Economic news in brief

Investment in public administration, defence and compulsory social security decreased 7.9 percent year-on-year to 8.6 billion tenge (US$22.62 million) from January to May. At the same time, local budget expenditures on defence increased 9.2 percent to 212.5 million tenge (US$558,828) and remain the main source of investment (88.8 percent). The share of defence expenditures from the state budget decreased 5.6 percent, against 6 percent a year earlier. According to Minister of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry Askar Zhumagaliyev, Kazakhstan’s potential in the field of defence is growing significantly. The United Nations, for example, is ready to purchase Kazakh military equipment and weapons for peacekeeping missions.

Kazakhstan’s workforce increased 2.2 percent to 9.2 million people at the end of the first quarter of 2019. The employed population comprised 8.7 million people, which is an increase of 2.3 percent year on year. The self-employed population comprised 23.6 percent or 2.1 million people. Although the number of unemployed had been decreasing steadily from 2014, it saw a 1.1 percent increase to 442,900 people year on year in 2019. Out of this number, 83,700 people are aged 15 to 28. Yet the unemployment rate decreased from 4.9 percent to 4.8 percent year on year. The largest number of unemployed live in Almaty (51,200 people), Almaty Region (49,600) and Turkestan Region (41,300). The lowest numbers of unemployed were registered in the North Kazakhstan (14,600), Mangistau (15,000) and Atyrau (16,200) regions.

Investment in protecting Kazakhstan’s environment showed significant growth in 2019. From January to May, investments in the sector totalled 44.2 billion tenge (US$116.24 million), four times more than in 2018. More than half the total investment in the sector is allocated to protect the environment in Atyrau Region – nearly 24 billion tenge (US$63.11 million), compared with 1.8 billion tenge (US$4.73 million) in 2018. The top three also include the Akmola and Karaganda regions, where investment totalled 7.1 billion tenge (US$18.97 million) and 4.1 billion tenge (US$1.78 million), respectively. A year earlier, investments in these regions reached only 692.8 million tenge (US$1.82 million) and 964 million tenge (US$2.54 million). The three regions account for 79.8 percent of the total.

From January to April, overall investment in education decreased 5.5 percent to 35.7 billion tenge (US$93.88 million) year on year, reports finprom.kz. After a 44 percent increase to nearly 42.5 billion tenge (US$111.77 million) in 2017, investment in education has fallen. In the beginning of June, the Ministry of Education and Science announced that it would allocate 300 million tenge (US$788,933) as a grant for a science project to produce superconducting wires for magnetic resonance imagers to a research group from Serikbayev East Kazakhstan State Technical University. The biggest share of investment in education came from the national budget, 12.9 billion tenge (US$33.92 million), which is 15.6 percent more than in 2018. The local budget allocated 11.5 billion tenge or US$30.24 million (a decrease of 12.1 percent year on year).

The advertising and marketing services sector has grown 14.6 percent year on year, reaching 46.8 billion tenge (US$123.07 million) in the first quarter of 2019. Almaty continues to provide the largest share of these services, 78 percent. Nur-Sultan’s share increased from 3.9 percent to 10 percent. The volume of these services in Kazakh capital has almost doubled over the last year. Nur-Sultan’s ForteBank head office, for example, for its Forte Femme advertising campaign, led Kazakhstan to the finals of Cannes Lions, the world’s most prestigious advertising festival, in the Media Lions nomination. This is the first project from Kazakhstan to receive global recognition in the history of the festival. The ad campaign reveals the contribution of women in Kazakh business. According to statistics, women contribute 39.5 percent of Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product (GDP), 43 percent of Kazakhstan’s small and medium-sized businesses belong to women and 52 percent of individual entrepreneurs are women.