Issue No 294 FRIDAY, 8 MARCH 2013 www.mfa.kz A weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Minister for Economy Reveals 2012 Figures Signs of growth despite world financial crisis
Government Reviews National Action Plan to 2017 Government and Nur Otan Party to work together
Foreign Ministry Looks to the Future Collegium discusses â€œStrategy 2050â€?
Foreign Minister Visits India Focus on Political Cooperation and Business
Sixth Astana Economic Forum, May 2013 Record attendance expected
Also in the News
Minister for the Economy and Budget Planning, Yerbolat Dossayev
Minister for Economy Reveals 2012 Figures Despite the global financial crisis, the economy of Kazakhstan showed a number of positive trends in 2012. Figures were released by the Minister for the Economy and Budget Planning, Yerbolat Dossayev, during Government Question Time in parliament on March 4. The country’s GDP rose by 5%. Investment was up by 3.8%. Average incomes increased by 6.8% and salaries by 6.9%. The construction industry saw growth of 2.9%. And despite a fall in consumption worldwide, Kazakhstan’s external trade increased by nearly 10%, exports being up over 5% on the 2011 total, and imports improving by over 21%. At the same time, inflation fell to 6% from the 2011 level of 7.4%. And in December 2012, just over 5% of the population was unemployed. Mr Dossayev noted that there had been a downturn in oil production from a planned figure of 81 million tons to just over 79 million tons. Even though it is planned to increase this figure to 102 million tons per annum by 2017, the Minister noted that the best way to secure the country’s economic growth over the coming years would be to encourage greater internal and external investment in sectors other than natural resources. One way to encourage such investment, notably for direct investment, is for the government to put more effort into forming publicprivate partnerships, he said. The government’s fundamental task in the period 2013-2015 is to ensure that the state fulfils its obligations in the social sphere, notably for social security payments and the payment of salaries for state workers. A crucial element in Kazakhstan’s economic planning over the next few years is the anti-crisis “Road Map” which was put forward by President Nazarbayev and approved by the government in January. The main elements of the Road Map are concerned with ensuring that the self-employed section of the population has work; dealing with the negative effects of illegal immigration (it is estimated that there are currently around 200-300,000 illegal immigrants in Kazakhstan); and directing state funds to priority projects, in particular the financing of social welfare and the provision of labour. Significant sums have been set aside in the state budget from 2013-2015 for these areas. In 2013 and 2014, KZT 1.2 trillion each year has been earmarked for this. In 2015 the figure is slightly lower, at KZT 931.3 billion. The Road Map sets out also a number of priority measures for the improvement of the social and physical infrastructure of society. These include maintaining and improving social and cultural facilities; the repair and upkeep of local roads; and the repair and maintenance of housing. Where this can be done without the need for specialised professional help, the local population, including self-employed people, will be involved. In order to maintain inflation within the boundaries of 6-8% per annum, the government and the National Bank of Kazakhstan will adopt anti-inflationary measures. This will include using the country’s gold reserves when necessary to stabilise the value of the tenge.
“Despite the downturn in world demand, the volume of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade [in 2012] increased by 9.8%. Compared to the previous year, exports rose by 5.3% and imports were up by 21.2%” Yerbolat Dossayev, Minister for the Economy and Budget Planning
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First Deputy Chairman of the Nur Otan party, Baurzhan Baibek
Government Reviews National Action Plan to 2017 Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov chaired a session of the government on March 5, which examined the document, “Kazakhstan, Targets for 2017: The National Action Plan.” This is also the election manifesto of the Nur Otan Party. The Minister for the Economy and Budget Planning, Yerbolat Dossayev, led the discussion, giving the financial results for the country for 2012. He was followed by the Minister of Education and Science, Bakytzhan Zhumagulov; the Minister for Culture and Information, Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed; the Minister for Agriculture, Asylzhan Mamytbekov; the Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Protection of the Population, Tamara Duissenova; the Governor of Zhambyl Region, Kanat Bozumbayev; and the Governor of the West Kazakhstan Region, Nurlan Nogayev. The government speakers were followed by the First Deputy Chairman of the Nur Otan Party, Baurzhan Baibek. Mr Baibek said that thanks to the policies of the Party’s leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Nur Otan had earned the right to call itself, “the party of action”. He went on to say that the Party was responsible for the fate of the country, adding that this meant that the Party had before it, “the crucial task of fulfilling all of the promises made in its manifesto, “Kazakhstan, Targets for 2017: The National Action Plan.” The Prime Minister echoed Mr Baibek’s words, saying that the fulfilment of Nur Otan’s manifesto was also an important task for the government. Mr Akhmetov continued in his summing up at the end of the meeting by speaking about the essential need for continuous thorough monitoring and comprehensive analysis of the way in which the action points of the Plan were being carried out. He tasked the leaders of both the central and local executive bodies responsible for carrying it out to oversee the monitoring process.
