The Kazakh government recently ratified amendments to a partnership agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to change the lending rules going forward.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a law on the ratification of a new framework partnership agreement to strengthen cooperation between the bank for the purpose of economic diversification, sustainable development and to promote the comprehensive growth of Kazakhstan, according to Akorda.kz.
The Minister of the National Economy Ruslan Dalenov explained that the agreement establishes new standards for applying ADB policies and rules when taking loans on behalf of the government. These policies will now take into account conditions related to anti-corruption measures, environmental and social protective measures, information transparency, and the empowerment of women in the workplace.
This allows Kazakhstan to expand project financing instruments.
“According to the agreement, the main objectives are to increase the macroeconomic stability of Kazakhstan, modernize key infrastructure and utilities, assist in the development of the agricultural sector, improve access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses and increase funding for social sectors such as healthcare and education,” added Dalenov.
Last year, the ADB celebrated the 25 anniversary of its partnership with Kazakhstan. The bank approved about $6 billion in sovereign loans, non-sovereign loans and technical assistance grants in support of transport, agriculture, water, education, health, as well as finance and public sector management.
Regional cooperation and integration initiatives as part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC) have contributed to the region’s economic growth, according to the ABD’s blog titled Central Asian countries are moving forward together to beat COVID-19.
The CAREC region includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
ADB experts noted that the Central Asian countries should now “work together to tackle regional health threats.”
“Much of the international effort is rightfully focused on containing the pandemic at present. As CAREC countries respond to the crisis, a forward-looking approach is crucial to prepare countries for future public health threats. CAREC countries now have an opportunity to establish a working group of health experts and develop a joint strategy. To address the region’s health threats in the medium and long term, they must act now and act decisively,” reads the blog.
The ADB study shares recommendations to promote health cooperation considering the potential of CAREC. It includes strengthening regional health security, improvement of health information systems, human resources, and access to medicine and health services. A regional approach is needed to improve migrant workers’ access to healthcare.
Interregional cooperation with non-CAREC countries is also a priority as the countries have close economic links with neighbours – Iran, India, and Russia. It is advised to strengthen collaboration with regional cooperation mechanisms including the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation “in jointly addressing public health risks.”