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ASTANA CALLING

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Kazakhstan

Central Communications Service for the President of Kazakhstan

A WEEKLY ONLINE PUBLICATION / WWW.MFA.GOV.KZ ISSUE NO 299 / FRIDAY, 12 APRIL 2013

President Meets Kazakhstan’s Entrepreneurs Demands more freedom for business, less state interference

Kazakhstan Celebrates International Cosmonautics Day Pride, hopes and fears at site of first manned launch

“Kazakhstan-2050: Education-Science-Innovation” Plotting the path for Kazakhstan’s scientific development

Creating a “Green” Economy in Kazakhstan International conference in Astana

Also in the News


President Nazarbayev greets some of Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurs

President Meets Kazakhstan’s Entrepreneurs President Nazarbayev chaired a meeting of the Union of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan on April 10. In his address, he made clear from the outset the important role he sees for private business in helping Kazakhstan to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 30 developed economies in the world. He stressed that it is essential that the state once and for all does away with, “the archaic notion” that it has to have control over everything. The President laid out a five-point plan for the way ahead for entrepreneurs, within the context of the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”. Firstly, entrepreneurs should be the driving force of Kazakhstan’s economy. The number of small and medium businesses should be doubled. The second point should help this: there will be a second wave of privatizations of state industries. Thirdly, measures should be put in place urgently to encourage the growth of micro-businesses and individual entrepreneurs into medium-sized businesses. Fourthly, conditions must be created to encourage cooperation between businesses; this may mean entrepreneurs having to join the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs. And the President’s fifth point was that the state must genuinely provide assistance and support for entrepreneurs. Significant progress has been made in recent years with internet usage in Kazakhstan; and anyone who wishes to can now open their own business online. And they can also do much of the paperwork, such as tax returns, online. This in itself is creating savings for business of KZT five billion annually. But more needs to be done as far as internet usage goes. Internet trade and shopping needs to be developed. For this, there need to be two improvements: internet resources need to be developed further, and the government must bring in regulation. The President instructed the government to draw up by the end of this year a draft law, “On electronic trading”, and also a plan for the growth of internet trade over the next five years. The President gave further instructions to the government, telling his ministers to work with the National Economic Chamber of Kazakhstan, “Soyuz Atameken”, on a plan to ensure that Kazakhstan’s businesses are properly prepared to work in favorable conditions within the Single Economic Space, and also in future in the Eurasian Economic Union. The President also instructed the government and the Chamber to carry out a survey of the “Business Climate”, in particular examining ways in which state and local authorities are helping business. The results of the survey will be published in the media. And while the state was being urged to support entrepreneurs, the President used the occasion also to remind Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurs that they have a patriotic duty: to invest in the national economy, rather than spending their money on property abroad. There have been many cases in recent years of Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurs building mosques and churches; but far fewer of businessmen paying for cultural or sporting facilities in the countryside or for the country’s youth. “We should encourage such activities”, the President remarked.

“We have set ourselves a huge task: to become one of the 30 most developed economies in the world. A strong economy means having strong entrepreneurship; it means that our goods can compete on the world market.” President Nazarbayev

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Delegates at the Forum: “Kazakhstan 2050: Education-Science-Innovation”

