Statement by Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department at the Conclusion of his Visit to Turkmenistan

Press Release No. 13/422
November 1, 2013

Masood Ahmed, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made the following statement today at the conclusion of his visit to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan:

“It has been a great pleasure for me to visit Turkmenistan. I would like to thank the authorities and the people of Turkmenistan for their hospitality on my first visit to the country. During my stay I had the opportunity to have productive discussions with high level government officials. I also had the opportunity to participate in a conference organized by the authorities on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the introduction of national currency in Turkmenistan.

“During these meetings we exchanged views about the global and regional economic situation and discussed the economic developments and outlook for Turkmenistan. I noted that while the emerging market countries are still growing much faster than the advanced countries, there has been a marked slowdown in many emerging market countries for both cyclical and structural reasons. Uncertainties continue to surround the prospects in the advanced economies with further implications for developing countries, including China and Russia, important economic partners in Central Asia. In this context, I stressed that developing economies would need to tailor the macroeconomic policy mix and the pace of adjustment to their particular circumstances and advance a new round of structural reforms to enhance growth.

“Against this background, I commended the authorities for the impressive growth performance in Turkmenistan over the last decade. The short and medium-term prospects for the Turkmen economy—heavily tied to developments in hydrocarbon markets—continue to be favorable. However, like other hydrocarbon-based economies, Turkmenistan is not immune to global risks. I encouraged the government to prepare for potential adverse global conditions in the world economy by preserving policy buffers and taking a cautious approach on the hydrocarbon-financed domestic spending.

“Turkmenistan faces the opportunities and challenges confronted by countries rich in natural resources. In this context, our discussions focused on how the government can leverage its resource wealth to achieve the vision envisaged in the socio-economic development program for 2011–30 of becoming a vibrant and diversified emerging market economy. I stressed that achieving this vision would require stepping up ongoing reforms on education, health and state-owned enterprises, and developing strong economic institutions, including a modern framework to manage resource wealth. Developing the financial sector along with decisive reforms to improve the business climate and enhance governance will be key to building a dynamic private sector.

“The IMF has been a partner for Turkmenistan’s economic reform efforts over two decades and I reiterated our commitment to provide technical assistance to support the authorities’ reform efforts in areas of macro-economic relevance.

“My visit coincided with that of an IMF mission, led by Ms. Bacalu, mission chief for Turkmenistan. This mission is discussing more broadly the outlook and economic policy challenges in preparation for the 2014 Article IV consultation. A press release on the mission’s findings will be disseminated at the conclusion of the mission next week.”



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