Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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Digital Kazakhstan: The Central Asian Tiger Leaps Ahead 0

Posted on February 28, 2017 by KazCham
Digital Kazakhstan: The Central Asian Tiger Leaps Ahead

February 16th, 2017. \\ World. \\ Tags: Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan, in response to deteriorating world commodity prices, has launched a new technological revolution. The Central Asian economic dynamo intends to drive the fourth industrial revolution: Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, exchange of “big data” and other technological leaps will become a main feature of the Central Asian country’s push.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in his 2017 address to the Nation, proposed a comprehensive plan to deliver the next stage of the country’s economic modernisation, his aim being to set Kazakhstan firmly on track to join the elite club of the most developed countries.

“Only those nations that are capable of determining their future and decisively facing their challenges, instead of just standing and waiting, will be the eventual winners,” was the key message of Nazarbayev’s address.

Kazakhstan has surpassed its initial quarter century development plans and then some. In just 25 years, the journey from the ruins of the Soviet Union to an economic powerhouse has been all but achieved.

Kazakhstan has completed the transition from a planned economy to a market oriented one. Through careful political and economic management, the authorities have successfully kept the country from the turmoil, civil war and economic collapse that unfortunately afflicted many other post-Soviet states. Kazakhstan has come out of this period with minimal losses and maximum advantages.

Since 1991 the authorities have carried out two modernisations of the economy. But now the situation is changing rapidly. The world has stepped up to a new global reality – the world has become faster.

“Now we need to boldly step forward and begin the Third Modernisation,” the Kazakhstani leader has stated.

“I see our main priorities as being to ensure a level of economic growth above the world’s average indicators, and to achieve a level of sustainable development at least equal to the 30 most advanced countries,” he added.

Kazakhstan is planning to launch the program “Digital Kazakhstan”, which will contribute to the development of communications and ensure universal access to fibre-optic infrastructure.

In order to be the first to introduce new technologies in the field of IT, Kazakhstan intends to open its own “Silicon Valley” – an International Technological Park for IT-start-ups.

This will become a platform for attracting entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. This requires appropriate infrastructure and a favourable environment, including tax incentives, simplified visa and labour regimes,” the President announced.

To solve this ambitious goal Kazakhstan needs to nurture the necessary talent. Therefore, number one priority is to invest heavily to improving the quality of human capital.

“The role of the education system must change. Our task is to make education central to the new model of economic growth. Training programs should be focused on the development of critical thinking abilities and the skills of independent thought,” says Nazarbayev.

In Astana, it has long been understood that the language of new technologies today is English, so the country plans to introduce the language of Shakespeare into schools as a compulsory subject.

“Starting from 2019, teaching in a number of subjects in the 10th to 11th grades will be conducted in English” the President stated.

Another innovation to help achieve this goal is “Free vocational education for all” which has already started this year. Furthermore, special attention will be paid to the quality of the higher education system.

“Free education should cover unemployed and self-employed young people and people of working age who do not have a professional education. It is now necessary to give impetus to the development of a professional education system for the training of qualified specialists within the market economy,” said Nazarbayev.

A new high-tech economy requires an appropriately trained workforce, and through substantial investment in education Kazakhstan is creating a reservoir of future talent.

Alongside the drive towards economic and technological progress also comes a commitment to social obligations.

Pensions and welfare security in Kazakhstan will increase – Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasised this in his address to the Nation.

Kazakhstan has chosen the right moment for this economic transformation. Oil prices are rising, and are higher than that which was budgeted for by Kazakhstan. Whilst the country still receives dividends from the export of raw materials, it is preparing for the moment when this period draws to a close.

Nursultan Nazarbayev paid great attention to the development of agriculture. The agrarian sector should become the new driver of the economy, and the country should become Eurasia’s “bread basket”.

It is hard to fault that ambition, because Kazakhstan has significant potential in its increasing agricultural production – in terms of acreage, the sector is the 9th largest in the world – and is now attracting foreign investment.

“Kazakhstan’s agro-industries have a promising future. We can be one of the world’s largest producers of many agricultural export products, most notably of organic food. The ‘Made in Kazakhstan’ brand should become the benchmark for these organic food products,” Nazarbayev stated proudly.

Within five years Kazakhstan intends to create the conditions required to integrate more than 500,000 households and small farms within community-based agricultural initiatives, and at the same time to increase the area of irrigated land by a massive 40% to two million hectares.