“Kazakhstan-2050: Education-Science-Innovation” The future of education and science in Kazakhstan was high on the agenda this week, as the country marked “Scientists’ Day” on April 12. A week of seminars and round tables was organized in Astana and Almaty to highlight the development of education and science in Kazakhstan and to strengthen Kazakhstan’s international relations in this sphere. After a seminar jointly organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and the British Council, “Exchanging Ideas and Forming International Cooperation in Science”, further events were held under the banner of the Republican Forum, “Kazakhstan-2050: Education-Science-Innovation”. The international seminar discussed the possibilities for cooperation and partnership between Kazakhstan and the UK, but was attended also by academics from Argentina, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the US. Topics under discussion in the Republican Forum were focused on the development of science and education within Kazakhstan. Round tables were held on a variety of subjects, among them: the development of agrarian science; the challenges of humanitarian subjects within the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”; how to improve the quality and standing of scientific publications; raising the qualifications of engineers and technicians; crucial technology for accelerated industrial innovative development. While looking ahead to developments in education and science under the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”, the country’s academics were able to note some significant improvements in recent years. There are now 20,000 people working in the scientific sphere, an increase of 38% on the number ten years ago. Thanks to the support of President Nazarbayev, state funding for science has increased from KZT 20 billion in 2010 to KZT 51 billion in 2012. When explaining the priorities for education and science in his address to the people on the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”, the President outlined three main areas for development. There must be greater integration of Kazakhstan’s scientists with the foreign scientific community on innovation and in major international projects. Research in Kazakhstan’s higher educational institutions must be improved. And there has to be proper cooperation between science and business, especially regarding technology transfer and the development of public-private partnerships. A specific area where this can happen is with regard to EXPO-2017 in Astana. Science and industry can show between them progress on developing the energy resources of the future, the main theme of EXPO-2017. Cooperation with the international scientific community is already proceeding apace in Kazakhstan. There have already been 43 agreements signed with countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and with the US. In particular, strategically-important scientific and technical projects are being worked on with Belarus, China, India and Russia. In keeping with the title of the Republican Forum, it is acknowledged that more needs to be done by the Ministry of Education and Science to encourage scientists to bring innovative benefits to the economy. The Ministry, in cooperation with the World Bank, has already launched a program, “The Commercialisation of Technology”. This has received funding to the tune of USD 75 million, and is already active in 21 projects.

“The strengthening of our cooperation in the area of research will be mutually beneficial for Kazakhstan and the UK. This will help the scientists of both countries to work together on world class research projects, thus raising their international reputation.” Simon Williams, Director of the British Council in Kazakhstan

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François Auque, President of France’s EADS Astrium (L), Talgat Musabayev, Chairman of the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan (C) and Gabdulatif Murzakulov, President of the National Company, Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary (R) at the celebration of International Cosomonautics Day

Kazakhstan Celebrates International Cosmonautics Day April 12 is officially recognized by the United Nations as International Cosmonautics Day. The date marks the day in 1961 when Yury Gagarin became the first human being to go into space. Kazakhstan has good reason to be proud of this anniversary, as Gagarin took off from the cosmodrome at Baikonur in Kazakhstan, establishing Kazakhstan’s place in the history of space flight. Since then, the name of Baikonur has become synonymous with the exploration of outer space. Baikonur is one of only three sites in the world capable of launching manned space flights, the others being Cape Canaveral in the US and Jiuquan in China. It was from Baikonur that the first space station, Mir, was launched in 1986. The first section of the International Space Station was also sent into space from Baikonur, 13 years later, in 1999. The space complex at Baikonur covers a territory of almost 7,000 sq km. This includes nine launch complexes with 15 rocket launchers; four launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles; 34 technical complexes; three refuelling stations for space vehicles; and two airfields. It houses also the world’s largest oxygen-nitrogen plant. More than half of all the space launches which have been carried out have taken place from Baikonur. The space complex continues to serve as a fine example of friendship and cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia. Even though Russia can launch unmanned spacecraft and satellites into space from its own cosmodrome at Plesetsk, more than 50% of Russian launches still go from Baikonur. All launches for geostationary orbit take off from Baikonur; and nearly all of the Soviet Union’s 2,500 launches for military purposes went from there. Plans are well in hand for the future use of the Baikonur cosmodrome for launches at least up until 2040. But no-one who lives and works in Baikonur is so complacent as to think that life there is comfortable or that work is guaranteed forever. People still remember the uncertainties of the 1990s, following the collapse of the USSR. It was only cooperation with Russia which saved the cosmodrome; and, indeed, the city of Baikonur itself.

