A World Bank official says that Turkmenistan's economy will contract in 2009, and that the country is considered to be "highly exposed" to further poverty risks because its poverty level is above 20 percent.
Robert Taliercio, a senior economist in the bank's Poverty Reduction and Economic Management section for Europe and Central Asia, told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that 40 percent of developing countries are in the same category.
But Taliercio said Turkmenistan has a high fiscal capacity compared to many of the other countries around the world due to its large natural gas reserves. He added that fiscal capacity is an important factor in seeing how it is going to address problems posed by the economic crisis.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said last week that in 2009, the GDP growth rate will be 10.7 percent, in spite of his earlier admissions about the country being affected by the economic crisis.