BUDAPEST: Investment opportunities of several billion forints are available to Hungarian water management companies in Tajikistan, where 54 percent of Asia’s water resources are found, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday. The water base in Tajikistan is more than three times central Europe’s water demand, Szijjártó told MTI after talks in Dushanbe. Tajikistan has some 900 rivers and 1,500 mountain lakes but uses only 5 percent of its water energy potential, while only 45 percent of the public has direct access to drinking water, he added.
He had agreed with President Emomali Rahmon that Tajikistan will use Hungarian water management technologies in its economic development efforts. In order to help Hungarian companies invest there, Hungary has set up a 38 million euro credit line through Eximbank, Szijjártó said. Scholarships have been offered to 20 Tajik students to attend university in Hungary and they plan to study in the area of water management, he added. Tajikistan is in a similar position as Hungary in terms of border protection because by strictly protecting the Afghan border, it is protecting not only itself but also its neighbours and even Europe, Szijjártó said. Hungary, by protecting its southern borders, is also protecting the whole of Europe, he added. “We have agreed with Tajik leaders that since the European Union is supporting Tajik-Afghan border protection with a symbolic amount only, Hungary will propose to the EU that it should contribute 100 million euros to Tajik efforts to fight radicalism, terrorism and drug trafficking,” Szijjártó said. The sides also agreed on the contents of a bilateral investment protection scheme which will be signed during the United Nations General Assembly session in New York, he said. This will contribute to the further expansion of cooperation in the pharmaceuticals industry and food safety, he added. Tajikistan plans to import Hungarian food safety technologies.
Only 7 percent of the country’s area can be used for farming, which makes food safety very important, he said. The Richter Gedeon pharmaceuticals plant has already registered over a hundred drugs in Tajikistan, Szijjártó noted.