Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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Best practice procurement forum underway in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on May 24, 2016 by KazCham

Public Finance International

Procurement specialists have gathered in Kazakhstan this week to share best practice on how to ensure integrity and transparency in public procurement.

The 12th Procurement, Integrity, Management and Openness (PRIMO) Forum, backed by the World Bank and others, draws professionals from 24 countries across Europe and Central Asia to discuss reforms and promote cross-regional cooperation and good governance.

Cyril Muller, World Bank vice president for Europe, said after the first PRIMO Forum took place over a decade ago, the forum had reached a level of “network maturity”.

“[This] provides an opportunity to all key public procurement stakeholders to freely exchange their knowledge, experiences and ideas to foster efficient and sustained regional and global cooperation in public procurement.”

This year, the forum will focus on professionalising the procurement function, which is not considered a specific profession in many of the participating countries.

The bank said this will play a critical role in helping governments to sustain the reform and modernisation of procurement systems.

Previous forums have focused on technological developments such as centralised purchasing of common-use goods and services or electronic procurement, transparency and integrity, and measuring performance.

At the conclusion of the three-day forum, each country will share an action plan to improve procurement over the following year, which will be monitored by governments, international financial institutions and other procurement experts.

The forum is co-sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, and also supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development among others.

Kazakhstan was chosen to host the summit this year based on fundamental improvements the government has made to the procurement process in recent years.

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Kazakhstan: from the center of the nuclear threat to a center for security and safety 0

Posted on May 23, 2016 by KazCham

EU Today

In the golden years of detente that followed the breakup of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, humanity aspired towards the total denuclearisation of the planet. But events were to take a different turn, and today we can say with regret that the drive towards disarmament is largely over, due to the actions of both NATO and Russia.

Now we have sufficient nuclear weapons to destroy the entire planet, several times over. A single warhead is capable of destroying a million-strong city in a matter of moments – Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) – to use Cold War parlance.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is no longer fulfilling its purpose.

Nuclear weapons, along with the technology and expertise required to produce them, have spread all over the world, largely due to double standards of the main powers. It may be just a matter of time before they fall into the hands of terrorists, a real fear that is understood by all. This is why the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last month gathered leaders of nearly fifty countries of the world.

First to take the floor and address the Summit was President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.

During the last 25 years, Astana has taken a lead in this issue, and has demonstrated real commitment towards disarmament, and the restoration of the non-proliferation process. The country has, historically, held nuclear weapons. Indeed, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan inherited the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Although the country possessed the experts, and all the necessary infrastructure for the realisation of a nuclear weapons program, Kazakhstan voluntarily refused to do so.

Read full article at EU Today

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China and Kazakhstan sign $2 billion in deals 0

Posted on May 22, 2016 by KazCham

Colibri Law Firm BI@colibrilaw.com

China and Kazakhstan have signed five energy, agricultural, and industrial deals worth more than $2 billion during the Xinjiang party boss’s trip to Kazakhstan.

Xinjiang, which is strategically located on the borders of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, is a key part of China’s “one belt, one road” strategy to develop trade and transport links across Asia and beyond.

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Astana Economic Forum 2016 0

Posted on May 22, 2016 by KazCham

forum-astana.org

The Astana Economic Forum is an annual event held in Astana, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which brings together representatives from the world’s economic community, current and former heads of states, Nobel Prize laureates, outstanding figures from the scientific world, and businessmen.

The Forum is best known as a platform for international dialogue that enables constructive discussion of economic development issues concerning both Central Asia and the entire world in relation to changes witnessed in the global economy.

The AEF and its activities are distinguished by the active participation of government and business figures from more than 80 countries. As the world economy undergoes a number of changes, the AEF serves as a platform where these figures consider the major global challenges of the day and brainstorm on solutions to address such challenges.

In the framework of forums held in the past, world leaders have expressed their views and offered practical propositions concerning economic strengthening, not only for Central Asia and the post-Soviet space, but also for the world.

Through eight years, numerous business and government leaders have tackled such themes as “Modern Aspects of Economic Development under the Conditions of Globalization”, “Economic Security of Eurasia in the System of Global Risks”, “Ensuring Sustainable Economic Growth in Post-Crisis Period”, “New decade: Challenges and Perspectives”, “Global Economic Transformation: Challenges and Perspectives of Development”, “Ensuring Balanced Economic Growth in the G-GLOBAL Format”, “Risk management in the era of changes in the format of G-Global” and “Infrastructure: Driver of Sustainable Economic Growth”.

