The Kyrgyz Republic is a small, landlocked and mountainous country of Central Asia with a population of just over 5.5 million people. It is the second-poorest country in Central Asia, with one-third of the population living below the poverty line. In the aftermath of the April 2010 “revolution” and the civil disturbances in the south of the country in June 2010, the Kyrgyz Republic is emerging from a deep political and economic crisis. USAID assistance helped the country become the first, post-Soviet country to join the World Trade Organization in 1998. The Kyrgyz Republic is also the first Central Asian state to experience a peaceful and democratic transition of presidential power in 2011. The success of Kyrgyzstani citizens in building a prosperous, democratic country could have important implications for all of Central Asia.
Despite the country’s progress, impediments to development remain, including widespread corruption, low foreign investment, and a high unemployment rate. Approximately one-third of Kyrgyzstan’s workforce is employed abroad, reducing the available pool of qualified labor. The implementation of democratic reforms remains a challenge, and limited energy resources and low agricultural productivity contribute to insufficient economic growth.
Nevertheless, the country is moving towards a more stable and representative democratic government that could be a regional model. In collaboration with the Government and people of the Kyrgyz Republic, USAID assistance has helped the country achieve substantial progress in the areas of economic growth, democratic governance, health care reform, improvement of basic education and agricultural development. USAID has focused its assistance on improving the business environment, trade regime, attractiveness to investors, as well as its potential for agricultural productivity, land reforms, and fiscal and financial reforms. We provide expert advice and capacity building to the Parliament, the judiciary, and key government ministries, and also work collaboratively with the media and civil society to increase citizen engagement, particularly among youth. USAID promotes the development of private-public alliances to encourage more effective problem solving and greater leverage of resources.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
The Kyrgyz Republic is Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy and the first country in the region to experience a peaceful and democratic transition from presidential power. USAID is capitalizing on these important developments by providing expert advice and training to the country’s new Parliament through a parliamentary strengthening project, which is working to make the Parliament an effective and democratic institution.
USAID’s extensive support helped to ensure the conduct of fair and free parliamentary elections in November 2010 and the presidential election in October 2011. USAID trained nearly 30,000 election officials, while voter education programs reached 756,000 citizens.
USAID builds civil society organizations that enhance the public’s ability to provide input to national institutions and demand results from their government. Recognizing that youth make up a large segment of the population, USAID is working on building the life skills, entrepreneurial spirit and civic commitment of the country’s young people.
Economic Growth and Trade
USAID’s Local Development Project is designed to stimulate rapid, diversified and sustainable economic growth by supporting local economic development in the Kyrgyz Republic. USAID’s assistance improves local government services and promotes economic growth through local businesses.
A competitive energy market is essential to the future prosperity of the region as well as Afghanistan. USAID helps reform the country’s energy sector and develop policies to mitigate energy shortages. We also support the country’s development of its hydro resources and its integration into a regional energy market.
To reduce the impact of rising food prices and low agricultural productivity, USAID introduces modern technologies to expand food yields, resulting in increased incomes, and encourages public-private partnerships.
USAID works closely with the Kyrgyz Republic’s Ministry of Education, local counterparts, and other donors to expand access to quality basic and higher education. We partner with the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to improve teacher training and student assessments, promote teacher involvement in curriculum reform and overhaul the educational finance system. USAID provides guarantees for student loans which enables students to access the country’s high caliber universities and vocational schools. We also support literacy improvements and dropout prevention programs across the country.
USAID’s programs in the health sector expand access to high-quality services for maternal and child health and combat infectious diseases (HIV, polio and tuberculosis). We helped shape effective health reform plans and promote continued dialogue on health finance reforms. With USAID’s assistance, the Kyrgyz Republic adopted a single-payer system and an institute of family medicine that supports over 700 health centers staffed with specialists trained by USAID.
Highlights of Our Work
- USAID’s electoral assistance and election education campaign contributed to the success of the Kyrgyz Republic’s November 2010 parliamentary and October 2011 presidential elections.
- USAID’s work with the Ministry of Health has ensured that more than 80 percent of the population is covered by the Health Insurance Fund.
- More than 1,200 teachers have received in-service and pre-service training on student-centered teaching methodology through USAID’s Quality Learning Project.
Last updated: May 10, 2013