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Baikonur is a single-industry city. Everyone who lives and works in the city is linked in some way to the cosmodrome. For now, the residents know that there is a space program for the immediate future. But after the uncertainty of the 1990s they take nothing for granted. Those who run the city and the cosmodrome know that they have to explore various options for their future well-being. In 2010, the “Salam” joint venture between Kazakhstan and France was created to assemble and test spacecraft. Eventually, it is planned to incorporate “Salam” into the Kazakhstan National Space Center, which is already being established and will have its headquarters in Astana. There is talk of more space cooperation in the future with France, and even with Israel. Realistically, Kazakhstan is looking westward rather than to the USA for such cooperation, given the country’s proximity to Europe. And although ventures such as space tourism are being genuinely considered in the USA, it is clear that these are far more likely to focus on Cape Canaveral than Baikonur. As Kazakhstan joined in the celebration of International Cosmonautics Day, mixed in with the justifiable pride about Kazakhstan’s role in the history of spaceflight was a pragmatic approach to the country’s future role in space exploration. As with many other areas of life, private capital is increasingly playing a part in the space business. The Baikonur cosmodrome will not rest on its laurels, but will explore many different avenues to ensure that the life of the cosmodrome and the city continues to thrive and be a continuing source of success for Kazakhstan.

“By the year 2030, Kazakhstan must strengthen its place on the world market for space services, and carry through to a sensible conclusion the projects which we have already begun.” President Nazarbayev

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Creating a “Green” Economy in Kazakhstan A high-level international conference was held in Astana on April 12 to discuss ways to transform Kazakhstan into a “green” economy. Environmental and ecological issues were never very high on the agenda in the Soviet past; but the President and government are determined that Kazakhstan will have a “green” future. It is no coincidence that the theme of EXPO 2017 in Astana is “Energy of the Future”. Minister for Environmental Protection, Nurlan Kapparov

The conference was organized with the assistance of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan, underlining the international nature of the subject. The authorities know that the best path to building a “green” economy in Kazakhstan is to use the experience of those around the world who have already started to tackle the problem. As the Minister for Environmental Protection, Nurlan Kapparov, said in his opening address to the conference, “Many of the environmental problems in our country and around the world still remain unanswered. Increasing desertification, growing volumes of waste, climate change and regional disparities represent a threat to economic development, the environment and public health.” Mr Kapparov stressed, too, the advances which Kazakhstan has already made towards creating a “green” economy. By closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, destroying the country’s nuclear weapons and establishing a national policy of nuclear nonproliferation, Kazakhstan had demonstrated its concern not only for global security but also for sustainable development. Another example of this has been the efforts to save the Aral Sea. The morning session of the conference looked at the strategy for creating a “green” economy in Kazakhstan. After Mr Kapparov’s opening address, the US Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kenneth Fairfax, spoke. He was followed by the Deputy Minister for the Environment, Bektas Mukhamedzhanov. The high, international level of the conference was highlighted by the next two speakers, the British Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Dr Carolyn Browne, and the Norwegian Ambassador, Ole Johan Bjørnøy. The afternoon session was given over to representatives from industry and business, who presented examples of some of the problems already faced by businesses which are endeavoring to conduct their work in a more environmentally-friendly way. From industry, there were representatives from Dupont, Rio Tinto and AES. They were joined by specialists on tax and ecological issues from Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst & Young. This link with the world of business neatly dovetailed with a point made at the start of the day by Mr Kapparov: “Improving business and the investment climate of the country and the transition to a “green” economy are among the top priorities for the Government of Kazakhstan”, he said.