“The National Action Plan is a political document which contains the fundamental direction for the development of our society over the next five years, under the leadership of the Party’s Chairman, Nursultan Nazarbayev. It will be carried out thanks to the joint efforts of the Party’s political council and the government.” Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov
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Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and India’s External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid
Foreign Minister Visits India The Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Erlan Idrissov, paid an official visit to India from March 3-5. In meetings with India’s political leadership and senior business figures, the dynamic development of the bilateral relationship between Kazakhstan and India was heralded not only as a positive step for the two countries, but for the whole region and the wider international community. In Mr Idrissov’s meetings with Vice-President Mohammed Ansari, and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, both sides stressed the importance of their good relations for regional and global security. They discussed also the issue of the rehabilitation of Afghanistan, and cooperation between Kazakhstan and India in international organizations such as the United Nations. The business relationship between Kazakhstan and India was an essential part of the Foreign Minister’s visit. In 2012, trade and investment between the two countries passed the USD 500 million mark for the first time, with exports from Kazakhstan amounting to USD 190 million and imports from India to USD 335 million. The main sectors for cooperation are hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals and transport infrastructure. Mr Idrissov held separate talks with the Indian Minister for Oil and Natural Gas, Veerappa Moily, and a group of Indian businessmen from this sector. The Indian company ONGC Videsh Limited has already acquired a 25% stake in the Satpayev Oil Block in the Caspian Sea, and India is keen to expand cooperation in the oil and gas sectors.
“Our meeting today was very fruitful. We agreed that the menace of international terrorism has to be fought by the international community collectively and that we must also make bilateral efforts in this direction.” Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of India
To improve the trade relationship further, Kazakhstan has suggested the formation of a Kazakhstan-India Chamber of Commerce. Educational and cultural links between the two countries were also on Mr Idrissov’s agenda. India is setting up an Information Technology Center of Excellence at the Eurasian University in Astana, which will be equipped with a super computer. The first trainees from the Eurasian University began studying in India in February this year. Mr Idrissov also addressed the wider context of relations between India and the Customs Union in which Kazakhstan is joined with Russia and Belarus. The Foreign Minister spoke enthusiastically to Indian businessmen about the great opportunities, notably in hi-tech industries, which the Customs Union opens up. In discussions with journalists, Mr Idrissov also spoke more specifically about Kazakhstan’s relationship with Russia, telling them of plans to sign a new cooperation treaty between Kazakhstan and Russia at the Regional Cooperation Forum in Yekaterinburg this autumn. The Foreign Minister was upbeat, too, in his assessment of the recent talks held in Almaty on the nuclear situation in Iran. He looked forward to greater success when the next round of talks is held in Almaty in April.
“The relationship between Kazakhstan and India has come a long way since diplomatic relations were established [in February 1992]. We now have a firm foundation for mutually fruitful cooperation.” Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 294 / 4
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Foreign Minister Idrissov chairs the March 2 meeting of his Ministry’s Collegium
Foreign Ministry Looks to the Future The Collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan met on March 2 under the Chairmanship of Foreign Minister Idrissov. Top of the agenda was the plan for the country’s long-term development, “Strategy-2050”. Mr Idrissov said in his opening remarks that Strategy 2050, put forward by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in December 2012, was a sober assessment of modern global realities and of the challenges facing Kazakhstan in the 21st century. In the first place, the Foreign Minister went on, it was vital to maintain the country’s economic course, to ensure that Kazakhstan was competitive globally. A key factor was the need for Kazakhstan to remain an active player in regional economic integration. As for the foreign policy of the country, Mr Idrissov stressed that this would continue to be based on the principles of balance, consistency and predictability.
“As before, the foreign policy of Kazakhstan will be based on the principles of balance, consistency and predictability.” Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan
The Foreign Ministry has already achieved concrete results, Mr Idrissov continued, which have strengthened Kazakhstan’s position and its authority on the world stage. Nuclear disarmament, a new model of interethnic and inter-confessional dialogue and harmony as well as the successful “Kazakhstan way” have become the new image of Kazakhstan, the Minister said. He also referred to the high marks given by the international community to Kazakhstan for its Chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the hosting of the 4th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, as well as its successful bid to host EXPO-2017 in Astana and the recent hosting of the talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Almaty. The meeting devoted time also to an assessment of particular tasks noted in the President’s December Address relevant to the work of the Ministry, including Eurasian economic integration, the strengthening of security in Central Asia and the Asian vector in the country’s foreign policy. Other issues discussed were the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan and prospects for the development of economic and trade diplomacy. Mr Idrissov noted that the Ministry has developed an Action Plan to implement the relevant parts of Strategy 2050 starting from the end of 2012.
