Sat Jan 8th, 2022 at 11:50:30 AM EST
Kazakhstan Turns to Foreign Investment for Post-COVID Growth
Opinion - November 22, 2021
Since achieving independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago, the Republic of Kazakhstan has understood the importance of procuring a constant flow of foreign direct investments to promote development and economic growth. The government's priorities regarding where should investment go have changed over the years, as the current goal is to promote economic diversification, moving away from industries like energy and mining, to sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and green technology.
In order to achieve this objective, the Kazakhstani government has passed legislation to make it easier for international investors to work in the country, and also created agencies called Kazakh Invest, which have a critical role in this process.
Kazakh Invest, a Joint Stock Company, was established on 1 March, 2017. The agency has two primary missions. First, to promote the sustainable socio-economic development of Kazakhstan by attracting foreign investment in key sectors, and by supporting new investment projects. The second objective is to become a leading agency for attracting foreign investment throughout Central Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and other regional economies in transition.
Liberalization of oil and gas regulations to meet IMF loan standards ...
Kazakhstan Staff Concluding Statement of the 2021 Article IV Mission| IMF |
Washington, DC: An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Nicolas Blancher, conducted discussions on the 2021 Article IV consultation during Nov 4-17 in Almaty and Nur Sultan. This statement summarizes the main conclusions and recommendations of the mission. At the end of the visit, the mission issued the following statement:
Recent developments, outlook, and risks
1. Kazakhstan's economy is recovering from the combined COVID pandemic and oil market shock. In 2020, output contracted for the first time in over 20 years--by 2.5 percent--due to reduced oil production and domestic activity. The turnaround that began in late 2020 has fostered real GDP growth in 2021 of 3.5 percent through October, returning output to its pre-Covid level. Inflation has exceeded the 4-6 percent target band of the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) since the onset of the pandemic, and stood at 8.9 percent in October, driven mostly by food prices. Credit growth accelerated to 16 percent in September 2021, reflecting rapid growth in consumer lending and large state support programs. Labor market and poverty indicators have remained resilient throughout the pandemic, with unemployment stable at about 5 percent.
2. The authorities' policy response played a key role in mitigating the impact of the shocks on livelihoods and economic activity. Policy measures included regulating prices for socially important goods, cash transfers to vulnerable households, and targeted assistance to hard-hit sectors and small and medium-sized enterprises, including subsidized lending and tax exemptions. Projects under the "Employment Roadmap" program helped support employment. After raising the policy rate in early 2020, the NBK maintained an accommodative monetary policy. The authorities also eased regulatory and prudential requirements for banks, while encouraging them to grant loan repayment deferrals to eligible borrowers.
The Role of Oil and Gas in Kazakhstan's Foreign Policy: Looking East or West? | Nov. 2007 |
Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia
Kazakhstan's Evolving Foreign Economic and Security Interests | CSIS |
More than any time since the collapse of the Silk Road five centuries ago, today we have to focus on Eurasia as a whole. Over the past two decades, Eurasia has begun to slowly reconnect, with the emergence of new trade relationships and transit infrastructures, as well as the integration of Russia, China, and India into the global economy. Even as this reconnection is under way, the center of economic dynamism in Eurasia, and in the world as a whole, has increasingly shifted to the East. The impact of these shifts is potentially enormous, but they remain poorly understood because of our tendency to limit analysis to
a single country or region within the broader Eurasian space.
The first fruits of the Eurasia Initiative include the report you are holding in your hands, one of the five country studies making up our report series Central Asia in a Reconnecting Eurasia. our decision to start with Central Asia stems from a concern that the drawdown of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan will augur declining international interest in the region, which has played a critical role over the course of the conflict.
For U.S. policymakers, turning away from Central Asia now would be a serious miscalculation. The five states of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) are located at the heart of the Eurasian landmass, in close proximity to four of Washington's biggest foreign policy challenges: Afghanistan/Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and China. For that reason alone, the United States has a strong interest in developing economic and security ties with the states of Central Asia, and doing so in a way that is no longer driven by the exigencies of the war in Afghanistan, but is responsive to the needs and interests of the region itself, as well as enduring U.S. interests.
