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  • 29 Nov 2017 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Kazakhstan will be carrying the mantle of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), widely seen as post-Soviet Russia’s response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, from 2018-19. During this time, Moscow expects Astana to further the security bloc’s development through multilateral diplomacy and relationship-building, in order to strengthen CSTO’s ability to respond to threats in Eurasia.
    “We expect that during [Kazakhstan’s] chairmanship, active efforts will be continued to further develop the CSTO [and] to build up the capacities to counter traditional and new challenges and threats,” said Sergey Neverov, a deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma, while addressing the International Inter-Parliamentary Conference that was held in Astana on Monday, according to reports by Kazakhstan’s Atameken Business Channel.

    As Central Asia’s largest country and economy, of the Central Asian region, Kazakhstan is going to lead the military alliance in the period of 2018-19. Belarus currently chairs the six-member CSTO, and will pass the baton to Kazakhstan at an end-of-the-year meeting held in Minsk on November 30. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev will be in attendance and is expected to address his vision for the forthcoming year as Kazakhstan is at the helm.

    The CSTO aims to boost political ties, fight terrorism and extremism collectively, as well as the illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons. Along with Russia, Kazakhstan was a founder of CSTO, which was set up in 1992 and currently includes Russia, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belarus.

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  • 28 Nov 2017 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Representatives of the European Union, international financial institutions, and international and regional organizations gathered in Almaty Nov. 23 and 24 for a workshop on access to international investments in water, energy efficiency and waste management infrastructure. The experts concluded that the countries of Central Asia should take advantage of international momentum for implementing climate-related and environmental projects.

    “The Paris Agreement calls for greater efforts to tackle climate change, and the regional pipeline for [the Green Climate Fund] GCF is currently being defined. Being in the middle of diverse cultural, economic and environmental regions, the Central Asian countries can enhance their role as a bridge between Asia and Europe by taking the lead in implementing environmentally sound infrastructure projects,” said Alessandra Fidanza on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Environment.

    She also stressed the importance of the WGECC in facilitating the connection between European and Central Asian countries.

    The event promotes a green economy and finding sustainable solutions to water, energy efficiency and waste management issues, which are considered to be very important in all Central Asian states.

    “With this event we aimed to build a bridge between policymakers and regulators in the field of environment, water and climate change, and potential investors in infrastructure projects. This workshop gathered together representatives of the governments, [international financial institutions], the Green Climate Fund and the private sector. We are confident that the results of our workshop will be tangible and have a long-term positive impact on the environment and standards of living in Central Asia,” said head of the cooperation section of the EU delegation to Kazakhstan Johannes Stenbaek Madsen.

    The workshop provided a platform for participants to discuss practical ways to improve the process for preparing bankable projects. The experts highlighted key directions for action to boost investments through such sources as the GCF and the EU Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA). The financial capacity of the private sector was also reviewed.

    The EU-funded project WECOOP2 presented its concept of a web-based Knowledge Centre and a draft investor guide aimed at helping state authorities better understand the international financial instrument requirements. The Knowledge Centre will provide information and advice on such institutions’ project cycles and eligibility and selection criteria, as well as on the project pipelines, explaining how to prepare bankable project proposals. The investor guide and the work to establish the Knowledge Centre will be completed by February 2018.

    The EU and international financial institutions support the development of green technologies in Central Asia.

  • 28 Nov 2017 9:46 AM | Anonymous
    President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev introduced changes to the structure of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan.

    In accordance with the presidential resolution from 27 November 2017, the number of deputy prime ministers of Uzbekistan increased from 6 to 8 (including the first deputy prime minister).

    Sukhrob Holmurodov became Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan - Head of the Complex for Investment, Innovative Development, Coordination of Free Economic and Small Industrial Zones, Tourism.

    The head of the complex will also oversee newly created Ministry of Innovative Development and the Foundation for Support of Innovative Development and Innovative Ideas.

