IOM, UK to Provide Market Access on Tajik-Afghan Border
Tajikistan - IOM is investing in community infrastructure projects along the Tajik-Afghan border, and has just opened a new market in the Hamadoni district in southern Tajikistan, just one kilometre from the Afghan border. The market is one of nine such projects being built by IOM with the support of the United Kingdom this year.
Hamadoni market will serve a population of 7,500 people across five nearby villages. There is space for 36 traders who will sell fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and textiles. The market was constructed by returning Tajik migrants from the Russian Federation, providing much needed employment in the area.
Preventing irregular migration is arguably a more important part of migration management than responding to crises. Economic opportunities and access to literal markets help people remain near their homes, avoid dangerous journeys, and can also lower crime rates.
Prior to the market being built, local residents had to travel long distances to trade and generate income. The new market will act as an economic hub for five villages and stimulate commerce in a part of the Tajik-Afghan border area that is vulnerable to cross-border crime and drug smuggling.
Instability in northern Afghanistan has increased since 2014, posing a major challenge for communities living on both sides of the border. IOM has been working with the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Tajikistan to provide livelihood alternatives and economic opportunities for Tajik and Afghan border communities, through community infrastructure projects, in-kind grants, vocational training, and cross-border exchanges.
The opening ceremony was attended by Hugh Philpott, the UK Ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan, who expressed confidence that Hamadoni market would “provide employment opportunities for local residents and returning migrants alike and also improve the general livelihoods of people in this area.”
His sentiments were echoed by Dragan Aleksoski, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Tajikistan, who noted “this is a tangible sign of IOM and the UK’s commitment to supporting Tajik and Afghan border communities. It’s an important part of giving people living along the border opportunities to engage in trade, support themselves and their families, and contribute to their communities.”
The community and local government were involved at all stages of the inception and construction, assisted by an IOM engineer and project staff.
Since 2015, IOM and the Government of the United Kingdom have implemented 21 community infrastructure projects along the Tajik-Afghan border including markets, schools, irrigation systems, and health facilities.
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