EBRD Touts Kazakhstan’s Reforms Amid Global Challenges

ASTANA — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Director for Kazakhstan Huseyin Ozhan shared an insightful perspective on the country’s journey of reform and growth in a recent interview with The Astana Times. 

Photo credit: thenewsonline.net.

Reflecting on his observations, Ozhan, who has been in Kazakhstan since September 2021, highlights the significant strides Kazakhstan has made, especially in the wake of the January 2022 tumultuous events.

“On a personal level, how I perceive the development of Kazakhstan is I can see the vibrancy and the change, especially after the January events of 2022,” he said, emphasizing the nation’s dynamic response to adversity. 

EBRD, a major supporter of sustainable development and investment in the region, views these developments as a reflection of Kazakhstan’s commitment to progress. 

Hüseyin Özhan has been serving as EBRD Director for Kazakhstan since September 2021. Photo credit: The Astana Times

“There is this movement, definitely, towards further development. [There is] a challenging setting in the world, we all know, but it is very good to experience that Kazakhstan is overcoming these challenges,” he added.

A series of comprehensive reforms and initiatives have driven Kazakhstan’s determination to reform in many areas, specifically political and economic.

“We are seeing a number of programs on the education side, a number of programs on the decarbonization side, and something that is a bit more dear to my heart is the public-private partnerships,” said Ozhan. 

He mentioned the recent initial public offering undertaken by Kazakhstan’s Air Astana airline, which raised $370 million. Local investors received 58% of the offering.

“To increase the impact, we would like to see further development of the financial sector,” he said.

He mentioned President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s directive to accelerate banking sector development, given at the Feb. 7 expanded government meeting.  

“I was very happy when I was listening to President Tokayev. He mentioned specifically to have a more active banking sector. This is exactly what we want to support. We are working now to add two more banks to the number of financial institutions that we work with,” said Ozhan. 

According to him, Kazakhstan also has a vibrant youth, and the bank has spearheaded several programs to support their development, including entrepreneurial skills via Star Ventures and Youth in Business initiatives. 

“We also have a program called Star Ventures, where we select a cohort of startup companies. It is a one and a half year program where we work with them on furthering their businesses. There is quite a lot of demand,” said Ozhan.

EBRD has been instrumental in supporting Kazakhstan’s sustainable development. In more than 30 years of partnership, EBRD has invested more than $10 billion across nearly 320 projects and the bank’s active portfolio includes around 120 projects across diverse areas.

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