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Astana Calling

President’s Society of Universal Labor Takes Shape

Issue No 262 friday, 20 July 2012

A bi-weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Green Bridge Program Attracts Foreign Interest

Kazakhstan’s Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve Listed by UNESCO

Also in the News Economy Grew by 3.8 % in the First Half of 2012 ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 262 /1

President’s Society of Universal Labor Takes Shape Just days after publishing an article outlining his vision for Kazakhstan’s socio-economic development, President Nursultan Nazarbayev chaired a government meeting on July 13 to discuss practical implementation of the program. Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Head of the Presidential Administration Aslan Musin, Deputy Prime Minister Erbol Orynbayev as well as the Ministers of Economic Development and Trade, Finance, Labor and Social Protection, Education, and Culture, discussed with the President proposals for developing a Society of Universal Labor. The idea of a Society of Universal Labor is to create the basis for a modern economy that is resilient in the face of crisis and has social justice at its core. To this end, Prime Minister Massimov identified five specific areas for action: improving the legislative framework for social issues; establishing an efficient model for social and labor relations; enhancing people’s living standards based on their participation in the labor market; raising awareness and developing the cultural aspects of social modernization; and creating an effective state management system for social affairs. Compared to many other countries, Kazakhstan is in a strong position to develop its economy and social model: GDP growth remains strong despite the global slowdown and average incomes continue to grow in real terms. Social modernization programs are underway. The task ahead is to integrate these existing programs with the President’s long-term strategic goal of creating a new type of economy. Ministers addressed these priorities in turn, detailing how their own activities would incorporate the President’s vision. Labor Minister Abdykalykova outlined plans for a simplified tax assessment system for self-employed workers; Finance Minister Zhamishev ex-

“The idea of a Society of Universal Labor is to create the basis for a modern economy that is resilient in the face of crisis and has social justice at its core.”

plained changes to the framework for private enterprise. Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sagintayev explained how the plans would give new impetus to regional economic development. The Ministers of Education and Culture also presented measures to help improve the country’s social model, including reforming the university admissions and testing systems and developing a code of ethics for journalism. President Nazarbayev called on the government to develop a clear plan for implementing the program at the regional and national levels, involving local governors, parliamentarians and the Nur Otan party. He stressed the need for every Kazakhstani to understand the need for labor that benefits both the individual and society as a whole. Back to Contents

Green Bridge Program Attracts Foreign Interest Foreign investors and potential partners have expressed interest in the Green Bridge partnership programme presented at the Rio+20 conference in June. Kazakhstan has proposed an international mechanism that would bring together countries, governments, international organizations and private companies to find transnational solutions to sustainable growth. Recognising that individual countries have specific technological, scientific, industrial and even geographic strengths, Kazakhstan has suggested pooling these to achieve a more efficient use of resources.


The Green Bridge strategy will allow to introduce and apply green technologies in developing countries.

Since the Green Bridge programme was presented at Rio, major foreign investors including the European Development Bank, the International Financial Corporation and partner governments have expressed interest in taking part in this project. Kazakhstan’s task now is to develop steps to ensure the programme moves ahead. By autumn this year, Kazakhstan will appoint internationally recognized experts to oversee the programme’s strategic direction, and will start establishing working groups to identify the best resources available in technology, legislation, engineering and research. “The program will enable Kazakhstan and other countries to use the best expertise and experience available” says Bolat Essekin, advisor to the Minister of Environmental Protection and head of the Green Bridge programme working group in an interview with Essekin underlined the multiple benefits of the programme both to Kazakhstan and to its partners. “Green growth will help create a solid basis for greater foreign investment in Kazakhstan. It will also ensure the economy continues to grow in the long term without remaining dependent on finite natural resources that are becoming depleted such as minerals and hydrocarbon. The aim is to move to a green economy centred on sustainable job creation, employment and good living standards”, Essekin said.

Economy Grew by 3.8 % in the First Half of 2012 The short-term economic indicator used by Kazakhstan’s Agency for Statistics shows an increase of 3.8% for the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year. The indicator is calculated on the basis of output figures for the country’s primary industries - agriculture, industrial production, construction, trade, transport and infrastructure. Together these account for over two thirds of GDP.

