Opening up Markets or Fostering a new Satellite State?

Detangling the Impetuses of Chinese Land Investments in Tajikistan
18 May 2015

New geopolitical dynamics and the surge for natural resources, such as land, accompany the rise of the BRICS countries in the global arena. In this paper, I discuss the case of Chinese agricultural land investments in the Central Asian state, Tajikistan. Emerging from a Soviet past, Tajikistan seems to be on its way to becoming one of China’s newest satellite states.

During the last five years, Chinese involvement in Tajikistan has become more and more diversified, including in land and agriculture, which points to the multifaceted drivers behind China’s presence in the neighbouring Tajik republic.

I thus use Tajikistan to explore the nature and drivers of Chinese land acquisitions in Central Asia, a region normally ignored in the debate on global agricultural land investments. Such an exercise is expected to raise more broadly applicable insights into how various, and often competing, drivers are contributing to China’s foreign land rush.