Kazakh President decrees reshuffles in government and administration

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed the heads of Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the new Secretary of the Security Council, the Ak Orda press service announced Feb. 13 on their Twitter page.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

According to the decree, the President reappointed Gabit Baizhanov as the Director of Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service. Baizhanov served as Assistant to the President, the Secretary of the Security Council of Kazakhstan from Sept. 19. Prior to that, he served as the director of the foreign intelligence service since 2015. Baizhanov worked as Deputy Director of the Barlau Service of the National Security Committee in 2006. From 2009 to 2015, he was the first deputy director of the Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service.

Now former Director Issatai Sartayev was reappointed to his past post as Deputy Director of Syrbar. He had been working as the director of the intelligence service for almost half a year. Before that, he served as the deputy director of the intelligence service from 2009 to 2015. Then, he was the first deputy director of the Syrbar for three years.

Kalmukhanbet Kassymov, the longest-serving Minister of Internal Affairs in the country’s independent history, took Baizhanov’s post as the Secretary of the Security Council and Assistant to the President. Yerlan Turgumbayev, formerly Deputy Minister since 2012, took the Kassymov’s post as the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service is Kazakhstan’s special state body directly subordinate to the President, which is an integral part of the nation’s security and sovereignty system. The President established the service with a Feb. 17 decree in 2009, after the disbandment of its predecessor, the Barlau service.



Kokshetau will start Smart City transition with schools and busses, sees steady economic growth

ASTANA – Kokshetau’s transition to a Smart City will start this year by introducing e-tickets on public transport, the Smart School project in five schools and a pilot project to digitise the housing and utilities sectors. The town of approximately 130,000 is the regional centre of the Akmola region.

Photo credit: inform.kz.

The Smart City project is in its initial development phase. The city’s housing maintenance firms (KSKs) connected all houses to the e-KSK online service system and installed cameras at 400 entrances of a planned 800 last year, said Akim (Mayor) Yermek Marzhikpayev at a Feb. 7 annual report meeting with the regional governor.

The project has created a secondary issue, however, as the town must address questions more vital for locals. The lack of seats in Kokshetau’s secondary schools resulted in splitting the school day into three shifts, forcing kids in the third shift to study late in the evening.

To eliminate the third shift, schools Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 13 will build extensions accommodating 1,680 seats. Construction is also planned in the Saryarka microdistrict to provide 280 additional kindergarten seats for children with speech disorders. Twenty-four of 29 public private partnership (PPP) education projects worth 3.8 billion tenge (US$10.05 million) were started last year.

Food prices were unreasonably high near the end of 2018 and the city akimat (administration) signed 280 memorandums with outlets to prevent future issues. Starting Dec.1, heat tariffs reduced 36 percent to 2,721 tenge (US$7.20) per gigacalorie. Beginning Jan. 1, city residents have observed tariff reductions for the sewage system (11 percent), water (6.6 percent) and electricity (6 percent).

The real sector of the economy is developing steadily, said Marzhikpayev. Industrial enterprises have produced goods worth 105.3 billion tenge (US$ 278.6 million). Fixed asset investments were 38.8 billion tenge (US$102.66 million), a 10.6-billion tenge (US$28.04 million) increase compared to the previous year.

Akim (Mayor) of Kokshetau Yermek Marzhikpayev. Photo credit: inform.kz.

Construction of three city highways and a bridge on Gabdullin Street across the Kylshakty River began last year. The akimat presented a final detailed plan for a 128.9-hectare plot during a Jan. 24 meeting with the regional akim.

“This is a very important project for the city. In April, the design and estimate documentation for the construction of a bypass road, which is also included in the project, will come from the state examination. It will separate the city from the lake and all the water coming from the streets will pass through the sewage treatment plant,” said Marzhikpayev.

The 7-20-25 state housing mortgage programme approved more than 200 applications. Thirty-one apartment buildings with 1,500 units were built, construction is continuing on 19 buildings and 17 buildings with 600 apartments are expected to be commissioned soon.



Kazakhstan to present its first report to UN on SDG progress

ASTANA – Kazakhstan will report to the United Nations (UN) in New York this year on its implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the first time, said Kazakh Vice Minister of National Economy Madina Zhunisbekova at a January meeting in the capital.

Photo credit: trendsmap.com.