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Sixth Astana Economic Forum, May 2013 The Sixth Astana Economic Forum will take place in Kazakhstan’s capital from May 22-24 2013. The Forum is now an established event in the international calendar, alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the St Petersburg Economic Forum in Russia. The Astana Economic Forum was founded by President Nazarbayev to bring together the world’s leading thinkers to discuss solutions to the economic, financial and social challenges of our times. This year, 8,500 delegates are expected from 100 different countries. Among their number will be heads of state and heads of government; senior political and social figures; leaders of international organizations and businesses; and Nobel Prize winners. The world’s media will also be in attendance. This year there will be five key areas for discussion concerning the development of the global economy. These are: Prospects for global economic growth and the price of raw materials in 2013; Infrastructure and innovative technologies; Competitiveness on international markets and the effectiveness of Kazakhstan’s multi-functional internet platform, G-Global (which was established with the aim of initiating and maintaining a worldwide discussion on global development in its broadest sense and a wide range of related topics); Social aspects of economic growth; and Financial systems, global risks and ways of handling them. As well as this, the Forum provides a platform for discussions among world leaders; and gives an opportunity for one-to-one discussions and televised debates for the world’s media. So far, 34 leading social figures have already confirmed their attendance at this year’s event, among them a number of senior politicians and business people and nine Nobel prize winners. Given the current problems in the global economy, an important element of the Astana Economic Forum will be the World AntiCrisis Conference, which is being planned jointly with the United Nations and the Russian chairmanship of the G-20. The aim of the Conference is to produce a draft UN World Anti-Crisis Plan. It is intended that the main achievement of the Astana Forum will be to produce an open letter for the governments of the UN member states, with recommendations for the recovery and future development of the global economy. This will be sent to the organizing committees of the G-8 and the G-20; the International Monetary Fund; the World Bank; the UN; and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The recommendations in this letter will be prepared by leading specialists in international economy and finance, as well as participants in Kazakhstan’s G-Global platform.
“The Astana Economic Forum has become a significant part of the global dialogue for politicians and experts.” President Nazarbayev
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Also in The News… • President Nazarbayev congratulated the women of Kazakhstan on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8. He held a meeting with women from various professions to emphasize the role of women in the country: political and business leaders, the military, doctors, teachers and women from the cultural world. (BNews.kz) • President Nazarbayev sent a telegram of condolence to the Vice-President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, following the death of the President, Hugo Chavez. “Hugo Chavez’s exceptional activity in the development of Venezuela and the improvement in the living standards of his people have left an indelible mark on history. I am convinced that his shining light will remain forever in our memory” President Nazarbayev said. (akorda.kz) • Nazarbayev University will be accepting its first 100 post-graduate students on four different courses in 2013. The first will be studying on the Executive MBA course, Business Administration for Leaders, from 25 March. There are 25 students on the course and they will study for 21 months. The other three programs start later: the Master of Science in School Leadership and the Master of Science in Higher Education will start in August and accept a total of 50 students. A further 20 students will take part in the Master in Public Policy course, a two-year course which starts in September. (Tengrinews.kz) • Almaty is set to become a regional hub for the training of diplomats. This was announced by the Head of the Center for Foreign Policy of the Presidential Administration, Yerzhan Ashikbayev. Not only will this raise the effectiveness of the 19 representations of the United Nations in Almaty, but it will also improve the international standing of Kazakhstan, both regionally and globally. (BNews.kz) • Five new business projects have been approved in the Akmola Region to receive government support under the “Road Map for Business 2020” program. These projects are in the areas of construction; transport; real estate; and the export of wheat and flour. (BNews.kz) • Kazkommerts Securities, a daughter company of Kazkommertsbank, was awarded the title of Best Investment Bank in Kazakhstan 2013 by Global Finance magazine. In the April edition of the journal the Bank was listed among the world’s best investment banks, especially for the social nature of its projects. (BNews.kz)
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• In Paris the Kazakhstan-France Centre for transfer technology has been opened. This will see an exchange of specialists in the field between the two countries, and should lead to greater access for French companies to the Kazakhstan market. (BNews.kz) • The Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, Bakytzhan Zhumagulov, held a meeting in Astana with the Rectors of a number of foreign arts institutes. Mr Zhumagulov spoke enthusiastically about the growing cooperation between higher education institutes in Kazakhstan and the rest of the world, pointing out that an increasing number of students from Kazakhstan are studying abroad and that 1500 foreign teachers are coming to Kazakhstan each year to give lectures. (BNews.kz) • On 6 March in the National Academic Library of Kazakhstan in Astana, there was a presentation of the book, “Kazakhstan in the International Community (Essays in Multi-Faceted Diplomacy)”, by the former Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Yerzhan Kazykhanov. The book covers the first 20 years of Kazakhstan’s post-Soviet diplomacy. (mfa.gov.kz) • Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city has grown further. The villages of Kayrat, Kolkhozshy and Kolsai have been incorporated into Almaty, increasing the city’s territory by nearly 3,500 hectares. (BNews.kz) • In the years since Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1991, six million children have been born. In the last five years, the birth rate in the republic has increased by 11%. (BNews.kz)
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