    Prior to this appointment, Sukhrob Holmurodov served as chairman of the National Bank for Foreign Economic Affair of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

    Jamshid Kuchkarov was appointed as the Minister of Finance. He also retained the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and will lead the Complex on Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting, Reforming the Financial and Banking Systems, Developing Private Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

    Botir Khodjaev, who previously worked as the Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan, will now head the Ministry of Economy of Uzbekistan. As Minister of Economy of Uzbekistan, he replaced Galina Saidova.

    The head of Uzbekistan introduced the post of Deputy Prime Minister - Head of the Complex for Education, Health, Ecology, Environmental Protection, Physical Culture and Sports.

    The President also renamed the two complexes into the Complex for Development of Foreign Trade Activity, Export Potential, Machine Building, Automotive, Electrotechnical, Defense, Cotton Processing and Light Industry, Standardization of Products and the Complex on Agriculture and Water Resources, Processing of Agricultural and Food Products.

  • 23 Nov 2017 9:54 AM | Anonymous

    Xi'an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, is home to a nearly seven-year-old railway container center that facilitates transport of oilseeds grown in Kazakhstan to be processed by Chinese company Aiju, before being sold back to Kazakhstan.

    The Kazakh government announced on July 11 an agreement to cooperate on trade in grain and oilseeds with Aiju.

    Flour exports from Kazakhstan to China increased eight times from 2014 to 2016, the USDA said in April.

    China is growing its ties with Kazakhstan as the "Belt and Road" program gets underway.

    A prime example is the nearly seven-year-old railway container center in China's ancient capital city of Xi'an that links the world's second-largest economy to the Central Asia country.

    Kazakhstan is the so-called inland port's biggest market, followed by Amsterdam, said Jie Gai, project manager in marketing for Xi'an International Inland Port Multimodal Transportation.

    The Xi'an Railway Container Freight Station in the Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park opened in 2010 and covers 68.3 hectares.

    Xi'an is also home to the terracotta warriors and the starting point of the historic Silk Road over which merchants once traveled to bring goods between China and Europe. Now China, under President Xi Jinping, is trying to reopen that channel of commerce through the Belt and Road initiative (also known as "One Belt, One Road"). A string of projects, typically led by corporations using funding from China and other countries, seeks to build up infrastructure in the surrounding regions.

    China also hopes to benefit economically from improved growth in the region. In November 2014, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced a domestic stimulus program called "Nurly Zhol" (Bright Path) which called for $9 billion in state and foreign direct investment into infrastructure and industries such as agribusiness and information technology, in an effort to move the economy away from the oil industry.

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  • 23 Nov 2017 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    In the midst of the worldwide blockchain and cryptocurrencies craze, Kazakhstan has realized the relevancy of the trend like never before. In mid-November, the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association applied for state registration as a legal entity to promote the technology’s ideas and draft legislation in the field.

    The association was founded by six organizations and 15 more have applied for membership, according to The timing is right to unite companies and organizations that are considering working in the market, noted association co-founder and council chairperson Yesset Butin.

    “Our main goal is to prescribe the rules of the game in the blockchain market and cryptocurrency in Kazakhstan together with the regulator [the National Bank],” he said. “There are no companies operating in the blockchain market in Kazakhstan, but there are more companies that see the promise of technology for themselves,” he said.

    “First, we must follow world trends. The Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency has already been created and literally within a month they managed to achieve certain results. Belarus announced the imminent emergence of such an association. We believe the time has come to create such an association here to unite organizations and companies that work in the blockchain market or plan to work in the cryptocurrency markets,” he added.

    The industry is in its early stages, so it is not yet possible to assess the market in Kazakhstan in monetary terms, said Butin. The important thing now is to create the necessary infrastructure and effective legislation for it to function, including the unified policy required to form a dialogue with state bodies, including the National Bank. The so-called legislative “rules of the game” will mostly depend on the situation in the market in the next two years.

    The association also intends to negotiate with universities to implement educational programmes in blockchain technology.

    At the same time, Butin sees the worth of the National Bank releasing a “cryptotenge” at a minimum to create a legitimate platform basis to purchase cryptocurrency in tenge. The cryptotenge could be converted to other world cryptocurrencies as a way to make the concept more easily understood.

