Economic news in brief

Mazhilis (lower chamber of Parliament) hearings to be held on May 16 will focus on the quality and prospects of preparing technical, vocational and higher education specialists. The hearings were initiated by the Committee of Social and Cultural Development of the Mazhilis. As head of the committee Gulnar Iksanova noted, the relevance of the theme is conditioned by the need to address a number of issues hampering the development of several sectors of the economy. One of those issues is the level of preparation of specialists in agriculture and industry in particular, as well as overcoming market imbalances, a lack of required educational programmes, low employer involvement in preparing specialists for their enterprises and more. Heads of ministries, national companies and associations and rectors of universities are invited to take part in the discussion, which is intended to lead to recommendations.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting with top World Bank officials in the Akorda on May 1. Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Laura Tuck, International Finance Corporation (IFC) First Vice President for Asia Pacific Karin Finkelston, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha, Executive Vice President of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank Keiko Honda and permanent representative of the World Bank in Kazakhstan Sebnem Akkaya participated in the meeting. A framework partnership agreement on strengthening cooperation aimed at supporting sustainable development in Kazakhstan was signed at the meeting between the government of Kazakhstan, the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank. In accordance with the agreement, the World Bank Group will allocate $2.5 billion to Kazakhstan to help the country diversify its economy and improve its competitiveness by attracting investment to non-primary sectors of the economy, developing entrepreneurship and innovation, promoting small and medium-sized business, developing institutional and human capital and improving the quality and affordability of public services for sustainable regional development. The Kazakh President said the sides would cooperate in seven directions and special programmes would be drafted for each of these directions. He also said a coordination council consisting of representatives of the interested parties would be established to coordinate the realisation of the framework agreement. Massimov was entrusted with coordinating the project.

Within the 47th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on May 2-5, Minister of Economy and Budget Planning of Kazakhstan Yerbolat Dossayev held a bilateral meeting with Minister of Finance of China Lou Jiwei. The sides discussed issues of cooperation and the establishment of the Asian Development Bank of Infrastructure. According to Lou, China put forward the initiative to promote economic integration in the region. “I think the new bank will serve to strengthen cooperation between the countries of the region,” he said. He also noted that the idea of the bank arose from the unbalanced development of China, as well as to strengthen northern and western cooperation areas. China is now intensively developing transport infrastructure. “We proceed from the fact that transport infrastructure is the basis for economic development. With the development of infrastructure, transport integration, we can strengthen the economy,” he added. According to him, the new bank should serve as a supplement to the function of the World Bank and the ADB in the field of infrastructure investments. Dossayev noted Kazakhstan’s surplus of electricity in the northeast of the country. “We can consider issues of electricity flow to China through the east of the country. Kazakhstan today exports the excess electricity to Russia, but the potential of our country allows for exporting a much larger quantity. Initiatives such as the creation of the Asian Development Bank of Infrastructure will allow implementing such projects so that the economies begin to work more closely,” he concluded.

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