“The aim is to move to a green economy centred on sustainable job creation, employment and good living standards.” - Bolat Essekin, Head of the Green Bridge programme Back to Contents ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 262 /3

The figure reflects generally positive economic trends in Kazakhstan despite the global slowdown. Kazakhstan’s external trade turnover for January-May 2012 stood at $54.5 million, a 20.5% increase on the same period last year, with exports up by 19% at $38.8 million and imports up by 22% at $16.2 million. Fixed capital investments were also up by 3.1% on last year, totalling $ 20.3 billion for the first half of 2012. Kazakhstan’s consumer price index rose by 2.7% between December 2011 and June 2012, reflecting an increase of 2.5% on food, 1.8% on other goods and 3.9% on services. Reflecting the economy’s relative dynamism, the number of registered legal entities stood at 31,056, an increase of 5.7% on last year’s figures. These include close to 27,000 entities with less than 50 employees. 17,081 of these were active in the first half of 2012, including 15,549 small businesses. In May 2012, nominal income per capita was estimated at 45,859 tenge, representing a 12% increase on 2011 in nominal terms, and a 6.7% increase in real terms. Official unemployment figures stand at 470,600 or 5.2% of the working population. Back to Contents

“The figure reflects generally positive economic trends in Kazakhstan despite the global slowdown.”

Kazakhstan’s Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve Listed by UNESCO The Korgalzhyn nature reserve, a vast network of fresh and saltwater lakes that make up one of the most unique biospheres in Eurasia, has been included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere reserves. The reserve already features in the UNESCO World Heritage List under Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, recognized for its wetlands of outstanding importance for migratory water birds and as a crossroads of migration routes for birds between Europe, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Siberia. As part of the World Network of Biosphere reserves (WNBR), Korgalzhyn will join another 598 sites in 117 countries as part of a program that promotes North-South and South-South co-operation in sustainable development based on sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences, building capacity and promoting best practices. According to UNESCO, the WNBR is one of the main international tools to develop and implement sustainable development approaches. Located in the Akmola region, near Astana, the reserve covers a total area of 258,963 ha. Its complex water system includes fresh, salty and brackish shallow lakes which culminate in the giant Lake Tengiz. The area has an extreme continental climate with freezing

Pristine lakes of the Korgalzhyn become the habitat of pink flamingos in the periods of spring and summer.


winters and very hot summers. Protected and endangered bird species rest in the area on their migration routes from Eastern Siberia to Europe or South Asia and Africa. The reserve is also home to the northernmost population of pink flamingo.

“Protected and endangered bird species rest in the area on their migration routes from Eastern Siberia to Europe or South Asia and Africa.” Back to Contents


• Kazakhstan’s population grew by 19,600 people in May to a total of 16 776 600 on 1 June 2012. • Minister of Defence Adilbek Dzhakisbekov met with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian in Astana. The meeting highlighted positive political, economic and cultural bilateral relations as well as fruitful defence cooperation, illustrated by the Strategic Partnership Agreement in place since 2010. • Russia is Kazakhstan’s main international partner, according to new ratings by Tengri News based on the frequency of high-level meetings, trade turnover and investment levels. • Kazakhstan’s Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev paid a working visit to Spain where he held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Secretary General for Industry and SMEs, Energy and Tourism Ministers and THE Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Asset Issekeshev and his Spanish counterpart co-chaired the fifth session of the