And this is just the beginning. By 2025 the country plans not only to implement digital technologies in all spheres of activity, as well as to reform the agricultural sector, but also to develop logistics, and to increase the transit of goods through its territory 7 fold, and to support SMEs and improve the banking sector.

Kazakhstan is creating its own unique model of economic growth, and it is working. The next phase of modernization shows promise of success, and the country is catching up with the most advanced countries of the world.

It is time for the G20 nations to start looking over their shoulders!

 

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ASTANA EXPO 2017: 118 DAYS LEFT 0

Posted on February 28, 2017 by KazCham

International Projects at UW-Madison

Are you an outgoing person who enjoys interacting with diverse groups of people? Do you want to learn more about Central Asia and enhance your language skills in a native environment? Then embrace this opportunity of a lifetime—join the team of Student Ambassadors for the USA Pavilion at the Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan!

Kazakhstan will host Astana Expo 2017 from 10 June through 10 September 2017—this year’s largest global gathering of key leaders from the business community, high ranking government officials, and cultural and educational representatives. Over 100 countries and international organizations will participate in the Expo and an estimated two million visitors are expected. The theme of the Expo 2017 is “Future Energy” with a focus on green technologies, sustainable development and energy for all. Featuring the theme of the Source of Infinite Energy, the USA Pavilion shares the partnerships, triumphs and dreams of the American people and seeks to inspire all visitors with the key message: “The Energy in Each of Us Together Empowers the World”. The USA Pavilion illustrates the American belief that an innovator is anyone with vision and a change-maker is anyone with a dream and the determination to follow it through.

USA Pavilion Student Ambassadors proudly represent America’s great diversity and play an instrumental role in forging people-to-people ties and bolstering America’s image in Kazakhstan and Eurasia. Student Ambassadors are young people who will form a team to support the USA Pavilion during the three month Exposition. They will interact with visitors, sponsors, government officials and dignitaries. Eurasia Foundation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the American Councils for International Education are partnering to facilitate the Student Ambassadorship program for Expo 2017.

Student Ambassadors will receive two Study Abroad credits (fully-paid) through Bryn Mawr College, free housing, a monthly stipend, round-trip airfare to and from their current place of residency, and a unique opportunity to represent the USA at this international event. For more details, see the position description.

In total, approximately 40 Student Ambassadors (undergraduate, graduate students or even recent graduates from spring 2015), will be selected from United States colleges, universities and other academic, educational or diplomatic programs. US citizens or US permanent residents currently participating in an international education or diplomacy-related program abroad are also eligible. Familiarity with Russian and/or Kazakh is required.

Please submit your application for the Student Ambassador Program by 15 March 2017 (11:59 pm PST). Note: Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis, with qualified candidates being selected as early as February 28. Please see the Application Phases for more information about the application process.

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Construction of International IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank Underway 0

Posted on February 22, 2017 by KazCham

NTI

The world’s first international low enriched uranium (LEU) bank is taking shape on a snowy landscape in the northeast Kazakhstan city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. The remote region is known for its large mining and metals industry, and the new LEU bank is being built on the grounds of the Ulba Metallurgic Plant (UMP), one of the world’s largest producers of fuel for nuclear power plants.

The LEU bank, which is expected to be ready for operation by September, will provide countries with an assured LEU supply for peaceful purposes in case of market supply disruptions. In addition, it will provide a resource countries can use instead of developing their own enrichment capacity, which would increase the risk of proliferation of potentially dangerous nuclear material and technology.

NTI and NTI advisor Warren Buffett were catalysts of the LEU bank in 2006. That was when Mr. Buffett committed $50 million to the project, contingent upon the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) receiving an additional $100 million in funding, a condition that was met in 2009. Construction of the new LEU bank facility began in August 2016.

“It’s exciting to see the construction underway,” said Andrew Bieniawski, NTI Vice President for Material Security and Minimization. “We look forward to completion of the project and commend the continued efforts of the IAEA and the Government of Kazakhstan to establish the international LEU bank.”

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Erzhan Kazykhanov, the new Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the U.S. 0

Posted on February 20, 2017 by KazCham
H.E. Erzhan Kazykhanov was appointed as the next Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Kazykhanov served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Ambassador Kazykhanov has also served in a number of high ranking posts as the Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Austria, and Cuba (non-resident), Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the International Organizations in Vienna, and to the United Nations.

He is the author of numerous articles on Kazakhstan’s multi-vectored foreign policy, economic diplomacy and the role of the United Nations.

