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  • 01 Dec 2017 10:05 AM | Laziz Rasulov

    Since 2012, December 1 is officially marked in Kazakhstan’s calendar as the Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

    December 1 is the anniversary of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s election by a popular vote as the first President of Kazakhstan in 1991, which was followed by the Declaration of Independence on December 16.

    In many countries of the world, the first leaders and founding fathers play a crucial role in development of a country, in uniting a nation and positioning it on the international arena as a responsible member of the global community. The United States, for example, has been celebrating George Washington’s birthday – which is now called Presidents’ Day – as an official holiday since 1885. 

    Since the first days of independence of Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev’s strategic vision and forward looking policy helped to shape Kazakhstan’s modern multiethnic society, making diversity and inclusiveness one of its biggest strengths. Promotion of the inter-religious dialogue through President’s initiative of hosting Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is another testament to the commitment of Kazakhstan to strengthen human rights and universal freedoms around the world. The 6th Congress of Religion is scheduled to be held in Astana in October 2018. 

    Economic reforms and the ambitious infrastructure and industrial programs make Kazakhstan today one of the most favorable countries for foreign investment and trade. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita has grown from about USD 1,500 to over USD 13,000 by 2013. Kazakhstan has reached a 12-fold growth of foreign trade turnover and a 20-fold increase in industrial output. In 2015, Kazakhstan joined the World Trade Organization and has set a goal to be among the 30 most developed countries by 2050.

    On the global arena, Kazakhstan is a well-known advocate of nuclear non-proliferation, regional integration and peaceful negotiations on international disputes. In the last decade, Kazakhstan has chaired, among others, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. 

    Wide international recognition of its constructive role in promoting peace and security has led to the election of Kazakhstan, as the first ever Central Asian country, to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. From June to September 2017, Astana hosted the World EXPO-2017 on the theme of Future Energy. 

    The impressive achievements of independent Kazakhstan in many spheres are the result of tireless work and strong political will of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

    On this important occasion, Embassy of Kazakhstan to Canada would like to join in celebration of the Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

  • 30 Nov 2017 1:36 PM | Laziz Rasulov

    Kazakhstan’s capital is a fascinating city, but its severe winters tend to limit its year-round tourism potential. In an effort to attract visitors in every season, President Nursultan Nazarbayev met Nov. 27 with Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to discuss constructing a downtown dome.

    The head of state noted the city is famous not only for its distinctive architecture and comfortable living conditions, but also for its unusual atmosphere. Calatrava thanked him for the chance to visit the country and become acquainted with its urban style.

    “More and more people are striving to live in the capital. Its population is approaching one million people. Next year, we will celebrate Astana’s 20th anniversary,” said Nazarbayev.

    The project will focus on Water Green Boulevard, the closed avenue under construction in the city centre, where residents will be able to leave their homes without outdoor clothing, walk and chat with neighbours. The domed area could also cover shops and possibly schools and serve as the host spot for cultural events, similar to Toronto and other cities.

    Calatrava, a sculptor who has designed a number of futuristic-styled buildings in different countries, expressed his desire to participate in the project. The plan is currently under development.

    “We are now waiting for proposals from Calatrava. We understand that he is a well-known architect who is known all over the world. Now, he is developing the concept,” said capital architecture and urban development department head Baktybai Taitaliyev.

    He envisions the boulevard as eventually becoming a three-level roadway.

    “Our Water Green Boulevard is not finished yet, by the way. It was supposed to be constructed on three levels and the first one is under construction. The third floor will connect the adjacent objects with glass sleeves and corridors,” he added.

    The city administration is currently working to reduce administrative barriers for investors, said investment and development department head Alisher Abdikadirov. He noted the Calatrava project will be coordinated with foreign investors.

    The architect, whose aesthetics are sometimes defined as bio-tech, designed String Bridge in Jerusalem, Israel and Auditorio de Tenerife in Santa Cruz, Spain. His firm Calatrava Grace, which may participate in the project, has invested nearly $100 million in global real estate projects. To date, the company’s portfolio includes 340 projects in 32 countries with a total area of 1.9 million square meters.

  • 29 Nov 2017 1:33 PM | Laziz Rasulov

    Galina Vishnevskaya and Maxim Braun of Kazakhstan made history when they claimed Kazakhstan’s first third place in the single mixed relay at the International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) World Cup stage in Ostersund, Sweden on Nov. 26.