US President Donald Trump and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev shake hands in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 16, 2018. (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
Russia, under international sanctions after the annexation of Crimea, has been primarily focused on containing domestic economic fallout and seemingly distracted from countering Chinese political-economic expansion into Central Asia.
While speaking at a conference on Chinese infrastructure investment hosted by influential Washington think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Bechtel chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel noted that America's largest construction group had been pushed out of the global top 10 such groups by Chinese state-owned companies.
China-Kazakhstan Economic Relations
Chinese firms' energy projects in Kazakhstan remain safe: sources
China has imported 4.02 million tons of natural gas from Kazakhstan from January to November in 2021, according to statistics from Chinese Customs. Natural gas imports from Russia totaled 10.82 million tons, and 21.92 million tons from Turkmenistan.
Steppe on Fire: Kazakhstan's Color Revolution | Reporter Pepe Escobar |
Shal, ket! "Down with the old man"
The "old man" is none other than national leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, who even as he stepped down from the presidency after 29 years in power, in 2019, for all practical purposes remains the Kazakh gray eminence as head of the Security Council and the arbiter of domestic and foreign policy.
The prospect of yet another color revolution inevitably comes to mind: perhaps Turquoise-Yellow - reflecting the colors of the Kazakh national flag. Especially because right on cue, sharp observers found out that the usual suspects - the American embassy - was already "warning" about mass protests as early as in December 16, 2021. Maidan in Almaty? Oh yeah. But it's complicated.
Almaty in chaos
For the outside world, it's hard to understand why a major energy exporting power such as Kazakhstan needs to increase gas prices for its own population.
The reason is - what else - unbridled neoliberalism and the proverbial free market shenanigans. Since 2019 liquefied gas is electronically traded in Kazakhstan. So keeping price caps - a decades-long custom - soon became impossible, as producers were constantly faced with selling their product below cost as consumption skyrocketed.
Everybody in Kazakhstan was expecting a price hike, as much as everybody in Kazakhstan uses liquefied gas, especially in their converted cars. And everybody in Kazakhstan has a car, as I was told, ruefully, during my last visit to Almaty, in late 2019, when I was trying in vain to find a taxi to head downtown.
It's quite telling that the protests started in the city of Zhanaozen, smack into the oil/gas hub of Mangystau. And it's also telling that Unrest Central immediately turned to car-addicted Almaty, the nation's real business hub, and not the isolated, government infrastructure-heavy capital in the middle of the steppes.
At first President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev seemed to have been caught in a deer facing the headlights situation. He promised the return of price caps, installed a state of emergency/curfew both in Almaty and Mangystau (then nationwide) while accepting the current government's resignation en masse and appointing a faceless Deputy Prime Minister, Alikhan Smailov, as interim PM until the formation of a new cabinet.
Part of pivotal role Greater Eurasia
The role of Baikonur in the context of military-political cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia
Abstract: The military partnership between Russia and Kazakhstan illustrates the multifaceted and mutually beneficial nature of relations between this two countries. In particular the joint use of the unique complex "Baikonur" is considered. Russia‟s leading role is shown in the preparation of Kazakhstan‟s own space program. All these issues are considered on the basis of an analysis of the legal framework for cooperation between the two states in the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Particular attention is paid to the problem of environmental safety of the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan associated with the operation of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Keywords: Kazakhstan, Cosmodrome, Baikonur, environmental safety, space program.
Baikonur is the largest and in its way unique space harbor, which started the first launches and flights into space. At present, manned launches, missile launches, satellites, and etc. are being carried out here. After gaining independence by Kazakhstan, it became quite logical and possible to develop its domestic space programs, but it should be noted that this sector is at the same low level. The space center was leased, so it is not possible to carry out independent space launches, but Kazakhstan can take part in individual programs and get economic benefits from commercial launches. It is important to emphasize that the presence of Baikonur brings us not only positive moments in the form of economic benefits and world fame, but also a lot of negative consequences that arise after the accidents of Russian missiles and damage to the ecology of the region.
