Bolashak Alumni Discuss Almaty’s Development to 2020

A meeting of graduates of the Bolashak Presidential Scholarship Programme took place in Almaty on Nov. 17. About 100 or so attendees discussed the draft of the development project of the city to 2020.

Participants at the meeting on Astana's development. Photo: Zakon.kz

Participants at the Bolashak alumni meeting on Astana’s development. Photo: Zakon.kz

One of the guests, head of internal policy department of Almaty Sayasat Nurbek, explained main points of Kazakhstan’s massive, ongoing project to implement five institutional reforms, which is being put into practice via the Plan of the Nation of 100 concrete steps approved by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazinform reported.

Nurbek highlighted five concepts for the city to undertake concerning its long term development.

“Almaty, as everyone knows, is the cultural capital of Kazakhstan. So, our first concept is called ‘Almaty – a city of culture.’ The second concept is ‘Almaty – a financial centre,’ as we want to maintain the status of the regional financial centre for the city. The third concept is called’ Almaty – a centre of education.’ The reason why we choose this name is based on the high concentration of competitive universities here. ‘Almaty – a city of business’ is the fourth concept, and, finally the last concept is ‘Almaty – a city of tourism.’ The southern capital has a great potential for tourism development; however, we need to work on some problem areas to be eliminated in the future,” he said.

According to Nurbek, to date, Almaty accounts for 33 percent of all tax contribution of the country. The city also contributes 22 percent of Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product and 41 percent of all trade operations takes place there. Almaty is also the location of 90 percent of all headquarters and main offices of large companies represented in the country, and it is where 80 percent of all start-ups are launched. Moreover, 44 percent of Bolashak alumni live and work in the southern capital. Almaty is the only non-commodity-based city in the country, thriving instead on service and trade.

“Almaty became a driver of the economy and a platform for socio-political entities. You can see a great concentration of progressive-thinking people ready for new reforms,” added Nurbek.

A group of Bolashak graduates, who studied architecture, urban planning and urban development, headed by Erkanat Zaitov and Alisher Sakipov, proposed establishing an Urban Institute in Almaty. Another concept was also suggested by the producer of the Light and Space urban projects office, Anel Moldakhmetova: to create Almaty Urban Re-Hub, a comprehensive platform for urban projects.

The audience also discussed the possibility to of creating a media platform to draw attention to the problems of the urban environment in cities of Kazakhstan on the example of Almaty and launching educational programmes aimed at spreading knowledge about the tools and mechanisms for creating a comfortable urban environment.

The Bolashak alumni decided to undertake a shift away from nostalgia for the old city and toward a new vision of Almaty, where changes and improvements are possible and where it is interesting and comfortable to live.

The development project of Almaty to 2020 was first published on Nov. 5 on the almaty.gov.kz web site, in order to spark public discussions, as well as collect proposals from experts, business representatives and nongovernmental organisations. Now, everyone who loves the Apple City and wants to contribute to its development can send their own suggestions and amendments to the email address [email protected]