Growth rates in Central Asian countries are as follows: the Kyrgyz Republic (4.5 per cent.); Uzbekistan (5.7 per cent.); Tajikistan (8.7 per cent.); Kazakhstan (10.1 per cent.) and Turkmenistan (14.6 per cent.). Figures use the average annual real gross domestic product (GDP) between 2000 and 2007.
DFID's work in Central Asia to date has focused on the two poorest and most fragile countries—Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. In both countries, DFID supports the Government's economic growth plans, focusing on the need to ensure that they bring benefits to the poor and vulnerable, particularly in rural areas. For example, in Tajikistan, our work with rural communities in the remote Zarafshan Valley has provided access to microfinance for its 270,000 population. This is already leading to the development of successful small businesses. We actively support the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's work in the region through their Early Transition Countries Initiative (ETCI). A recent independent evaluation of the ETC Multi Donor Fund (we have contributed £7.5 million over four years so far) confirmed that this was leading to a substantial increase in EBRD operations in most of the region.
DFID is currently preparing a new business plan for the Central Asia region which will be centred on promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth. Over the next three years our bilateral programme is set to increase from £10 million to £14 million per year.