This year, AEF participants make their way to Astana to address the challenges concerning “The New Economic Reality: Diversification, Innovation and Knowledge Economy.”

The event will take place on May 25-26, 2016 in Astana and will be live tweeted using the hashtag #aef2016

 

Astana Economic Forum to Generate Insights into Reinvigorating Economic Growth

Astana Times

The global economy has taken a distinct turn for the worse since politicians, experts and the media gathered for the last Astana Economic Forum in 2015. The collapse in oil and commodity prices, the slowdown in China and the continuing problems in many other parts of the world have hit growth and reduced confidence.

Kazakhstan, as a large producer of oil and a major trading partner of China and Russia, which is in recession, has felt the full impact of these global forces. Without early and determined action, including the decision to float the tenge, the long-term damage to the country’s progress and prosperity could have been much worse.

It is always dangerous to tempt fate and there are many challenges to overcome. But with oil prices beginning to show signs of a slight recovery and the anti-crisis measures beginning to have an effect, it may be that the path ahead may be less difficult.

The events of the last 12 months and the continued turbulence and concern formed the backdrop for this year’s Astana Economic Forum on May 25-26. With discussions around the theme of “New Economic Reality: Diversification, Innovations and Economics of Knowledge,” it has again attracted a cast list of global leaders, CEOs, Nobel laureates and renowned economic experts. Each year, the forum grows in importance as an influential platform for dialogue in the Eurasian region.

The Astana Economic Forum will serve as a useful platform not only to discuss the progress made so far but identify the further steps needed to ensure Kazakhstan returns to high economic growth. Given the complexity of our world, it is unlikely that the participants of the forum will have all the answers to every problem. But the expert discussions will help generate new insights and options which explains the success and attractions of the forum for all who attend.

Read more at Astana Times

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China to invest $1.9 billion in Kazakh food industry 0

Posted on May 20, 2016 by KazCham

Colibri Law Firm BI@colibrilaw.com

Chinese companies are in talks to invest $1.9 billion in upgrading the Kazakh food processing industry.

Kazakhstan’s deputy agriculture minister, Gulmira Isayeva, told the Financial Times in an interview, “We have great interest from Chinese companies to invest in our Kazakh agricultural production system… We can export to China all products which we can grow in Kazakhstan.”

The projects are part of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” launched in 2013 to promote trade with central and southern Asian countries.

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Increase in China-Europe container shipping via Kazakhstan 0

Posted on May 19, 2016 by KazCham

Colibri Law Firm BI@colibrilaw.com

Kazakhstan Railways has announced that the volume of transit container shipping on the China-Europe-China route running through Kazakhstan increased by 205% in January-April, 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.

Cargo shipping between Europe-China through Kazakhstan significantly reduces transportation times compared to the equivalent journey by sea or through Russia.

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Blue Water Shipping-led JV secures $350-million deal from Tengizchevroil 0

Posted on May 18, 2016 by KazCham

The steamship agency Blue Water Shipping reported on Wednesday that a consortium led by the company has been awarded a $350 million contract by Kazakhstan’s Tengizchevroil (TCO), signing a contract to build and operate 15 specially designed vessels for an oil project in Kazakhstan.

Blue Water Shipping’s track record for handling projects in the Caspian Region was a key aspect in their securing the contract. Among other things, the company will be responsible for the project management of the project’s 15 MCVs (Module Carrying Vessels), which are to be built by Vard Shipyard Group and operated by Topaz Energy and Marine.

The vessels are due to transport up to 1,800 tonnes of modules and cargo through the Russian river systems to the Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan.

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Kazakhstan’s experience can help promote greater understanding at UN Security Council, by Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan 0

Posted on May 16, 2016 by KazCham

Financial Times blogs

As a strategically vital trade hub and home to nearly 70m people, Central Asia has for too long lacked representation at the top table of global politics.

To date, no Central Asian country has sat on the UN Security Council. This is despite the increasing prominence of the area, not just as a geopolitical player, but as an emerging power with its own unique identity, relationships and above all experiences. This June will see the decision of the UN General Assembly on five non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. We hope that Kazakhstan will be given the honour of being one of these new members.

As we approach the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence this year, we can feel proud of the remarkable progress our country has made. Impressive economic growth since our independence, harmonious culture that includes more than 100 ethnic groups and 17 religions, as well as a welcoming attitude to new friends and opportunities, have led us to the position where we are ready to assume new responsibilities as part of the global community.

