Employment Programme Creates Businesses, Jobs in Southern Kazakhstan

SHYMKENT – The administration of the South Kazakhstan region recently evaluated the effectiveness of the pilot Employment 2020 programme launched in 2011. Deputy Governor of the South Kazakhstan region Ali Bektayev has recently visited a number of enterprises and farms where regional authorities also familiarized themselves with the businesses that have been developed with government support.

In 2013, more than 12.1 billion tenge ($80,196,138) were allocated for Employment 2020 in the South Kazakhstan region. It is estimated that 25,000 people will be affected by the programme. The goals of the programme include reducing the unemployment rate in the region to 5.6 percent, limiting self-employment to 47 percent and lowering the percentage of people living below subsistence levels to 9.7 percent. The programme also hopes to reduce youth unemployment to 3.8 percent.

Employment 2020 also includes provisions to promote entrepreneurship in rural areas. According to the programme, 1,000 residents of the Southern Kazakhstan region this year will receive training on the basics of business and receive micro loans to launch their own businesses. Moreover, about 2,066 jobs are expected to be created with the funds allotted for the infrastructure projects.

Usen Ormanov, a young entrepreneur from the Karasu village in the Sairam district, began his career in business two years ago when he applied for funds under the Employment 2020 programme. With initial capital of three million tenge ($19,883) loaned at 6.5 percent per annum, he built barns and purchased horses and sheep.

Ormanov’s operation has expanded considerably in the last two years and now provides stable paying jobs for two of his fellow villagers. Ormanov’s monthly loan payment is 16,000-17,000 tenge ($106-$112) with profits reinvested in the business. Ormanov showed his operation to Bektayev during Bektayev’s recent trip.

Entrepreneur Vladimir Bobrov, who has experience in the cultivation of mushrooms, has also received an Employment 2020 loan to help create jobs. He opened the first free school to train future mushroom growers and plans to establish an operation for the production of oyster mushrooms.

Bobrov cultivates his mushrooms using cotton husk as substrate, in contrast to straw and sawdust. Cotton husk contains a large number of micro-nutrients, which can later be used as animal feed and thus eliminate waist.

Bobrov collects four to five harvests of mushrooms per year and the crop is sold widely in the markets and shops of his city. People are increasingly choosing environmentally friendly products and oyster mushrooms are popular because they have been grown without chemical treatment, artificial colours and preservatives. His enterprise has shown that oyster mushrooms are a viable business.

The experiences of these rural entrepreneurs can serve as a model for those who want to open their own business, but do not know how to start, Bektayev said at a recent job fair organized by the Sairam district akimat (city hall). The state creates favourable conditions, helps entrepreneurs become experienced in sectors where there is demand and then provides the capital to start their businesses.