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Economy of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. According to Healy Consultants, the economy relies heavily on the strength of industrial exports, with plentiful reserves of gold, mercury, uranium and natural gas. The economy also relies heavily on remittances from foreign workers. Following independence, Kyrgyzstan was progressive in carrying out market reforms, such as an improved regulatory system and land reform. Kyrgyzstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be accepted into the World Trade Organization. Much of the government's stock in enterprises has been sold. Kyrgyzstan's economic performance has been hindered by widespread corruption, low foreign investment and general regional instability. Despite political corruption and regional instability, Kyrgyzstan is ranked 70th (as of 2013) on the Ease of doing Business Index.

Sectors

Agriculture

Agriculture remains a vital part of Kyrgyzstan's economy and a refuge for workers displaced from industry. Grain production in the lower valleys and livestock grazing on upland pastures occupy the largest share of the agricultural workforce. Other important products are dairy products, hay, animal feed, potatoes, vegetables, and sugar beets.

Forestry

Only 4 percent of Kyrgyzstan is classified as forested. All of that area is state-owned, and none is classified as available for wood supply. The main commercial product of the forests is walnuts.

Fishing

Kyrgyzstan does not have a significant fishing industry. In 2002 aquaculture contributed 66 percent of the country's total output of 142 metric tons of fish, but in 2003 the aquaculture industry collapsed, producing only 12 of the country's total of 26 metric tons.

Mining and minerals

In the post-Soviet era, mining has been an increasingly important economic activity. The state agency Kyrgyzaltyn owns all mines, many of which are operated as joint ventures with foreign companies. Uranium and antimony, important mineral outputs of the Soviet era, no longer are produced in significant amounts. The small domestic output of oil and natural gas does not meet national needs.

Industry and manufacturing

In the post-Soviet era, Kyrgyzstan's industries suffered sharp reductions in productivity because the supply of raw materials and fuels was disrupted, and Soviet markets disappeared. Government support is moving away from the machine industries, which were a major contributor to the Soviet economy, toward clothing and textiles. In recent years, the glass industry has surpassed clothing and textiles in investment received and as a contributor to GDP. In the early 2000s, the construction industry has grown steadily because of large infrastructure projects such as highways and new gold mines. Housing construction, however, has lagged because of low investment.

Energy

More than ninety percent of electricity produced is hydroelectric and the country could produce much more of such clean energy and export to its neighbours and the region. Even though Kyrgyzstan has abundant hydro resources, only less than ten percent of its potential has been developed so far. It has limited deposits of fossil fuels and most of natural gas imports come from Uzbekistan, with which Kyrgyzstan has had a series of imperfect barter agreements.

Services

Substantial post-Soviet growth in the services sector is mainly attributable to the appearance of small private enterprises. Although Kyrgyzstan's mountains and lakes are an attractive tourist destination, the tourism industry has grown very slowly because it has received little investment.

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