NRGI Knowledge Hub Program Alumni Stories: Transforming Extractive Industries for Development in Eurasia

Country: Tajikistan
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Tajikstan’s potential in the mining, oil and gas interests is promising, said Timurali Avgonov, a Tajikistani government official. On transparency, however, it has work to do.

“Tajikistan … has lacked specialists and knowledge on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI),” said Avgonov.

In 2013, Avgonov attended a comprehensive course on extractive governance offered by the Eurasia Knowledge Hub, an NRGI-supported institution that provides analysis and training. Before attending the course, Avgonov had only a very general knowledge of extractive sector governance issues and the EITI. However, he said the course significantly boosted his comprehension.

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Name: Timurali Avgonov

Country: Tajikistan

Profession: Head of the Budget Department, Ministry of Finance of Tajikistan and the Extractive Industries Transparency Inititative (EITI) national coordinator

Course attended: Value Chain Course 2013

Tajikistan has more than 400 deposits of gold, silver, zinc, lead, mercury, tin, uranium, oil, gas, precious stones and other minerals. It hosts one of the largest silver deposits in the world. Despite such rich geological potential, Tajikistan’s extractive sector remains relatively undeveloped and fiscal revenues from oil and mining activities account for less than 1 percent of total government revenue.*

*eiti.org/tajikistan

“In the course, I gained more insight and knowledge of decision-making processes, contract issues, revenue management, social impact, etc.,” Avgonov said. “I also got a much better understanding of how income from extractive industries could be dealt with.”

Following his participation in the course, Avgonov was named Tajikistan’s national coordinator for EITI and is now responsible for the implementation of the initiative in the country. “The regional hub training has been a timely and effective response to an urgent need in our country to strengthen capacities on EITI,” he said. He attended the course as part of a multi-stakeholder country team, which included another governmental official, a civil society representative, and a representative from the media.

Building trust and relationships with peers and other stakeholders is central to hub courses. “The fact that we were a group of participants from Tajikistan belonging to different institutions has helped to strengthen links and collaboration across EITI stakeholder groups in the country,” Avgonov said.

In his role as EITI national coordinator, Avgonov now visits mining companies within Tajikistan to share and provide information on the initiative. “The hub training has been extremely useful for this purpose,” he explained. “I feel much more comfortable now when I discuss EITI issues with company representatives.”

Under the leadership of Avgonov, Tajikistan is currently in the process of preparing legal, fiscal and institutional reforms to boost competitiveness and investment in the extractive sector, which could become an important contributor to future private sector development, job creation and poverty reduction in the country.

The Eurasia Knowledge Hub is an NRGI-Khazar University partnership, intended to build capacity in Eurasia to shape oil, gas and mining governance in the region. For more information on knowledge hub offerings, visit the Eurasia knowledge hub page on NRGI’s website or on Khazar University’s website. The hub is one of six regional knowledge hubs NRGI created in partnership with academic institutions to offer training and support for civil society organizations, members of parliament and journalists in Anglophone Africa, Francophone Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa. Learn more.