In September 2015, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a document on the adoption of the 2015-2030 Development Agenda at the 70th UN General Assembly. SDGs are 17 global goals on socioeconomic development, including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.

“We have made voluntary commitments, and our country strives to fulfill those goals,” said Zhunisbekova on the country’s SDG implementation.

The 2030 Agenda is consistent with Kazakhstan’s development efforts. The energy-oriented aspect of the agenda was most acutely reflected throughout Astana EXPO 2017 international exhibition on Future Energy. Goal implementation is expected to yield positive multiplier effects for the country, facilitating its progress on becoming the top 30 most competitive countries by 2050 and attracting greater foreign investments.

Monitoring national achievements on SDGs is just as important as their implementation. Participating countries are responsible for undertaking follow-up activities and reviewing implementation progress, thus requiring high quality and accessible data collection and analysis.

“The Ministry of National Economy began this work,” said the vice minister. “All initiatives voiced by the President are aimed at SDG implementation. Now, our goal is to identify the areas where we need to move further and take additional measures for greater progress by the country on SDGs.”

SDG monitoring is led by the Ministry of National Economy’s Committee on Statistics, which established interagency working groups on People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership, collected and processed UN agencies’ data and organised national meetings on SDG statistics.

The UN, established in 1945, is an intergovernmental organisation tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and achieving international cooperation. Kazakhstan recently completed its 2017-2018 term at the UN Security Council, having focused on global non-proliferation efforts as well as on ensuring sustainable development in Central Asia and Afghanistan.



Aqkol becomes first smart city in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – The SmartAqkol project has entirely digitised all consumer and public services in Aqkol, making the small city 100 kilometres north of Astana Kazakhstan’s first smart city.

Photo credit: akorda.kz.

Aqkol, formerly known as Alexeyevka, used to be a small provincial town with population of just over 13,000 people and lacking things as simple as public lights. In just six months, however, it has been transformed into a modern, safe, comfortable city.

Head of Tengri Lab Alimzhan Yessetov presented the progress on SmartAqkol to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev Jan. 18 during his visit to the first smart city in the country.

According to Yessetov, the SmartAqkol project created a smart city that “is not inferior to any European city.” The project covers almost all vital areas that can be monitored and analysed. In addition to public order, road and fire safety regulations, the new city system also monitors ecology, public services, and assessments of children at school, all in one situational centre.

“The task that I have always seen is to manage Kazakhstan as a company or enterprise, from a single centre… Not demagogic chatter of who, where, what they will do, but a vertical, concrete, tough management gives a good result in terms of the economy and in general,” Nazarbayev said.

Photo credit: akorda.kz.

The smart city now works to provide better safety and comfort for its citizens. Any deviations or emergency information passes through a single situation centre. Then, based on the evidence at hand, the centre’s analysts can advise local administrations to take measures as quickly as possible. The centre collects data from GPS-trackers, sensors, road cameras and surveillance cameras throughout the city.

“Our specialists programmed all video cameras in the city to automatically detect massive clusters of people, things left without supervision, violations of traffic rules. After the high-profile incident in Kerch, we added the ability to automatically detect weapons,” says Yessetov referring to a mass shooting at a polytechnic college that left more than 20 people dead in October 2018.

Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The equipment throughout the city has many useful features and updates frequently, allowing quick responses. Videokonspekt technology processes data and hourly video content coming from all over the city that otherwise would be hard to track. The analytical tool can process the data from one hour of video in one minute and highlight any element such as a car, a pedestrian, colour, direction, clothing or other indicators, says Yessetov.

The city is being monitored day and night with the help of high-resolution and thermal imager cameras. Municipal buildings can only be entered using electronic identification.

The digitised city does not fear hackers, as it was designed with strict security in mind.

Cameras now register many minor offences that people could usually get away with. Among the first noticeable improvements was the decreased number of drunk people on roads.

Although some fear a totally digitised city could be like George Orwell’s “1984” come to life, Managing Director for Innovation at Kazakhtelecom Nurlan Meirmanov says that isn’t the case. The examples of the system at work show that the smart city “is not a control, but an analysis mechanism,” he said. Such systems allow problems to be foreseen, detected and responded to before they become dangerous. Previously, special controllers had to wander around individual houses to collect data about water and energy consumption. Now, each apartment and house in the city has smart metres that read and collect data automatically.

Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The operators in the situational centre found a few patterns associated with pneumonia occurrences. The specialists found a correlation whereas temperature drops in houses increased the likelihood of people attending hospitals. Then, with the help of eco-sensors, they determined that lower temperatures, in fact, somehow make the air quality of the town worse. Their research is still ongoing. Operators have built a thermal map of the city to identify problem areas. They believe that the health of the Aqkol population could be improved if the akimat updates the heating system.

Smart traffic lights and street lights cut electricity costs by three times. Residents have also installed solar panels.

In general, residents say, the city has really changed. It now has warm bus stops with gadget chargers, more public lighting, more paved roads and free public wifi that can be accessed from any point in the city.

“The city is clean, we have a gorgeous square, we have a great new railway station, lighting everywhere. We lived our lives in the dark. I was born here, and all my ancestors were born here… There used to be a lot of abandoned houses, vacant lots where grass grew. Now they allocate a lot of money, build a lot,” said city resident Galina Salikhova.

Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The new project has been presented, but it is still being developed. Glitches sometimes cause systems to fail to send data, and some residents have had to go report their energy consumption themselves. Also, in spite of the comprehensive surveillance, some vandals have damaged some of the public improvements, cutting charging wires and breaking the doors in a few warm bus stops.



Free Kazakh healthcare policy underway, national screening campaign brings results

ASTANA – Kazakhstan saw an increase from 40 to 46 percent last year in the number of private medical organisations participating in the guaranteed free health care programme, according to the Ministry of Healthcare press service.

Since July 2017, deductions and contributions by employers and entrepreneurs for compulsory social health insurance has reached 133 billion tenge (US$351 million) covering 6.5 million people, according the Social Health Insurance Fund. The fund operates the guaranteed amount of medical care.

“The minimum required amount of health care will be provided to all citizens, repatriants, foreigners and stateless persons permanently residing in the country. It includes ambulance and ambulance aviation, primary health care, emergency hospital and inpatient care, palliative assistance, diagnostic assistance, outpatient medicine provision, planned inpatient and hospital medicine assistance and medical rehabilitation for tuberculosis,” according to the release.

The ministry developed and introduced the model of guaranteed free healthcare ensuring compulsory social health insurance in May. The project ensures healthcare by increasing financial support at the expense of government funding and contributions to the Social Health Insurance Fund. It also reduces public spending on medical services, the burden on primary healthcare and emergency medical care.

The quality of healthcare is an essential component of the social well-being of the population. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev outlined the tasks to further develop the system in his state-of-the-nation address.

Launched in 2016, the Densaulyk state programme is designed to ensure gradually implementing Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) healthcare standards. Its main objective is to increase the average life expectancy of the population to 73 years by 2020, which has increased by 0.8 percent compared to 2016.

The national screening programme was launched to protect health threats. The age for regular screening was expanded to 70 years based on the recommendations of international experts. The types of examinations were also increased, with target group coverage to grow from 70 to 90 percent by 2022.

Approximately nine million screening examinations were performed in a nine-month period and 714,945 diseases were found.

The ministry developed mobile apps available on Google Play for visiting nurses and parents to care for children. IT service providers have implemented approximately 20 mobile apps.

In cooperation with IBM, Kazakh Research Institute of Oncology and Radiology has launched pilot testing on Watson for Oncology. The artificial intelligence project, which analyses existing business processes, clinical procedures, data processing and technical review, will be financed as part of a private-public partnership.

Paperless medical records were also launched last year.



Kazakh President reshuffles government, appoints new ministers of foreign affairs, defence and aerospace industries, and industry and infrastructure development

ASTANA – In a reshuffle aimed at strengthening the investment attraction and export promotion efforts of the Kazakh government, President Nursultan Nazarbayev reorganised three ministries and appointed new ministers through a string of presidential decrees Dec. 26.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

Nazarbayev significantly strengthened the economic diplomacy credentials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by giving it oversight over the work on attracting foreign investment and promoting Kazakh exports abroad, taking away these responsibilities from the reformed Ministry for Investment and Development.

He appointed Beibut Atamkulov as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Askar Zhumagaliyev as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Aerospace Industry and Zhenis Kassymbek as Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development.

Nazarbayev relieved former Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov of his responsibilities due to his transfer to another job, as yet unannounced. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs Atamkulov was transferred from his former position as the Minister of Defence and Aerospace Industry.