    First place went to the Austrian national team of Lisa Theresa Hauser and Simon Eder, followed by Germany’s Vanessa Hinz and Erik Lesser. Kazakhstan’s biathletes beat award-winning French athletes Marie Doren Aber and Martin Fourcade, who came in fourth.

    “Before the race, my coach Valery Polkhovsky told me to stay in the crowd and not try to get out of it. But everyone went not too fast in the first round, and I thought I could take the lead. The skiing was very smooth, so I decided I could try to set the pace for my opponents. But I skipped a beat at the shooting stage. It turned out I was not used to coming first to shooting. I was very nervous and struggled to lay down and hold the first shot, to at least calm down a bit,” Vishnevskaya said after their victory.

    “It was a fantastic start of the season. Kazakhstan has achieved such great success for the first time in history. We are very happy. We did a great job this summer. I cannot say we were ready to enter the top three, but we did a lot for this and fought until the very end. Luck was on our side. Thanks to everyone who supported and cheered for us,” Braun added. General Secretary of the Kazakhstan Biathlon Union Manas Ussenov commented on the historical achievement of the country’s athletes.

    “This is the first medal in the relay race at the World Cup stages in the history of Kazakhstan’s biathlon. Our athletes beat the team of France, which was represented by two-time Olympic champions and medalists. We are very happy for our biathletes and for the whole team,” he said.

    Onstage in Ostersund, the national team of Kazakhstan was represented by Olga Poltoranina, Alina Raikova, Galina Vishnevskaya, Darya Klimina, Anastasiya Kondratyeva, Yelizaveta Belchenko, Vladislav Vitenko, Maxim Braun, Timur Khamitgatin, Anton Pantov, Vasily Podkorytov, Roman Yeremin and Timur Kuts.

  • 29 Nov 2017 1:24 PM | Laziz Rasulov

    The Kazakh government approved Nov. 28 a national 2025 Strategic Development Plan designed to ensure long-term growth at the level of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

    The plan includes seven major reforms in human capital, technological modernization and digitalization, business competitiveness, rule of law, strong regions, urbanization, modernization of public consciousness and public sector efficiency.

    The project envisions annual economic growth in a 4.5-5 percent corridor eventually bringing Kazakhstan’s GDP per capita up to $46,100 by 2025.

    Kazakhstan maintained 4.3 percent economic growth between January and September, while its GDP per capita was estimated at $7,510 in 2016, according to a World Bank report. Kazakh Minister for National Economy Timur Suleimenov stressed three key drivers stimulating future economic growth.

    First is productivity growth in existing industries, which, according to the minister, can be fostered through an increase in operation efficiency, reduction in costs for production, transportation and sale, investment in technological modernization and digitalization and transition to green economy.

    Strengthening and expanding export-oriented production is the second driver, said Suleimenov. That driver includes a focus on goods and services with high added value as well as integration in global supply chains.

    Development of new highly efficient industries, which has already been on the nation’s agenda, includes the creation of new supply chains and services around the existing industries, transfer and localization of technology and commercialization of innovations.

    The Strategic Development Plan is a very important document, according to Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, developed in line with this year’s state-of-the-nation address of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

    “The document entails the creation of a new economic growth model and improving well-being of people. It is also meant to foster the implementation of the country’s key strategic document,  Kazakhstan 2050, with a goal to enter the world’s 30 most competitive countries. Therefore, we need to properly explain the essence of the document to the public,” he said addressing the government.

    The new model will require changes both in the economy and society, according to Suleimenov, which include a focus on production and industry, technology-oriented population, companies and industries, fair competition and prevailing role of private sector.

    Head of Talap Centre for Applied Research and former vice minister for investment and development Rakhim Oshakbayev noted it was the first time the document of such strategic importance involved the expert community.

    “As I remember, it is the first time the document of such great importance was developed with broad expertise support. Nearly 80 experts attended the discussions and were involved in the development of the document. In general, it raises no questions,” added Oshakbayev.

  • 29 Nov 2017 1:22 PM | Laziz Rasulov

    Kazakhstan will be carrying the mantle of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), widely seen as post-Soviet Russia’s response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, from 2018-19. During this time, Moscow expects Astana to further the security bloc’s development through multilateral diplomacy and relationship-building, in order to strengthen CSTO’s ability to respond to threats in Eurasia.
     