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Kazakhstan Secures Place on World Stage After Quarter-Century of Independence 0

Posted on February 18, 2017 by KazCham

Edge.kz

In the 25 years since Kazakhstan declared its independence, the Central Asian nation has transformed itself from a fledgling nation unsure of its place in the world to a modern player on the global stage.

The transformation wasn’t easy and the future is always uncertain, but Kazakhstan’s leaders and outside geopolitical experts are confident that even brighter days await the peaceful nation.

At a recent forum in Washington celebrating the quarter-century milestone of independence, members of Congress and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, Kazakh Foreign Ministry officials and others sat down for a daylong discussion.

The group highlighted the building blocks of Kazakhstan’s success. Among them a robust energy sector, widespread religious tolerance, a central and advantageous geographic location and not least, its critical geopolitical decision at the dawn of its independence to relinquish some 1,400 nuclear strategic and tactical warheads remaining from the Soviet-era.

The speakers also explored the possibilities inherent in Kazakhstan’s future. And all agreed the future looks promising.

Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican congressman from Alabama and the co-chairman of the Friends of Kazakhstan caucus, saluted the country for building “a modern republic of peace and prosperity.” He said the U.S. views the Central Asian nation as an important ally in the region.

“The United States values the unique relationship that we have with the Republic of Kazakhstan,” Aderholt said. “The strategic partnership dialogue between our countries is a productive platform for important issues such as countering terrorism and violent extremism, [as well as] trade, energy, innovation, good government, human rights, democracy building and regional stability.”

Read full article at Edge.kz

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Daniel Witt, President of International Tax and Investment Center in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on February 15, 2017 by KazCham

The reforms announced by President Nazarbayev on 25 January are significant constitutional reforms. I believe they represent another step forward in a modernization of democracy in Kazakhstan and really they modernize the structure in the system of your Constitution, of your Government, of the contract between the President, and the Government, and the Parliament, and the People. And all of this reflex that Kazakhstan is a different country today than 10 years ago or 25 years ago when you became newly independent.

Sitting here in Washington, DC President Trump talks about Making America Great Again, and I think President Nazarbayev through this set of reforms and the Third Modernization’s set of reforms will continue to make Kazakhstan Great again and forever. 

Source: 24Khabar

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5 Priorities for Continued Modernization in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on February 13, 2017 by KazCham

President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave his annual address of the Nation on January 31, 2017. In his remarks the President termed the new, third stage of country’s modernization driven by five priorities to ensure economic growth and bring Kazakhstan closer to its  goal of being one of the top 30 most-developed countries.

Watch the video by the Embassy of Kazakhstan to learnmore about the 5 prioritires.

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Chart: High-Tech Exports Gaining Ground in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on January 24, 2017 by KazCham

The World Bank

The percentage of high-tech exports (as a share of manufactured exports) from Kazakhstan have grown from just 4.46% in 1995 to 37.17% in 2014.

Over the past two decades, high-tech exports from Kazakhstan have been increasing steadily. The World Bank Group has been working since 2008 with the Kazakh Government and scientist groups to further expand the country’s high-tech exports in a number of sectors. Through the Technology Commercialization Project, 65 new startups received grant funding and business training to get their innovations out of the lab and into markets. The startups operate in a wide variety of industries including agriculture, health, medicine, gas, oil and robotics. Already 40 of these businesses have reached first sales.

Find out more about the project and how it energized innovation in Kazakhstan.

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Kazakhstan Provides Additional Humanitarian Aid to Syria 0

Posted on January 20, 2017 by KazCham

Astana Times

Kazakhstan sent about 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid on Jan. 6 to the people of Syria in the form of food, including flour, canned meat, rice, pasta and tea.

Russian Ministry of Defense rendered its assistance in delivering the aid, which was brought by Kuznetsov dry-cargo ship to Tartus Port Jan. 5. The unloading and handover of the cargo to Syrian authorities began Jan. 6. Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Jordan Azamat Berdybai handed the humanitarian aid to the Syrian side in the person of President of the Provincial Council of Tartus Yasser Dibba.

The Higher Relief Commission of the Syrian Arab Republic will oversee the distribution of the Kazakh aid.