Kassymbek was appointed to lead a newly revamped Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, into which the Ministry for Investment and Development was transformed. Some of the former ministry’s functions were transferred to the Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Beibut Atamkulov. Photo credit: kazcosmos.gov.kz.

Atamkulov was born in the Alma-Ata region in 1964. In 1986, he graduated from the Kazakh Polytechnic Institute, receiving the profession of engineer-metallurgist. In 2000, he graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance and received a degree of Candidate of Economic Sciences (similar to PhD).

In 1986, he started working in the Shymkent Lead Plant as a smelter, senior engineer. From 1991 to 1995, he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, and served as the Republican Foreign Economic Enterprise Kazmetalllexport’s organisation Chermeteksport’s Chief Specialist and Director, and as the first deputy director at the Kazakhstan Sauda foreign trade company.

During the following two years, he worked as the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant’s First Deputy Director. From 1996 to 2002, he was the Rakhat Metals President. Over the next four years, he was the Rakhat Companies Group’s president and chairman of the board.

Since 2006, he worked in the diplomatic service. He was a minister-counsellor at the Kazakh Embassy in Russia and Iran. From 2008 to 2010, he worked as the Kazakh Consul General in Frankfurt am Main. For two years, he served as the Kazakh Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Malaysia, as well as to Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines concurrently.

From 2012 to 2014, Atamkulov was the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, after which he was at the same position in the Investment and Development Ministry. Since August 2015, he has been the South Kazakhstan region’s Akim (governor). His last position was the Defence and Aerospace Industry Minister, which he led from 2016.

Askar Zhumagaliyev. Photo credit: tengrinews.kz.

The new Defence and Aerospace Industry Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Zhumagaliev was born in 1972 in the Orenburg region, Russia. He graduated from the Sverdlovsk Suvorov Military School and studied at the Kharkov Higher Military Command Engineering School of Rocket Forces. In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he transferred to the Kazakh National Technical University in Almaty, graduating with a degree in radio communications, broadcasting and television. He received a second bachelor degree in jurisprudence from the Kazakh Humanitarian Law University and a master’s degree in e-government from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne.

From 2006 to 2010, he was the chair of the board of Kazakhtelecom national telecommunications company, when he worked on the introduction of new communication technologies and the barrier-free customer service principle. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as the Minister for Communications and Information. During his work, he launched 3G services, digital satellite and terrestrial television. He also developed the e-government portal and large-scale modernisation and automation of the Public Service Centres (PSC).

Since 2012, he was the Minister of Transport and Communications. During his work, specialised public service centres for car owners were opened, standards for providing services in the transport industry were developed, 4G network was launched, tariffs for communication services were reduced and automation of public services was carried out.

In 2014, he became the Chairman of the Agency for Communications and Information. Later the same year, he was appointed as Vice Minister for Investments and Development. Before being appointed to his new position, he was the chairman of the board of Kazatomprom national atomic company since 2015.

Zhenis Kassymbek. Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The new Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Kassymbek was born in 1975 in the Zhambyl region. He graduated from the Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Almaty with a degree in architecture and design. He also studied at the Gumilyov Eurasian National University in Astana graduating with a degree in economy and earning the Candidate of Economic Sciences degree.

Over the years, Kassymbek worked as the Head of the Department of Railway Transport and Ports of the Agency for Regulation of Natural Monopolies and Protection of Competition, Head of Coordination and Tariff Policy Department, and Director of the Water Transport Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. He also led the Aktau International Seaport.

In 2005, he was the Vice Minister of Transport and Communications. In 2009, he became the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. After five years, he headed the ministry. Since August 2014, he became the First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Investment and Development. Before being appointed to his new position, Kassymbek served as the Minister for Investment and Development since 2016.



Turkestan’s infrastructure capable to provide facilities on 368 hectares, says city akim

ASTANA – Turkestan is making progress on the three main elements of its Turkestan Major Plan, City Akim (Mayor) Alipbek Userbayev told a delegation of government officials visiting the region Dec. 21, reported the Turkestan region Akimat’s (regional administration) press centre.

Askar Mamin on his visit. Photo credit: tengrinews.kz.

The plan’s primary elements are the city’s historical centre, spiritual and cultural centre and administrative and business centre.

In relation to 270-hectare administrative and business centre, Userbayev said the construction of the regional akimat, the house of governance and departments, the five-star Rixos Hotel and large districts with residential housing is ongoing.

