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In profile: Kyrgyz Republic

Continuing our In profile series, we look at the Kyrgyz Republic and its progress towards achieving the SDGs.

Capital: Bishkek

Population: c. 6 million

Located in central Asia, the Kyrgyz Republic is a land-locked state, neighbouring China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The country gained independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union. The widespread poverty and ethnic divisions between north and south led to a large violent conflict in 2010, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands misplaced. Following the constitutional reforms, the Kyrgyz Republic became the first parliamentary republic in the region.

The Kyrgyz Republic is a lower-middle-income country, with economic production centred on agricultural goods, extractive industries, and tourism. The country’s economy is adversely affected by internal and external shocks, owing to its overreliance on one gold mine (accounting for 10% of GDP) and on worker remittances (equivalent to 30% of GDP in 2016).

Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Kyrgyz Republic is currently ranking 51 out of 156 countries on the SDG global rank scale. It is performing above the regional average (1.2% on global index score) and is on track to achieve three goals by 2030 – eradicating poverty, providing affordable and clean energy, and boosting climate action. Major challenges still remain in achieving gender equality, especially in improving women’s participation in economic and political life.

Following comprehensive social health insurance reforms, aiming to improve financial protection and access to healthcare for all citizens, the Kyrgyz Republic is moving along the path to achieve universal health coverage. The current reform programme Den Sooluk identified four activity areas: cardiovascular diseases, maternal and child health, tuberculosis, and HIV-infection.

Development challenges

In the recent years, the social, economic, and political landscape in the Kyrgyz Republic has undergone major changes that impact the future of the country. The Kyrgyz Republic places among countries with medium human development (with 0.66 rating on human development index), and there are numerous opportunities the country can explore for driving forward the SDG Agenda.

  • Boosting female empowerment

Women bear the primary responsibility for all domestic house work and childcare (for children below school age), which disproportionately limits their participation in the labour market. In addition, women’s remuneration compared to men’s suffers due to their time out of the market for longer education and later childbirth.

  • Improving maternal mortality

The Kyrgyz Republic has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region. Levels of maternal and newborn mortality remain high, with 11.6 newborn death per 1000 live births (in 2016). Women and children in rural and remote areas are especially likely to suffer from inadequate pre- and post-natal care.

  • Developing renewable energy sector

Due to its location and geographical structure, the Kyrgyz Republic has huge reserves of clean energy, especially in its rivers. Hydro-energy presents more than 50% of total energy resources in the country. The hydroelectric power stations generate over 90% of electricity in the country, using the river powers at the minimum level, so the potential for exporting hydroelectricity remains a priority for country to drive forward economic development.

  • Strengthening state institutions

Improving the effectiveness, accountability, and transparency of the public financial management systems and building the capacity of state institutions is crucial for improving the public sector’s ability to plan, budget, and provide public policies and services to its citizens.

Image credit: MehmetO /