Our position, both physical and symbolic, as the bridge between West and East, Europe and Asia, has given us a unique perspective on diffusing tensions and building relations that we feel would greatly benefit all states looking for peace and prosperity.

This perspective has led to the development of our consistent and multi-vector foreign policy, focusing on developing relations with all countries and international organizations. We have demonstrated this by acting as a mediator on complex international issues and facilitating dialogue between opposing states.

In major international crises in Ukraine and Iran we have been proud to contribute towards peaceful conclusions. In 2014 and early 2015, President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a series of talks with the international parties involved in the Ukrainian crisis and assisted significantly with the convening and eventual success of the two Minsk summits in August 2014 and February 2015.

Kazakhstan also played an important role in the success of the Iranian nuclear deal by hosting two rounds of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries in 2013, as well as directly participating in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

As the conflict in Syria continues to impact the stability of the region, we provided a platform for the two rounds of Syrian opposition talks in May and October 2015 and will continue to support the case for peace.

We have also shown our capability to take a leading role in strengthening international security as evidenced by President Nazarbayev’s continued work in addressing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. In 2015, the Government of Kazakhstan signed a host country agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish a low-enriched uranium bank in the country to provide the world with a guaranteed supply of the fuel for civic nuclear energy, thus making an important contribution to strengthening the non-proliferation regime.

With over 25 years of commitment to diffusing conflict – from being the first country to unilaterally give up its nuclear stockpile, to the recent launch of the Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century” by President Nazarbayev calling for global action to reduce the threat of war – Kazakhstan’s experience will be invaluable as inter-state tensions rise.

Respect and tolerance between the rich array of religions and cultures in Kazakhstan is an attitude that underpins our whole society as well as our firm belief in religious reconciliation. Through tangible action as part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, we have worked to prevent divisions and enhance co-operation between different strands of Islam. The development of the Islamic Organization for Food Security in Kazakhstan and commitment to economic cooperation has helped create jobs, stability and prosperity while addressing some of the symptoms of extremism.

We are also a young democracy. It goes without saying that the hard lessons we have learned over the past 25 years as we move to a full democratic system are fresh in our minds. Kazakhstan knows too well the balance that is required to facilitate the wholesale change in society while keeping fundamental values and traditions enshrined. In our short history we have transitioned from a recipient of aid to a donor, providing over $100m in assistance to our neighbours in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, and other UN member states.

We now work on institutionalising efforts in this direction by launching a national official development assistance agency KazAID. Our experience in this endeavour will be invaluable to other countries looking to do the same. We have also worked to assist our friends further away, helping countries in Africa build up their institutional capacities and fight Ebola, assisting countries in the Pacific in developing sustainable energy solutions, and helping nations in the Caribbean better prepare for natural disasters.

Central Asia has faced numerous challenges over the past half century, yet it is the unique experiences and perspectives gained from overcoming these issues that defines the value our inclusion as a non-permanent member would provide. The UN was founded on the principles of inclusion and fairness, on welcoming new voices and encouraging participation. In this respect, as well as the many others that we have laid out before, Kazakhstan is ready to take up its responsibilities. We therefore look forward with hope to an increased cooperation and support from the UN member states.

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CASA-1000 to be inaugurated in May 0

Posted on May 02, 2016 by KazCham

The Central Asia-South Asia electricity transmission project (CASA-1000) will be inaugurated on 12 May by top officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The project is supported by the World Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank, US Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for International Development (DFID), and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

The inauguration ceremony will be attended by high-level government officials from the four participating countries and representatives of the donor countries and organisations.

CASA-1000 will provide a new electricity transmission system to connect all four countries involved. It will help them to make the most efficient use of Central Asia’s hydropower resources by enabling the countries to transfer and sell their electricity surplus during the summer months to the energy-deficient countries of South Asia.

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Kazakhstan at the NSS2016: Nuclear Security Summits should continue 0

Posted on April 11, 2016 by KazCham

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Although four nuclear security summits held at the U.S. President Barack Obama’s initiative since 2010 have produced remarkable legacy in strengthening the security of dangerous materials around the world, much more remains to be done to make the mankind safer in the face of a threat of nuclear apocalypse, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on April 1, 2016 at NSS in Washington, DC.

