Economy News in Brief

• A conference entitled “Building a Green Economy in Kazakhstan” will be held on April 12, Central Communications Service Spokesman Altay Abibullayev said. Cabinet members, ambassadors and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development officials are expected to speak there, he added. The conference will provide a platform to discuss sustainable economy developments in the context of EXPO 2017, which will be held in Astana on the subject of Future Energy.

• President Nursultan Nazarbayev will chair a session of the Council of Entrepreneurs on April 10 on improving the business environment and domestic competitiveness.

• Bazarbay Nurabayev, chairman of the Committee of Geology and Subsoil Use of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies announced that a new programme will be drawn up to develop the mineral resources sector from 2015 to 2019. The programme will be prepared as part of the Concept of Geological Sector Development until 2030. It will cover regional projects, prospecting, evaluation processes, and exploration.

• Some 65 percent of residential buildings in Kazakhstan consume two to three times as more energy each than comparable buildings in Europe, UN Development Programme project manager Bayan Abulkhairova told the scientific conference “Energy audit and energy management – a component of sustainable energy development” on April 2. “The housing stock in the country is 271 million square metres,” Abulkhairova said. She said the UNDP recommended monitoring energy efficiency in compliance with building regulations during the construction process and building green housing with environmentally friendly materials.

• Astana is the most expensive city to live in Central Asia, CA-News reported. The rating was made based on website’s survey that calculates and compares the cost of living between cities around the world. Astana’s average cost of living was $2,604. It was followed by Almaty at $2,481, Tashkent at $2,390, Dushanbe at $1,989 and Bishkek at $1,662.

• Inflation in Kazakhstan came to 0.2 percent in March 2013, the Kazakhstan Statistics Agency said. Prices rose by 2.3 percent for pearl barley, by 0.6 percent for pasta and eggs, by 0.5 percent for fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, by 0.4 percent for rice, dairy products, pasteurized milk and tea and by 0.3 percent for bakery and pastry products. Prices for buckwheat decreased by 1 percent and for sunflower oil by 0.2 percent. Diesel oil prices rose by 6.3 percent, prices for health services by 2.3 percent and for pre-school education by 0.4 percent. Prices for telephone and fax services fell by 7.8 percent and for hot water and central heating by 0.3 percent. Prices for waste collection increased by 7.6 percent, for sewerage by 7.2 percent and for cold water by 5.7 percent.

• The SYSTRA Company in France signed a contract with Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakhstan State Railways) on March 5 to design and build a high-speed rail line between Almaty and Astana. SYSTRA CEO Pierre Verzat and KTZ Chairman Askar Mamin said the agreement marked a decade of successful collaboration. The new rail line will be 1,000 km (600 miles) long and its trains will travel at 250km/per hour (150 miles per hour) and will include a 10 km (six mile) bridge over Lake Balkhash. SYSTRA is involved in every high-speed rail project in France and is currently working on the Southern Europe Atlantic line (Tours-Bordeaux) as a member of the LISEA consortium. It is also constructing the Kenitra-Tangiers line in Morocco, HS2 in Britain and is part of the French tender for the Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo-Campinas concession in Brazil with the SNCF-Alstom as well as projects in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia.

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