“The transition to a “green” economy needs joint efforts to reform the existing economic model and tackle regional cross-border issues that go beyond the capacity of individual parties.” Nurlan Kapparov, Minister for Environmental Protection

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Also in The News… • President Nazarbayev sent a telegram of condolence to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, on hearing the news of the death of the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. “I always remember warmly my meetings with Mrs Thatcher,” it said in the telegram, “and I can definitely say that it is these meetings which formed the basis for the friendly relations and partnership which exist between our two countries.” The President expressed his condolences on behalf of the people of Kazakhstan to Lady Thatcher’s family and the British people. (akorda.kz) • President Nazarbayev met with Kyrgyz President Atambayev on April 11 in Astana. They reviewed current and future bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, including the activities of the joint Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz investment fund. They also discussed the situation in the region and the development of integration processes in Eurasia as well as the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Bishkek. President Nazarbayev stressed Kazakhstan’s interest in the stable development of the Kyrgyz economy while President Atambayev said that Kazakhstan was the fastest developing country in the region and that its experience of economic reform was important for Kyrgyzstan. • A round table was held in Astana last week on the question of the protection of children’s rights in schools in Kazakhstan. Participants heard a report on a survey carried out in the country’s schools in 2012, examining the issue of violence against children. The survey was carried out by the Ombudsman for Human Rights, together with UNICEF. It was supported by the Norwegian Embassy in Kazakhstan. (inform.kz) • Three projects put forward by schoolchildren from Kazakhstan have made it through to the final of the 64th Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), to be held in Phoenix, USA, May 12-17 2013. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest precollege science competition, and students from 70 countries participate in the final. They compete for over USD 3 million in awards to continue with their scientific projects. (inform.kz, societyforscience.org) • The spring draft for the Army of Kazakhstan is in full swing. In the first eight days of the call-up, 400 young men were seen by the military commission, but only a quarter of them were chosen. This is partly because this year there is a new element to the process: a psychological exam. The would-be conscripts have to answer 160 questions, then pass an interview with a military psychologist in order to prove that they are fit for military service. It is planned to draft 15,000 young men into the Army in this call-up period. (zakon.kz)

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• A delegation from UNICEF visited Astana last week for a meeting with the Health Minister, Salidat Kairbekova. Ms Kairbekova thanked UNICEF for the assistance it gives to mothers and children in Kazakhstan. In her turn, the Regional Director for Eastern Europe and the CIS, Marie-Pierre Poirier, congratulated the health authorities in Kazakhstan on what they had achieved in recent years in improving the health of the country’s mothers and children, and said that Kazakhstan could serve as an example to all the countries of Central Asia. (kazinform.kz) • The Chairman of Kazakhstan’s parliament, Nurlan Nigmatulin, travelled to St Petersburg last week to take part in a conference on the Eurasian Economic Perspective. The conference was attended by the parliamentary chairmen of the CIS countries, as well as international specialists. On the agenda were questions of economic integration, most notably the harmonization of laws on economics, trade, and the movement of capital and the workforce. (bnews.kz) • A three-day exhibition took place last week in Ust-Kamenogorsk entitled, “Siberia and Kazakhstan: A Single Economic Space; a Step into the Future”. The aim of the exhibition was to strengthen ties between the Eastern Kazakhstan Region and the Novosibirsk region of Russia, within the framework of the Customs Union. (bnews.kz) • The State Secretary of Kazakhstan, Marat Tazhin, held a meeting in Astana with the Head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Aurelia Bouchez. Cooperation on questions of security was discussed, as were ways to strengthen political dialogue between Kazakhstan and the EU and the development of trade relations. Trade between Kazakhstan and the countries of the EU stands at USD 70 billion, and over one third of foreign investment into Kazakhstan comes from the EU. (inform.kz) • Kazakhstan’s ice-hockey team prepared for this week’s First Division World Championship Group A tournament in Budapest by playing two friendly games against Slovenia in Maribor. Kazakhstan won the first game by two goals to one; but the Slovenians exacted revenge in the second match, winning by the same score. In the tournament in the Hungarian capital, which lasts from April 14-20, Kazakhstan will play Great Britain, Japan, Italy, South Korea and the host nation, Hungary. (inform.kz) • In his first professional boxing bout in the US, Kazakhstan boxer Kanat Islam defeated Alexis Martinez of Argentina by a technical knockout in round two. This was Islam’s ninth professional fight and he has won all of them by a knockout. (zonakz.net)

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