The poor mountain country of Kyrgyzstan has a
small cultivable area and an underdeveloped industry.
Kyrgyzstan is dependent on aid from Russia, China and
the western world and hopes for growing foreign
investment in the large unused mineral resources. Gold
mining is of great economic importance to the country.
For many residents, livestock management is an important
source of livelihood.
Another important income for Kyrgyzstan is the money
that around 750,000 Kyrgyz guest workers abroad (85
percent work in Russia, the rest mainly in Kazakhstan)
send to their home country. These revenues correspond to
between a quarter and a third of the country's GDP,
which is one of the highest rates in the world.
Major imports by Kyrgyzstan, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
The informal sector of the economy is estimated to
correspond to around 40 percent of GDP. Border trade and
smuggling are extensive. Kyrgyzstan has problems with a
large foreign debt. It doubled between 2010 and 2017,
when about 40 percent of foreign debt was to China.
Another challenge is a weak tax collection. Inflation
has been relatively low since the mid-2010s.
Inheritance from the Soviet era
The Kyrgyz economy is characterized by the legacy of
the Soviet era (1918–1991), when the republic was forced
to specialize in a few industries and supply goods to
other Soviet republics. The Kyrgyz contributed mainly to
sheep management, supply of wool, cotton cultivation and
electricity production, while they became dependent on
heavily subsidized goods, centrally financed investments
and interest-free or amortized credits.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including KYR which represents the country of Kyrgyzstan.
The result was acute supply problems when the Soviet
Union disbanded in 1991. Industrial production
collapsed, inflation rose rapidly and GDP halved in four
years. The government responded with reforms for
economic liberalization and privatization, and soon
Kyrgyzstan was seen as a leading reform country in
Central Asia. A national currency was introduced
(Kyrgyzstan), inflation was suppressed and a commercial
banking system was built up.
However, the market reforms led to many
disappointments. Despite privatizations, the same old
directors led the same loss-making companies with
contributions from the same bureaucratic ministries.
Corruption and bureaucracy characterized the system,
which deterred foreign investors. Telecommunications,
gas, electricity and airlines remained state-owned,
while many commercial and service companies were sold
Kyrgyzstan was hit hard by the Russian financial
crisis in 1998, but the discovery of a new gold mine,
Kumtor, caused GDP to grow again, though from a low
level. When gold mining revenues turned downward in
2005, the economy stagnated again. The decline was
followed by three years of good growth before the global
financial crisis hit the country in 2009.
The riots and the political turmoil in 2010 (see
Modern history) meant continued economic decline. The
World Bank provided Kyrgyzstan with more than a billion
dollars for reconstruction and to reduce the budget
deficit. Still, the economy shrank somewhat in 2012 when
political contradictions surrounding the ownership of
the Kumtor mine led to reduced revenue from mining.
In 2013, GDP growth exceeded 10 percent, thanks to
gold mining getting back on track and agriculture giving
higher returns. During the remainder of the 2010s,
growth was considerably more modest but somewhat more
stable than before. However, a new crisis in the Russian
economy from 2014 meant that money shipments from
Kyrgyzstan in Russia declined the following year, and
the World Bank introduced new support measures. The
situation stabilized in 2016 and 2017 to turn downward
again in the following two years due to lower gold
exports than expected.
Like other developing countries, Kyrgyzstan mainly
exports raw materials, while imports mainly consist of
industrial goods. Gold has been the most important
export commodity since the turn of the millennium. Other
important export goods are gemstones, minerals,
textiles, cotton, wool, meat, glass, tobacco and
electricity. Imports consist of oil, natural gas,
metals, machinery, vehicles and more. There are large
deficits in foreign trade, which means that the country
imports more than it exports.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 1,281 (2018)
US $ 8,093 million (2018)
3.5 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
11.6 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
15.2 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
49.8 percent (2018)
1.3 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
56.0 percent (2018)
US $ 8,161 million (2017)
US $ 1,804 million (2018)
US $ 4,543 million (2018)
- US $ 700 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
82 percent (2018)
Main export goods
gold, gemstones, minerals, textiles (2018)
Largest trading partner
China, Russia, Kazakhstan (2018)
"Uzbek security service behind journalist murder"
The think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) reports that Uzbekistan's
security service is probably guilty of the murder of journalist Alisjer Saipov
in southern Kyrgyzstan (see October 2007).