“Although the international community takes all required efforts, the humanitarian situation in the country remains catastrophic. In this regard, President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a decision to send humanitarian aid, namely food, to Syria. The 500 tonnes of cargo delivered in 33 containers include primarily food and medications and are meant for the Syrian people suffering the consequences of the six-year-long war. Kazakhstan backs the measures launched by the international community and the actions of the Syrian authorities and the opposition aimed at speedy ceasefire and determining the political future of Syria by means of dialogue and reconciliation,” Berdybai said at a meeting with the Syrian delegation.

Read more

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US-Kazakh Relations to Grow Despite Many Changes in 2017, Says US Ambassador 0

Posted on January 18, 2017 by KazCham

Astana Times

The United States, one of the top foreign investors in Kazakhstan, is about to witness Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, as the 45th and probably one of its most controversial Presidents. Will policies under the new administration affect U.S.-Kazakh relations?

The Astana Times interviewed the current U.S. Ambassador in Astana, George Krol, in search of answers.

Numerous U.S. companies have invested more than $26 billion in Kazakhstan, making the country one of the top foreign investors, primarily in natural resources, manufacturing, and services, said Krol. Last year the trade turnover between the two nations totalled $1.4 billion, with more than 400 U.S.-Kazakh joint ventures created throughout the years. The U.S. also aided Kazakhstan during its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Kazakhstan began Jan. 1 as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which Krol called an historic happening in the life of the independent, 25-year-old country.

“We are so pleased to begin working with Kazakhstan on the United Nations Security Council.  Kazakhstan’s membership on the Security Council is a historic opportunity and testament to the success of pragmatic ‘multi-vector’ foreign policy,” he said. “Over the past quarter century, we have worked together for the benefit of the peace, security and prosperity of our two peoples and the world and I am confident Kazakhstan’s tenure on the Security Council will be a productive one.”

The ambassador highlighted the country’s competitive edge in numerous sectors and spheres, such as the food industry, petro chemistry, metallurgy and agriculture.

“As an example, we are cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture and grain producers to increase production of nutritionally fortified wheat. With U.S. investment and technology, crops from Kazakhstan could significantly improve the nutrition and health of people throughout Central Asia. We are also closely cooperating with the animal husbandry sector. Over 8,000 American cows and bulls have been imported into Kazakhstan to improve local stock,” he said.

Ten-Year Visas

Starting Dec. 29, the U.S. and Kazakhstan agreed on issuance of 10-year visas for their citizens, a step in bilateral relations that will facilitate travel and boost tourism and business ties, said Krol.

“The ties between our peoples are some of the most important links between our two countries and the introduction of 10-year visas will only strengthen those links. The introduction of 10-year-validity business and tourism visas lets Kazakh and American citizens spend more time planning their travel and less time worrying about visa forms. We strongly believe the 10-year visas will help more Kazakhs and Americans get to know each other better and do business together. Thousands of Kazakhs would be able to travel to the U.S. to obtain education or improve their professional qualifications. Here, in Kazakhstan, hundreds of Americans have worked as English teachers, some through U.S. government programmes like Fulbright or Peace Corps. American teachers would be able to continue to support Kazakhstan’s vision of becoming a trilingual society,” he added.

EXPO 2017

Kazakhstan’s major event of the year, EXPO 2017 in the capital Astana, will carve out the country’s image throughout the three-month exposition from June-September. Krol, the commissioner for the U.S. pavilion, praised the ongoing construction of the site.

“The U.S. is moving forward expeditiously with the required internal procedures to allow us to participate in EXPO 2017. The State Department has chosen a contractor for the U.S. pavilion, APCO Worldwide; architects and planners designated by APCO will be here in January to survey the pavilion and finalise the plans necessary for them to take possession,” he said.

“I want to commend Kazakhstan on the excellent preparatory work it has already done at the EXPO site and I believe EXPO 2017 will serve as a valuable platform for businesses, governments and other organisations to advance global cooperation on clean energy. Several U.S. companies including GE, Chevron and Fluor, have pledged to sponsor the U.S. pavilion,” he added.

Under the new administration, Krol noted the interests of the U.S. in “promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and globally will not change, nor will our commitment to a vital partnership with Kazakhstan.”

“Relations between the U.S. and Kazakhstan will continue to grow and strengthen based on the firm foundation of mutual respect and shared interests built over the 25 years of Kazakhstan’s independence,” he added.

“In 2016, the U.S. and Kazakhstan marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. This development highlights the strong partnership that our two countries have forged over the last 25 years and symbolises the United States’ commitment to friendship with the people of Kazakhstan in the decades to come. We look forward to new developments in our partnership in 2017,” said Krol.

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