Kazakh-Spanish Intergovernmental Commission for economic and industrial cooperation and agreed to develop a roadmap for cooperation in investment and technology transfer. Around 100 Spanish companies took part in the first Kazakh-Spanish Business Council. • Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to China Nurlan Yermekbayev and his Turkish colleague Salim Yessenli met with China’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Chen Gopin in Beijing and invited him to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on 12 September 2012 in Astana. • Some 40 representatives of state entities, non-governmental organizations, international financial institutions, banks and businesses met for the first time on June 13 at the National Expert Council for Transparency and Sustainable Development, as part of an OSCE project in southern Kazakhstan focused on the New Silk Road motorway project. • The French internet site published its annual rating of the best 250 European hockey clubs, with Astana’s Barys at 23rd place and 5 Kazakhstani clubs in the top 250, including Ust-Kamenogorsk’s Kaznink-Torpedo (168th), Karaganda’s Saryarka (220th), Atyrau’s Beybarys (224th) and Pavlodar’s Yrtysh (238th). • According to the press service of the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom, in the second quarter of 2012 the uranium production reached 5,040 tones. In the first quarter of 2012, the uranium production in Kazakhstan reached 4,666 thousand tones. From January to June 2011, the figure accounted for 9,148 tons. In the first half of 2012, the extraction of uranium in the country has amounted to 9,706, having increased by 6 percent.


• By the end of 2012, Kazakhstan and Canada are to conclude an agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy. “Until December the agreement will hopefully be approved by the government agencies, and Kazakhstan’s new Atomic Energy Agency,” the head of the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom Vladimir Shkolnik said. He noted the agreement is a prerequisite for the introduction of an innovative Canadian uranium and ore extraction technology in Kazakhstan. Canada’s Cameco and Kazatomprom have a long history of cooperation. The two companies own (60% by Cameco and 40% by Kazatomprom) the Inkai uranium deposit, located in the South Kazakhstan region. • This week Fitch Ratings has affirmed Kazatomprom’s long-term

foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at “BBB-,” the outlook revised to Positive from Stable. • JSC Kazakhtelecom provides new services, including Microsoft Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Hosted SharePoint, to its corporate customers. “We have introduced Microsoft Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Hosted SharePoint into commercial operation on the web-site. Today, representatives of small and medium businesses can sign up for these services,” managing director of JSC Kazakhtelecom Anatoly Bachikalov said at a press conference on Wednesday. In his words, the launch of Microsoft Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Hosted SharePoint will allow local companies to save on the purchase of hardware and software. • More than 500 Chinese companies and investors will participate in the ChinaSearchExpo exhibition that will be held on August 14-17 in Astana. ChinaSearchExpo will bring together small and medium enterprises of China and the CIS with an exhibition of more than 500 companies from China, covering almost all sectors of economy. Around 100 new technologies in the construction, medicine, manufacturing, and mining will be presented during the exhibition. The event will be attended by the Chinese investors with the ability to invest its own funds in the markets of Kazakhstan and other CIS countries, which will be submitted to our investors with small and medium enterprises of the CIS in China. • Kazakhstan will provide humanitarian assistance to Tajikistan for a total amount of 40 million tenge, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said in a report published on June 16. “Taking into account socio-economic situation in Tajikistan, 80 thousand liters of oil and 120 tons of wheat flour for the total amount of 39,912 tenge have been allocated to the Republic of Tajikistan following the government’s decision,” the statement said. • Moody’s international rating agency assigned Astana a positive issuer rating of Baa3 with stable outlook, reports citing International Media-Center Baiterek. “Moody’s Investors Service has assigned first-time global-scale foreign and localcurrency issuer ratings of Baa3 to the City of Astana, Kazakhstan Republic’s capital. The rating outlook is stable,” the Media-Center writes. “The City of Astana’s ratings are supported by its improving operating margins and consistently low financing deficits, which are based on the city’s dynamic and diversified economy and the more benign fiscal framework. Its low debt burden is a further credit-positive factor for the city’s rating,” a Moody’s Senior Analyst and lead analyst for the City of Astana Aleksander Proklov said. The city’s budget performance values showed significant strengthening in 2011. Improvement of the economic situation and cancellation of the budget withdrawals have increased the budget’s operating margins to 21.7 percent in 2011 (vs 9.5 percent in 2010). • In one year since the start of the project “Wikipedia in Kazakh” the number of articles in World Encyclopedia in Kazakh language has grown dramatically from 7 to 136,000. The progress Kazakhstan has reached this year was noticed at the conference “Wikimania” in Washington. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia named Kazakh team “superstars” in the space of Wiki. Back to Contents

ASTANA CALLING is a bi-weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Please send your requests and questions to ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 262 /6

Astana Calling #262  

A weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan