In his annual state-of-the-nation address in 2014, President Nursultan Nazarbayev declared that Kazakhstan should seek to introduce living standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) member countries.
Currently the OECD includes 34 top developed countries which account for 60 percent of the world’s GDP. Good governance has been selected among top priority areas within the framework of the OECD Kazakhstan Country Programme for 2015-2016.
Accordingto a new Review of Central Administration which was produced by the OECD and launched on Dec. 18 in Astana, Kazakhstan has made remarkable progress since its independence and is now the most dynamic economic and political actor in Central Asia.
Over the past decade, the country made significant improvements in its allocation of resources, business climate, human development and quality of public administration. Inviewofthis, Kazakhstanhastheambitionofjoiningtheranksofthe 30 mostdevelopedcountriesintheworldby 2050.
Yet Kazakhstan must overcome significant challenges to achieve this objective, including growing regional disparities in wealth distribution; a persistently high poverty rate, particularly in rural areas; limited human capital; corruption; and the need to strengthen the rule of law, democratisation and openness, including citizen participation in policy processes.
According to the new OECD review, which examined the structure, functions and capabilities of Kazakhstan’s central agencies and several line ministries, the following steps could help the country face the challenges ahead:
Re-assessing the role and capacities of Kazakhstan’s ministries, granting the greater autonomy and involvement in the policy–making process to support their ability to deliver results and respond to citizen and business needs and to enable the development of a professional public service in Kazakhstan.
Reviewing the functions and roles of central agencies to remove remaining fragmentation and to strengthen the government’s ability to act as a collective body.
Strengthening transparency and citizen participation in policy–making, monitoring and evaluation to support inclusive and participative decision-making processes. The mechanisms for the protection of citizens’ rights and dispute resolution could also be strengthened.
Improving horizontal co–ordination at the central level, including through fostering working level collaboration across central agencies and ministries to strengthen Kazakhstan’s ability to address cross-cutting policy issues.
Enhancing strategic human resource management and performance budgeting, including reducing staff turnover to support the public service’s capacity to attract and retain the best and the brightest.
Improving Kazakhstan’s public service performance and accountability system and reducing administrative reporting requirements to improve management performance across the administration and to strengthen ministerial ability to focus on citizen and business needs.
Vice-Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan Madina Abylkassymova stated at the launch of the review that OECD’s recommendations would be beneficial for implementation as the country was aiming to strengthen its national competitiveness and foster inclusive growth.
The OECD will continue actively working with Kazakhstan within the framework of its 2015-2016 Kazakhstan Country Programme in order to help it improve the quality of its public governance and make further progress towards a modern and efficient public sector.
The author holds a PhD in social policy and is instructor at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy and co-author of the OECD Kazakhstan Review of Central Administration.