Tajikistan’s economy has made considerable progress in the last decade but is still fragile and continues to face challenges. The chronic shortage of energy to industry and households puts considerable strains on society and hampers the creation of employment opportunities. Slow progress in improving governance and eradicating corruption pose threats to political stability and as a result, the economy. Added to this are geographic and political factors that limit regional economic co-operation, as well as local and regional security concerns.
A particular flashpoint has been the Rasht Valley in the centre of the country, which experienced armed clashes between insurgents and government forces in 2010 and 2011. Since then, the OSCE Office has helped establish a dialogue between local authorities and entrepreneurs to develop local economic development. Channelling the OSCE's efforts through the Consultative Council on the Improvement of the Investment Climate under the Tajik President, the five districts in the Rasht Valley are given a more prominent role in national policy-making processes.
Another area of importance is the building of secure, transparent and legal trade relations between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The OSCE contributes to this goal by assisting the Tajik government with the development of Free Economic Zones and of legal resource centres in markets on the border between the two countries. The staff in these centres offer free consultations to Tajik and Afghan local traders on such issues as cross-border taxation and customs rules.