Articles by Michelle Witte

EBRD Loans $103 Million to Upgrade Almaty-Astana Highway

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has extended a $103 million loan to support upgrades to a stretch of the highway that connects Kazakhstan’s capital with its largest city, the bank announced in a Feb. 18 press release. The loan, to national road operator Kazavtozhol, is to be used to widen and upgrade the…

Canada, Central Asian States Discuss Major Challenges to Security Governance in Astana

ASTANA – Discussions at the final roundtable of the inaugural Central Asia Security Innovation Conference at the Library of the First President in Astana Dec. 9 highlighted the importance of preparedness, communication and cooperation in dealing with security and other issues, with speakers placing particular emphasis on the need for more conversation between Central Asian…

Kazakh Skaters Take Gold, Silver at Golden Spin Tournament

ASTANA – Kazakh figure skater and Sochi Olympics bronze medallist Denis Ten won the men’s singles competition in the Golden Spin of Zagreb international tournament, held in Croatia from Dec. 2 – 5. Ten took gold with 276.39 points. American skater Adam Rippon came in second with 237.87 points and Russian skater Adian Pitkeev third…

New Partnership Agreement Reflects More Equal, Mature Relationship Between Kazakhstan, EU, Ambassador Says

ASTANA – The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) negotiated between Kazakhstan and the European Union last year and due to be formally signed in Astana Dec. 21 reflects the growth both parties have experienced, EU Delegation Ambassador to Kazakhstan Traian Hristea says. “The EPCA reflects the changes that have happened both in Kazakhstan and…

Astana Times Celebrates Five Years Informing Nation, Expats and Visitors

ASTANA – The Astana Times passed its five year anniversary Nov. 30, celebrating its transition from a one-time digest to a monthly printed paper and now to its current incarnation as a biweekly print edition and one of the most-visited English-language websites about Kazakhstan. The idea of the paper was born in the weeks leading…

Kazakh President Urges Russia and Turkey to Move Toward Reconciliation

ASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took a few moments in his state of the nation speech Nov. 30 to address the tensions between Russia and Turkey following Turkey’s downing of a Russian plane near the Syrian-Turkish border. Nazarbayev called for restraint on both sides, but also clearly stated Kazakhstan’s position that the plane…

Following Visit to Kazakhstan, IMF Mission Praises Short-term Counter-Crisis Measures, Calls for Stronger Medium-Term Plan

ASTANA – The Concluding Statement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visit to Kazakhstan from Nov. 12–17 found the macroeconomic landscape of the region still “challenging” but praised efforts by the government and National Bank to manage the crisis at the moment, while calling for more work on creating a sustainable medium-term plan and on…

President Signs Social Insurance Law, Other Legislation Supporting Plan of the Nation

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed a law on social health insurance as well as bills supporting Kazakhstan’s Plan of the Nation, the series of 100 steps intended to implement its major five institutional reforms programme, over the past week. The legislation includes amendments or new laws on social insurance, public services, industrial policy,…

Newly Signed Labour Code Reduces Gov’t Interference in Employer-Employee Relations

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed on Nov. 23 Kazakhstan’s new Labour Code, which gives employers more autonomy in determining wages, work contracts and transfers, among other changes. The Labour Code, which was developed to support Kazakhstan’s major five institutional reforms programme, defines the boundaries of state intervention in employer-employee relationships and distributes responsibilities between…

East Kazakhstan, Chinese Businesses Ink Agreements Worth $1.7 Billion

ASTANA – Businesses from East Kazakhstan and China signed seven business agreements worth $1.7 billion during a mid-November working trip by a delegation from the East Kazakhstan region to Xinjiang. Leaders of the two regions also signed an agreement on trade, technical, humanitarian and cultural cooperation, Altai News reported Nov. 16. The agreements pertain to…