    “We expect that during [Kazakhstan’s] chairmanship, active efforts will be continued to further develop the CSTO [and] to build up the capacities to counter traditional and new challenges and threats,” said Sergey Neverov, a deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma, while addressing the International Inter-Parliamentary Conference that was held in Astana on Monday, according to reports by Kazakhstan’s Atameken Business Channel.

    As Central Asia’s largest country and economy, of the Central Asian region, Kazakhstan is going to lead the military alliance in the period of 2018-19. Belarus currently chairs the six-member CSTO, and will pass the baton to Kazakhstan at an end-of-the-year meeting held in Minsk on November 30. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev will be in attendance and is expected to address his vision for the forthcoming year as Kazakhstan is at the helm.

    The CSTO aims to boost political ties, fight terrorism and extremism collectively, as well as the illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons. Along with Russia, Kazakhstan was a founder of CSTO, which was set up in 1992 and currently includes Russia, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belarus.

    Continue reading: https://caspiannews.com/news-detail/as-kazakhstan-readies-to-lead-csto-moscowexpects-eurasian-security-to-be-strengthened-2017-11-29-54/

  • 28 Nov 2017 1:30 PM | Laziz Rasulov

    Representatives of the European Union, international financial institutions, and international and regional organizations gathered in Almaty Nov. 23 and 24 for a workshop on access to international investments in water, energy efficiency and waste management infrastructure. The experts concluded that the countries of Central Asia should take advantage of international momentum for implementing climate-related and environmental projects.

    “The Paris Agreement calls for greater efforts to tackle climate change, and the regional pipeline for [the Green Climate Fund] GCF is currently being defined. Being in the middle of diverse cultural, economic and environmental regions, the Central Asian countries can enhance their role as a bridge between Asia and Europe by taking the lead in implementing environmentally sound infrastructure projects,” said Alessandra Fidanza on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Environment.

    She also stressed the importance of the WGECC in facilitating the connection between European and Central Asian countries.

    The event promotes a green economy and finding sustainable solutions to water, energy efficiency and waste management issues, which are considered to be very important in all Central Asian states.

    “With this event we aimed to build a bridge between policymakers and regulators in the field of environment, water and climate change, and potential investors in infrastructure projects. This workshop gathered together representatives of the governments, [international financial institutions], the Green Climate Fund and the private sector. We are confident that the results of our workshop will be tangible and have a long-term positive impact on the environment and standards of living in Central Asia,” said head of the cooperation section of the EU delegation to Kazakhstan Johannes Stenbaek Madsen.

    The workshop provided a platform for participants to discuss practical ways to improve the process for preparing bankable projects. The experts highlighted key directions for action to boost investments through such sources as the GCF and the EU Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA). The financial capacity of the private sector was also reviewed.

    The EU-funded project WECOOP2 presented its concept of a web-based Knowledge Centre and a draft investor guide aimed at helping state authorities better understand the international financial instrument requirements. The Knowledge Centre will provide information and advice on such institutions’ project cycles and eligibility and selection criteria, as well as on the project pipelines, explaining how to prepare bankable project proposals. The investor guide and the work to establish the Knowledge Centre will be completed by February 2018.

    The EU and international financial institutions support the development of green technologies in Central Asia.

  • 28 Nov 2017 9:46 AM | Laziz Rasulov
    President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev introduced changes to the structure of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan.

    In accordance with the presidential resolution from 27 November 2017, the number of deputy prime ministers of Uzbekistan increased from 6 to 8 (including the first deputy prime minister).

    Sukhrob Holmurodov became Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan - Head of the Complex for Investment, Innovative Development, Coordination of Free Economic and Small Industrial Zones, Tourism.

    The head of the complex will also oversee newly created Ministry of Innovative Development and the Foundation for Support of Innovative Development and Innovative Ideas.

    Prior to this appointment, Sukhrob Holmurodov served as chairman of the National Bank for Foreign Economic Affair of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

    Jamshid Kuchkarov was appointed as the Minister of Finance. He also retained the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and will lead the Complex on Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting, Reforming the Financial and Banking Systems, Developing Private Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

    Botir Khodjaev, who previously worked as the Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan, will now head the Ministry of Economy of Uzbekistan. As Minister of Economy of Uzbekistan, he replaced Galina Saidova.

