Potential Map of the Economical Opportunities of Gorno-Badakshan


Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) is a mountain region in Tajikistan, which was since early ages known as a unique source of minerals and mines, and has been studied intensively during the former Soviet Union. The region has been positioned as strategic resource basis due to difficult access to the region as well as to the resources. Unfortunately the surveys were managed centrally from Moscow or Leningrad (Sankt Petersburg) and documented results of these surveys were also archived there. The Oblast as well as the Republic of Tajikistan has limited or no access to these documents.

After the independence Tajikistan makes first attempts to utilize the resources of the Pamirs and improve the live conditions of people living in highlands. On the first stage the easily accessible recourses, such as the water and hydro power, land and pastures, herbs and forest products etc. are the subject to studying and processing.

There is up to now no integrated source of information available even on these resources. The old documents from the Soviet time were designed for different purpose and under different conditions, which partially do not deliver the true pictures and are partially obsolete, because they were not updated since 90s.

The association Milal Inter, which works for development of entrepreneurship and farming in GBAO, had realized the significance of an integrated information source on resources available in the region, and has made the endeavor to initiate the process of building up this kind of information source.


After gaining the independence and turning to market relations, the economy of the Republic of Tajikistan (RT) is of peculiar regional character. Compare to the other regions of RT the economy in GBAO is still very weak. The specificity of the oblast is the absence of big enterprises, which means SME make up the private sector of the region.

To give a picture of the sector one has to look at the products produced locally. At the moment the quality of the local products in GBAO is very low. Local products are not competitive even with products of very bad quality coming from China. The quantity of the in GBAO produced goods is often to less even for the local demand.

An important aim today for GBAO government as well as for international organizations working there to support the economic development is:

  • to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the existing businesses in GBAO,
  • to enable start ups to exist in GBAO for longer than one year and
  • to raise the awareness about the possibilities of business doing in the region using local resources, both human and natural.

On his way main obstacles are:

  • limited access to sources of funding,
  • limitations of the internal market and
  • serious lack of foreign investments

In the current situation there are limited possibilities to influence the first two points, whereas the attraction of foreign investors is one of the most promising and realistic point in short term view mentioned above.

The Association of Entrepreneurs and Mountain Farmers “Milal Inter” together with the Committee of Investments and State Property Management conducted already several events (Pamir Invest Forum, participation of Milal Inter members on business and investment forums with entrepreneurs from Kasachstan and in Pakistan) with the focus on attracting foreign investments as well as networking activities (Cooperation with the embassy of Poland, cooperation with Ismail Community for Economic Development of USA, providing business plans of local entrepreneurs for tenders on Republic level).

To approach and to rouse the interest of foreign investors with precise information about the local resources the Association “Milal Inter” initiates to carry out field research about the locality and quantity of the bunch of natural resources in GBAO. This information will be complete with information about inputs like supplies like electricity, water, infrastructure necessary for production and will be provided in form of interactive resource map as a paid service.

Why GIS and interactive maps

Making decisions based on geography is basic to human thinking. Understanding the relationship between geography and people’s relationship to locations will increase the quality of decisions to take. Additionally it opens new perspectives by visualizing different kind of information and putting them into their spatial relation.

Site selection for business opportunities based on a Geographical Information System (GIS) is a way combining geographic analysis with enterprise resource planning. GIS helps any business gain more accurate predictive analysis. This analysis will assist a potential investor to choose an appropriate localization for the planned investment. GIS is organizing and visualizing information, such as census data, in their geographical context. Using topographical maps as background information and combining with additional datasets, a person consulting the GIS will be able to explore in full depth the characteristics of a geographical location.

On a computer screen, users can scan an interactive map in any direction, zoom in or out, and change the nature of the information contained in the map. This gives to the user an intuitive way of exploring information and to understand the geographical relationship. Additionally it will assist to make short conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of geographical areas.

Goal and Definition of the Information System and the resulting map

The information system is called to resolve this issue and provide investors with information source on Gorno-Badakhshan, adopted to support them in their decision making process on investing.

The system has a database as its base and the interactive interface for users to interact with the system. The information will be available to the users in the area in the form of reports and interactive map.