THE HILL

As national leaders completed their fourth Nuclear Security Summit, we can reflect on what has been accomplished. Three previous meetings have produced a new level of cooperation between nations to account for and control the circulation of dangerous nuclear materials. President Barack Obama’s leadership in calling for these summits has made real and lasting contributions to the cause of nuclear security.

As the summits conclude, however, the international community should recognize that nuclear risks are growing, not receding. The increasing sophistication of trans-national terror organizations and emerging regional conflicts pose new challenges that must be considered.

Ending the nuclear threat will be the work of generations. Ultimately, nations must adopt a new model of security; one that replaces the idea that nuclear weapons guarantee security with a more permanent system of mutual cooperation at the regional and global level.

A new path for nuclear security is not unrealistic. Indeed, recent history offers a guide. It is fitting, therefore, that we will meet in Washington twenty-five years after the creation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This effort, authored by Senator Sam Nunn and Senator Richard Lugar, has produced results that few thought possible in 1991.

The security cooperation undertaken in these last twenty-five years demonstrates what can be achieved when the threat is clearly recognized. Kazakhstan has first-hand knowledge of this. The higher purpose of securing dispersed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons allowed former adversaries to think anew about security.

Consider the experience of Kazakhstan. As a newly independent nation in 1991, in an unstable region, we inherited the world’s fourth largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. But Kazakhstan’s history as a testing ground for Soviet nuclear weapons, where 500 nuclear weapon tests exposed more than one and a half million citizens and contaminated large areas of our country, led us to a different conclusion about security.

With the support of the people of Kazakhstan, we closed Soviet-era nuclear testing facilities at Semipalatinsk and shortly thereafter renounced all nuclear weapons on our soil by transferring them to the Russian Federation.

Working under the U.S. Nunn-Lugar program, we secured and transferred large quantities of weapons-grade uranium out of Kazakhstan to Russia and further to the United States for secure disposal. Sites relating to biological weapons were also eliminated.

Eliminating stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials has made our region safer and more stable . But lasting security will only be achieved through structures that offer mutual security to all parties.

In Central Asia, this began with implementation of confidence building measures. Over time, this cooperation developed into the declaration of Central Asia as a nuclear weapons free zone. All of Kazakhstan’s neighbors have now joined us in rejecting nuclear weapons and the region is more stable as a result. The link between nuclear weapons and national security has been cut in Central Asia.

Our experience has permitted a broader dialogue on nuclear weapons. Our unique history allowed Kazakhstan to facilitate the initial discussions between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, in search of a nuclear agreement, which included hosting two rounds of intense talks on the issue in Almaty back in 2013. Recently, a transfer of 60 tonnes of Kazakhstan’s natural uranium to Iran allowed Russia to receive enriched uranium from Iran as part of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. On this difficult issue, engagement has worked.

The agreement recognizes the sovereign right of all countries to develop nuclear power. At the same time, the cause of concern – uranium enrichment that could produce weapons – must be contained. For this reason, the International Atomic Energy Agency has established the world’s first Low Enriched Uranium Bank under international control in Kazakhstan. The bank will ensure a secure supply of low enriched uranium to any country, thereby eliminating the need for costly and destabilizing enrichment facilities.

Since the last summit two years ago in The Hague, we have also converted a research reactor in Almaty to use low-enriched uranium as a fuel. This step goes in line with our strong and sincere commitment to increase safety procedures in using nuclear technology for a peaceful purpose.

The international community must now consider the path forward after the Nuclear Security Summits. What structures can be created to solve the long-term problem?

Last September, I called on the United Nations General Assembly to set a clear goal to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2045, the centenary of the founding of the UN. The UN has responded by approving the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World.

Reaching this goal will require work by those who support us. But we must advance with each small step.

Start by banning all nuclear testing. The United Nations has declared August 29, the date of the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site, as the International Day against Nuclear Testing. The ATOM (Abolish Testing. Our Mission) Project that we initiated seeks to tell the world of consequences of nuclear weapons testing and calls for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). People in more than 100 countries have already supported the project’s calls. Eight countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Israel, North Korea and the United States must sign or ratify the CTBT, signed by 183 and ratified by 164 nations, for progress to be made. As co-chair of the CTBT Review Conference, along with Japan, Kazakhstan intends to work hard to achieve that progress and I call on all states, especially those on whose signature and ratification the CTBT entry into force depends, to show wisdom and responsibility and do the needed.

The test ban will not be a solution in itself. But putting it in force is one more step toward the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons in our world.

 

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