Currently, 26 multi-storey residential buildings are under construction on the territory. Approximately 20 houses (1,200 out of 1,536 apartments) are for rent, and the remaining six houses (336 apartments) are available for purchase. Among 20 rental houses, 11 will be put in commission in April 2019, the rest will be ready by November 2019. The houses for purchase will be ready in June.

These residential houses built under the 7-20-25 governmental programme are for welfare recipients, people in a queue for housing and public servants.

According to the region’s Akim (Governor) Zhanseit Tuimebayev, the construction of 88 multi-storey residential houses with 2,756 apartments will start in a neighbouring district next year.

For developing the city’s infrastructure, as a part of a public-private partnership, a kindergarten for 280 students started its work in the Otyrar district. In the next academic year, a new school for 900 students is planned to open.

The recent activation of the Turkestan Compressor Plant increased the turnover of Beineu – Bozoi – Shymkent gas pipeline, doubling the territory of its gas supply. The pipeline will help supply natural gas to 20,000 city customers.

Changes are also planned for the historical part of the city. The delegation was also acquainted with the sketch of historical architectural projects, which will be implemented near the Khoja Akhmet Yassawi Mausoleum, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The new works have reportedly been agreed upon with UNESCO.

“It is necessary to take measures on restoration works of 18 objects of the historical centre and the construction of 17 prioritised objects of the spiritual and cultural and administrative and business centres,” said Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin, who led the delegation.

The spiritual and cultural centre is planned to be built on the territory of 92 hectares around the Azret Sultan State Historical and Cultural Reserve. The territory of the Kultobe ancient town will be given for an open-air museum.



Mangystau region has steady growth, will develop manufacturing

ASTANA – The Mangystau region’s gross regional product increased from 98.6 percent to 103.4 percent compared to the previous year, announced Akim (Governor) Yeraly Tugzhanov at a recent press conference.

Photo credit: inform.kz.

“It is not superfluous to say that this is a very good indicator, because for many years the indicator was at the level of 96 percent,” he noted.

The volume of industrial production reached 101.1 percent, 11 percent of the country’s total.

Located in southwest Kazakhstan, the Mangystau region borders more than half of the country’s Caspian shoreline. Soviet engineers discovered oil reserves in the area and the region has mainly been developed around the oil industry.

Oil reserves are growing scarce, however, prompting Tugzhanov to suggest manufacturing as an alternative for the region’s sustainable growth. Its share in the total industrial output increased from 4 percent to 8 percent.

“One way to increase the volume of the manufacturing sector is to develop local content. The main reserve is the procurement by oil companies in the region,” he said.

In 2017, regional oil companies spent 500 billion tenge (US$1.35 billion) to purchase non-domestic goods, 30 percent of the total 1.7 trillion tenge (US$4.59 billion), he noted.

As the first step towards developing local content, Ozenmunaygaz oil company has started a project with Russian manufacturers to produce oil pumps. They will use 500 million tenge (US$1.35 million) in investments to build the Aktau Tengiz Porty factory in the Aktau seaport special economic zone.

Tugzhanov noted support for regional manufacturing industries will be the main development direction in coming years.

In 2018, the volume of investments in the region’s fixed assets increased from 81.7 percent to 107.2 percent to reach 417 billion tenge (US$45.92 million). Its investment portfolio currently includes 81 projects worth 266 billion tenge (US$718.45 million).

In general, the region has seen good socio-economic growth in recent years. Construction grew 103.1 percent to 164 billion tenge (US$442.96 million), close to the target plan of 106.7 percent or 205 billion tenge (US$553.69 million) by the end of the year.

Authorities also reported the 945,000-square metre annual housing construction plan was met on time, resulting in a 139.7-percent increase. One million square metres are planned by the end of the year.

As part of the 7-20-25 housing lending programme, 22 private construction companies are building 15 residential complexes with 2,300 apartments. Second-tier banks reviewed 371 applications, approving 235 for 1.9 billion tenge (US$5.13 million). Authorities expect 500 apartments to be commissioned by the end of the year.



Kazakh President points to improved quality of life at Independence Day gala

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated his fellow citizens on their Independence Day and summed up Kazakhstan’s progress as a sovereign state at a Dec. 14 gala dedicated to the holiday.

Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

It has been 27 years since Supreme Council adopted the Law on Independence and State Sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Dec. 16, 1991.

“We are witnesses and active participants in the birth and formation of a new Kazakhstan,” said the President, according to the Akorda press service.

The young nation has been growing and developing steadily, and is often referred to as “the leading Central Asian country.”

Today, Kazakhstan is an active member of the international community and is striving to join the ranks of developed countries.

The welfare of the population has significantly improved in the decades since independence. For example, the number of people paid lower than the subsistence minimum has dropped by 15 times and real wages have quadrupled.

Other notable indicators include an increase in the absolute population to more than 18 million people and an increase in life expectancy to 72.5 years.

“It is important for us to always remember that the foundation of all achievements is unity and harmony in society,” the President stressed. “The Kazakhstan model of interethnic and interfaith development has become an international brand of the country.”

Kazakhstan’s location and its decision to invest in transport and logistics infrastructure has helped it become a main transit link between continents, he noted. Large-scale market reforms have engaged one million citizens in entrepreneurship.

“The systemic industrialisation of the economy has led to a significant increase in the share of the manufacturing industry,” said Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan’s manufacturing industry now produces 9.5 trillion tenge (US$25.62 billion) worth of goods, he added.

This year, Kazakhstan has launched a number of initiatives aimed at boosting the economy further, among them the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), the Astana Hub international techno park of IT start-ups and the International Centre for Green Technologies and Investment Projects.

“All these important victories and triumphant results convincingly testify to the correctness of the course we have chosen,” said the head of state.

The state is currently focused on further improving the quality of life, public security and well-being of the population, he stressed.

“An important direction for us is the comprehensive modernisation of the social sphere. For all the years of independence, about one million Kazakhs have found their hearth and a roof over their heads,” said Nazarbayev.

In the next five years, the government plans to build more than 70 million square metres of housing that will accommodate almost 2 million citizens.

The head of state believes that the modern generation, born in independent Kazakhstan, will confidently meet the challenges of their times and ensure the well-being and prosperity of their fellow citizens.

Astana, “a symbol of prosperous Kazakhstan,” had its 20th anniversary this year. In the new capital, events to celebrate independence began Dec. 6 and some exhibitions will continue until the end of December at the Palace of Independence.

The days between Dec. 10 and Dec. 18 were especially rich with exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, festivals, fairs, concerts and traditional fireworks dedicated to the national holiday.



First private employment agency opens in Akmola region

ASTANA – The Akmola region Chamber of Entrepreneurs has launched Kásip-kz, the first private employment agency, reported the regional city administration Dec. 6. The agency, in cooperation with its strategic partners, will hold a job fair in January in Shymkent.

The regional administration signed memoranda of cooperation with the regional Chambers of Entrepreneurs of Shymkent and the North Kazakhstan region and the employment centres.

The project’s mission is to recommend personnel to local enterprises, assist in employing unemployed and self-employed citizens and organise their social and professional orientation and retraining.

“The unique project has a social function. The head of state focused on the welfare of Kazakh people and improvement of living standards in his state-of-the-nation address. Potential employees will be given a wide range of workplaces and the employer will be provided with a wide choice of different specialists. Labour migration will affect the efficiency of business development and increase tax revenues. The agency will closely cooperate with training centres,” said Kásip-kz head Timur Nakhipbekov.

The agency’s activities will cover intraregional, interregional and international employment. It will attract labour resources from densely populated regions of the country – Almaty, Kyzylorda, Turkestan and Zhambyl regions and Shymkent – as part of the interregional direction. Kásip-kz will also have the ability to recruit foreign workers if the international agreements are available.

“Today, local enterprises are in need of approximately 10,000 workers. The regional chamber of entrepreneurs conducted the monitoring of 250 companies in November. These enterprises have about 2,000 vacant jobs. The employment agency database will consolidate all the necessary information about job vacancies and applicants. The agency will also give consultations related to labour legislation and provide information about employment opportunities and services for labour mediation. In this regard, the services will be available through a single window at the Centre for Entrepreneurs Service. We will launch an online database that will allow applicants to submit applications remotely in the future,” reported the press service.

The agency will use the professional selection and promotion system for in-demand industrial and agricultural specialists.

Last year, Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs initiated amendments to legislative acts on the transfer of certain services of employment centres to private agencies. At present, the country’s registered private employment agencies are typically located in big cities.