To create opportunities for attracting investors to GBAO to initiate new SME in the region and to reinforce the growth of existing business through creating possibilities to effectively utilize existing resources by providing precise information on the resources through an interactive interface.

The information system and the resulting maps should streamline the workflow of a potential investor.

In every decision about a possible business opportunity an investor has to think about the geographical Area of Interest (AOI) and the business he would like to invest into. For each business idea and all the AOI he could imagine to invest into he has to conduct a Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threats-Analysis (SWOT).

In a rather difficult environment such as the Autonomous Oblast of Gorno-Badakshan (GBAO) this task can be difficult, time consuming and expensive. If the investor has no or very limited knowledge about the conditions of the AOI, it will be impossible to get a proper and representative overview. Regarding the current situation of development in the field of information technology and information systems in Tajikistan an investor has no or less opportunity to get the needed information by internet or like in Europe with the help of chambers of industry and trade.

Instead of conducting a numerous amount of SWOT-analysis with exhausting looking for reliable base information, an interactive map containing base information and already conducted SWOT-analysis will simplify a laborious step for the investor. The map has to combine the AOI, SWOT-analysis and a certain amount of base information in a simple and intuitive way.

The combination of geographical base information, the provided SWOT-analysis and other base information, such as census data, the investor will have the opportunity to explore the AOI and he will be able to improve his knowledge of the region.

Definition of the information System and the resulting map

The information systems builds the basis for any further analysis and representation of the findings as maps or as reports. Based on this information system, the “Potential Map of the Economical Opportunities of GBAO” will represent the result in a graphical way putting the information in the geographical context.

Information System

Core of the information system is a database which includes base information about the socio-economical situation of GBAO and geographical base information such as political boundaries, roads, villages…

Additionally the database contains all detailed information about the potential of business opportunities. This information is based on interviews and workshops together with potential investors and collected during the fieldwork carried out by MI.

The database will build the main framework to run the different analysis about the different business opportunities. But the database will also provide certain information on the socio-economical situation of GBAO in general. Regarding the combination of information from socio-economical and business opportunities point of view, several approaches for data analysis will be possible. In combination with the methodology of SWOT-Analysis the information system will give indications about hot spots for business but also hot spots for further development work and humanitarian needs.

The information system will also provide information over the time. This requires data input of current information over the life-time of the information system. This input can be statistical information from official side, other partner organization or own surveys. Regarding the costs (and benefits) of such an information system, providing of precise and actual data over the time will be a crucial point.

In combination with the geographical locations and information over the time, the information system will be able to provide information in several dimensions. The situation on a certain moment in time, the change of the situation over the time (dimension of time); the current situation at a specific location (dimension of space) and the change of situation at a specific location (dimension of time and space).

Maps and Reports

Maps are a visual representation of the data and analysis derived from the information system. Maps are providing a fast and intuitive way to explore data and results of analysis and let the viewer to make his own conclusions.

Based on the geographical locations stored in the information system the different findings of SWOT analysis are shown in a spatial context. This spatial context allows understanding the relation-ship of the findings of the SWOT analysis and the geographical locations. Patterns of relationships between statistical data and geography will be only visible in a map-based representation.

Using up-to-date possibilities of information technology (IT) and geographical information systems (GIS) maps can be shown in an interactive way. This approach of map representation is widely used in the world-wide-web (www) and enjoys a great popularity. The most known representative of this kind of mapping is GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps.

Using these possibilities of interactive mapping, the viewer can choose its own perspective on a certain topic. He or she will be able to explore the full content of the information system within the geographical space, the thematic information attached to the locations and, if available and provided, the change over the time. Giving the possibility to the viewer to choose between different fields of information (range of thematic information) and different depth of information (level of detail of thematic information) the provided map will be graphical way to explore the full range of information stored in the information system.

The reports have to been seen as an additional source of information to the maps. These reports will designed as a simplified view on the table of the information system. Users are generally used to interpreted tables, such as excel. The reports will provide all information about a certain topic, a certain geographical location or a certain period of time. Reports are able to summarize information in a very condensed form which will not be possible by using only maps.



projects/tajikistan/gbao_economic_potential_map.txt · Last modified: 2013/10/29 07:15 (external edit)
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