The relevance of the problem of international importance to the cooperation of Russia and Kazakhstan on the use of the Baikonur Cosmodromehas been repeatedly stressed in the speeches of the Presidents of these states, since it has great practical significance for the development of both the space and the national economy of both countries. Today, the exploration of outer space is considered more as a study and use of achievements in the military sphere. Hence the military and political cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia has a positive trend, and such cooperation between states on the Baikonur Cosmodromeis unique. In this article author will consider the issues of cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the Russian Federation regarding the Baikonur Cosmodrome, highlight the pros and cons of this union. It will be determined the prerequisites for cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the field of space exploration, will be analyzed the existing difficulties in using the Cosmodrome after the collapse of the USSR, as well as environmental safety in the process of mastering outer space. Based on the analysis of available Russian and Kazakh sources, as well as the regulatory and legal framework, author will try to summarize the international experience of cooperation between the two states on the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and outline the stages of cooperation. This article analyzes priority directions of military-political cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of space exploration.
U.S. State: 2021 Investment Climate Statements: Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan Burning During Violent Protests - 2022
Kazakhstan protests: president denounces protesters as 'terrorists' | The Guardian |
22-year-old Israeli killed by gunfire in violent Kazakhstan protests | TOI |
Concerns grew in recent days that an even broader crackdown might be coming, as internet and cellphone service was severely disrupted and sometimes totally blocked, and several airports closed -- making it difficult to know what was happening inside the country and for images of the unrest to reach the outside world.
Adding to those fears was Tokayev's request for help from a Russia-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), whose troops began arriving Thursday.
Nine Russian military transport aircraft Il-76 with servicemen and airborne forces landed at the airfield in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.
Blinken warns Kazakhstan about seeking help from Russia: 'sometimes it is very difficult to get them to leave'
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to a question comparing the situation in Kazakhstan to that on the Ukraine border with Russia, saying there are "very particular" economic and political drivers that make the situations different.
However, he warned Kazakhstan's government that "once Russians are in your house, sometimes it is very difficult to get them to leave."
Russia reacts furiously to Blinken jibe over troops in Kazakhstan |
Russia's foreign ministry called Blinken's remark "typically offensive" and accused him of joking about tragic events in Kazakhstan. It said Washington should analyse its own track record of interventions in countries such as Vietnam and Iraq.
"If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped," the ministry said on its Telegram social media channel.
"We are taught this not only by the recent past but by all 300 years of American statehood."
The ministry said the deployment in Kazakhstan was a legitimate response to Kazakhstan's request for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, an alliance of ex-Soviet states that includes Russia.
Such remarks by Blinken indicates the NATO countries [Why NATO Is a Thing of the Past - https://www.eurotrib.com/story/2009/2/25/211933/327] have closed ranks …. useless for the bilateral talks between Russia and the US to take place … diplomacy on the back burner.
END OF UPDATE
Blinken: International system is 'at stake' with Russia | NBC News |
Secretary of State Antony Blinken discusses President Biden's recent phone call with Russian President Putin, during an exclusive interview with Meet the Press.
Kazakhstan detains former national security chief on suspicion of treason | The Guardian |
The Israel-Kazakhstan Partnership | The Diplomat |
Kazakh policymakers believe that Israel could indirectly assist Kazakhstan’s attempts to increase its oil exports to East Asia. In November 2006, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Karim Masimov announced that Kazakhstan would expand its investments in Haifa’s oil refineries.
Masimov has also called for an extension of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline to Israel. Should the BTC pipeline expand to Israel, Israel’s oil terminals at Ashkelon and Eilat could be used to increase Kazakh oil shipments to Europe and East Asia.
Netanyahu scores diplomatic home run in Iran’s backyard | TOI – Dec. 17, 2016 |
You wouldn’t know it from the front pages of newspapers in Israel, but the Jewish state’s prime minister has completed a landmark visit to two of the world’s wealthiest Muslim nations.
Largely eclipsed in the Israeli media by sexual harassment scandals, the Knesset dress code and the impending evacuation of the Amona outpost in the West Bank, Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit this week to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan nonetheless represents a diplomatic coup against Iran. It also underlines Israel’s ability in recent years to punch holes in the former taboo in the Muslim world on openly embracing the Jewish state, experts on the relevant countries said.
“The media apparently missed the historic visit that I’m making to two Muslim nations that simply admire Israel, with whom we are pursuing closer ties,” Netanyahu wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, he added in a video message, “are nurturing coexistence and fraternity between Jews and Muslims. This is where we are making the future.”
Muslim Kazakhstan asks Netanyahu for help in war on terror | I24 – 2016 |