical work in this direction is being carried out within the framework of intergovernmental commissions. The geography of intergovernmental commissions covers cooperation with the leading states of the Asian continent, the Middle East, Europe, North and South America, the CIS and Southeast Asia. Their work contributes to the establishment and diversification of economic and business relations with the view of further unlocking and strengthening of the economic potential of Turkmenistan.