ASTANA – The Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan organized a roundtable on Jan. 11 that gathered Kazakh experts to discuss President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s recent interview with the Egemen Qazaqstan newspaper. The discussion delved into key aspects of the interview, shedding light on the President’s viewpoints and policies.
The Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan unites over 3,000 non-profit organizations throughout the country.
Throughout the roundtable, experts echoed the importance of civic engagement and public participation. Talgat Kaliyev, director of the Institute for Applied Ethnopolitical Research, said the President lays out the vision for a progressive nation and civil identity.
“The role of civil society is very important in creating civic identity. (…) Civil identity is realized daily, when we follow laws, observe legal order, and pay with national currency. It is critically important for our civil society to involve representatives of all ethnic groups.”
Experts agree that it is imperative for citizens to participate in decision-making.
Kazakh lawyer Serik Berkamalov pointed out that while all reforms sound good on paper, they are poorly implemented. He observed that real action occurs only after the President “pounds the table.” “It seems sometimes that only the President does the real work,” he said.
Economists in the roundtable scrutinized President Tokayev’s economic vision, particularly his plans for doubling the national economy to $450 billion by 2029.
Kairbek Arystanbekov, president of the Institute of Economic Policy, said this goal is not new. It was outlined three years ago, he noted. He also emphasized that developed countries are those who have political freedom, and economic freedom.
The roundtable also featured discussions on social policies outlined in the interview. President Tokayev spoke about the efforts to build more schools and medical facilities. He also mentioned the new Social Code, which provides comprehensive support for vulnerable groups of citizens.
While the President’’s acknowledgment of the importance of social programs is a positive step, there is a need for a comprehensive approach to address societal challenges, ensuring inclusivity and equitable access to opportunities.
Tolganai Umbetaliyeva, who heads the Central Asian Democracy Development Fund, stressed the need for Kazakhstan to focus on creating conditions for all groups regardless of their status, income and location.
“We should think of people with lower incomes so that they are able to study in elite universities, and receive quality medicine because quality medicine is expensive and some people can’t access it,” she said.