    The head of Uzbekistan introduced the post of Deputy Prime Minister - Head of the Complex for Education, Health, Ecology, Environmental Protection, Physical Culture and Sports.

    The President also renamed the two complexes into the Complex for Development of Foreign Trade Activity, Export Potential, Machine Building, Automotive, Electrotechnical, Defense, Cotton Processing and Light Industry, Standardization of Products and the Complex on Agriculture and Water Resources, Processing of Agricultural and Food Products.

  • 23 Nov 2017 9:54 AM | Laziz Rasulov

    Xi'an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, is home to a nearly seven-year-old railway container center that facilitates transport of oilseeds grown in Kazakhstan to be processed by Chinese company Aiju, before being sold back to Kazakhstan.

    The Kazakh government announced on July 11 an agreement to cooperate on trade in grain and oilseeds with Aiju.

    Flour exports from Kazakhstan to China increased eight times from 2014 to 2016, the USDA said in April.

    China is growing its ties with Kazakhstan as the "Belt and Road" program gets underway.

    A prime example is the nearly seven-year-old railway container center in China's ancient capital city of Xi'an that links the world's second-largest economy to the Central Asia country.

    Kazakhstan is the so-called inland port's biggest market, followed by Amsterdam, said Jie Gai, project manager in marketing for Xi'an International Inland Port Multimodal Transportation.

    The Xi'an Railway Container Freight Station in the Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park opened in 2010 and covers 68.3 hectares.

    Xi'an is also home to the terracotta warriors and the starting point of the historic Silk Road over which merchants once traveled to bring goods between China and Europe. Now China, under President Xi Jinping, is trying to reopen that channel of commerce through the Belt and Road initiative (also known as "One Belt, One Road"). A string of projects, typically led by corporations using funding from China and other countries, seeks to build up infrastructure in the surrounding regions.

    China also hopes to benefit economically from improved growth in the region. In November 2014, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced a domestic stimulus program called "Nurly Zhol" (Bright Path) which called for $9 billion in state and foreign direct investment into infrastructure and industries such as agribusiness and information technology, in an effort to move the economy away from the oil industry.

    Read the full story: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/23/xian-china-is-a-growing-hub-for-grain-trade-withkazakhstan.html

  • 23 Nov 2017 9:46 AM | Laziz Rasulov

    In the midst of the worldwide blockchain and cryptocurrencies craze, Kazakhstan has realized the relevancy of the trend like never before. In mid-November, the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association applied for state registration as a legal entity to promote the technology’s ideas and draft legislation in the field.

    The association was founded by six organizations and 15 more have applied for membership, according to kapital.kz. The timing is right to unite companies and organizations that are considering working in the market, noted association co-founder and council chairperson Yesset Butin.

    “Our main goal is to prescribe the rules of the game in the blockchain market and cryptocurrency in Kazakhstan together with the regulator [the National Bank],” he said. “There are no companies operating in the blockchain market in Kazakhstan, but there are more companies that see the promise of technology for themselves,” he said.

    “First, we must follow world trends. The Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency has already been created and literally within a month they managed to achieve certain results. Belarus announced the imminent emergence of such an association. We believe the time has come to create such an association here to unite organizations and companies that work in the blockchain market or plan to work in the cryptocurrency markets,” he added.

    The industry is in its early stages, so it is not yet possible to assess the market in Kazakhstan in monetary terms, said Butin. The important thing now is to create the necessary infrastructure and effective legislation for it to function, including the unified policy required to form a dialogue with state bodies, including the National Bank. The so-called legislative “rules of the game” will mostly depend on the situation in the market in the next two years.

    The association also intends to negotiate with universities to implement educational programmes in blockchain technology.

    At the same time, Butin sees the worth of the National Bank releasing a “cryptotenge” at a minimum to create a legitimate platform basis to purchase cryptocurrency in tenge. The cryptotenge could be converted to other world cryptocurrencies as a way to make the concept more easily understood.

    He noted people follow the market. The yield on deposits in the currency is decreasing and some banks have become unreliable.

    “People are looking for an alternative and find it in the form of cryptocurrency,” he added.

    While some countries have recognized cryptocurrencies as an official payment method, others are still deciding. The association founders believe Kazakhstan must find its own path to regulate in the new field.