Donors grant Kyrgyzstan more than $1 billion in emergency aid

Statue of Kyrgyz national hero Manas on horseback, with sword drawn. Manas is the subject of the epic Kyrgyz poem (circa 17th century) of the same name.

Kyrgyzstan could use old national heroes like Manas now. Then again, he probably doesn't have $1.1 billion in fast cash to give for recovery. (Photo Credit: neiljs/Flickr/CC BY)

Open violence in the Central Asian nation Kyrgyzstan has cost hundreds of lives, created at least 400,000 refugees and all but destroyed the national budget. The nation’s move toward parliamentary democracy – which has emboldened supporters of overthrown former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and militants from Uzbekistan – has been at the center of clashes between armed troops and civilian protesters. As the fighting subsides, the focus in Kyrgyzstan moves toward an economically daunting recovery. And as current reports from Reuters and other international media sources indicate, emergency money is on the way.

International donors will give Kyrgyzstan $1.1 billion

Donors attending a conference in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city of Bishkek will grant an initial $600 million fast cash payment in 2010, with the rest to come in 2011. Acting President Roza Otunbayeva encouraged donors and representatives from the World Bank and United Nations with a promise that the nation will find the necessary resources to rebuild. Considering that the political turmoil of the past few months has caused the national economy to shrink by at least 5 percent (5.5 percent growth had been forecast before the violence began), the financial windfall comes at just the right time. Kyrgyzstan was in need of extra cash, and the donors have pledged to deliver.

More than $1 billion needed to repair buildings and infrastructure

Kyrgyzstan’s budget deficit plunged to an estimated 13.5 percent of its gross domestic product, according to Reuters. Once Bakiyev was overthrown, the total deficit jumped from $269 million to $619 million, per acting Kyrgyzstan Finance Minister Chorobek Imashev. Acting President Otunbayeva has announced that more than $350 million is necessary to rebuild settlements in Osh and Jalalabad, while $100 million more is needed to restart the local economy. In addition, energy rebuilding costs are expected to total $180 million, and agriculture will require $50 million. In total, while no amount of money can replace lost or displaced lives, $1.1 billion in emergency money for Kyrgyzstan will go a long way toward stabilizing a nation in chaos.



Chaos in Kyrgyzstan (WARNING: Some violent images may be disturbing)