In the first five years of independence, Kyrgyzstan's economy
made more progress in market-oriented reform legislation but less
progress in economic growth than the other four Central Asian
states. This disparity was largely because Kyrgyzstan lacked the
diversified natural resources and processing infrastructure that
enable a national economy to survive the shutdown of some sectors
by shifting labor and other inputs to new areas of production.
The economic system of Kyrgyzstan is undergoing a slow, painful,
and uncertain transition. Once a highly integrated provider of
raw materials for the centrally controlled economy of the Soviet
Union, the republic's economy is reorienting itself toward processing
its own raw materials and producing its own industrial products.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, industry accounted
for only about one-third of the country's net material product
(NMP--see Glossary) while employing less than one-fifth of the
labor force. The primary emphasis of the economy remained agriculture,
which accounted for about 40 percent of NMP and officially employed
about one-third of the labor force. The transportation and communications
sector employed only about 3.2 percent of the labor force in 1991.
As in other Soviet republics, the vast majority of workers were
employed by the state, while most of the remainder worked on private
Data as of March 1996