    He noted people follow the market. The yield on deposits in the currency is decreasing and some banks have become unreliable.

    “People are looking for an alternative and find it in the form of cryptocurrency,” he added.

    While some countries have recognized cryptocurrencies as an official payment method, others are still deciding. The association founders believe Kazakhstan must find its own path to regulate in the new field.

  • 19 Nov 2017 9:43 AM | Anonymous

    The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), international center for green technologies and international IT start-up hub are expected to begin operating on former EXPO 2017 premises in 2018. The news was announced during the EXPO 2017 legacy presentation to the diplomatic corps Nov. 15 at the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

    “The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, pays special attention to this issue. It is not by chance that the head of state’s speech at the closing ceremony of expo included him highlighting the plans for the launch of the Astana International Financial Centre, the international center for green technologies and the international IT start-up hub,” said Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov to open the event.

    He noted considerable potential exists for developing cooperation with foreign governmental and corporate partners.

    AIFC, the first big project, was created at the President’s initiative and will operate according to the principles of English common law with a preferential tax regime, independent financial court, arbitration and regulator. It is intended to become a financial hub for Central Asia, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Caucasus, Western China, Mongolia and Eastern Europe. The center will develop the key areas of capital market, welfare management, private banking, Islamic finance and financial technologies. “The AIFC international presentation will take place July 5 next year, but we will start operating Jan. 1,” said AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov.

    The center will consist of several components including the Astana International Exchange (AIX), which is being created with foreign partners including NASDAQ and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), the number three and four stock exchanges, respectively, in the world. SSE signed a shareholder agreement with the AIFC authority providing it with a 25-percent stake in AIX and opening access to China’s investment liquidity. A technological agreement has also been inked with NASDAQ, providing AIFC with the services of the most popular global trading platform.

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  • 06 Nov 2017 12:59 PM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett will visit Uzbekistan to sign the Bank’s first new projects since 2010, in banking, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals.

    In Tashkent, Bennett will meet Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and other senior officials and speak at the International Conference on Security and Sustainable Development in Central Asia, the Bank reported.

    He will also open a new office of the Bank in the capital, Tashkent on November 8, which demonstrates the EBRD’s new stage of engagement with Uzbekistan.

    The EBRD office, headed by Associate Director Alkis Vryenios Drakinos, will support the expansion of the Bank’s operations in the country.

    The EBRD’s near-term objectives in Uzbekistan are to support domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and promote trade finance and cross-border cooperation, as well as to facilitate foreign direct investment and support the government’s reform efforts, including those aimed at improving the investment climate.

    The EBRD Board of Directors is expected to agree a new country strategy for Uzbekistan in 2018, which will set out the Bank’s longer-term strategic priorities.

    Between 1992 and 2010, the EBRD invested €894 million in Uzbekistan in 54 projects.

    Now entering a new stage of engagement in the country, the Bank has already identified a number of possible new projects, some of which are due to be signed by the end of 2017, with more to follow in 2018.

  • 02 Nov 2017 4:44 PM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    King Abdullah II of Jordan was awarded the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security during his Nov. 1 official visit to Kazakhstan. The Jordanian monarch was decorated for his contribution to “regional stability, global security and steadfast stance against war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” 

    “This award is in recognition of your contributions and manifestation of hope that as conflicts rage you would continue with a peacemaking role, which brings people closer,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. 

    He specifically highlighted Jordan’s acceptance of up to 1.3 million refugees since the Syrian crisis began more than six years ago, as well as Amman’s involvement in the Astana Process peace talks on Syria as an observer. Jordan’s contribution to peace process between Israel and Palestine was also noted. 

    King Abdullah thanked the Kazakh President for the invitation, the warm welcome rendered by the Kazakh hosts and expressed gratitude for the award. 

    He emphasised the trusting nature of the relations between the two countries and highlighted the important role of Nursultan Nazarbayev in the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. 

    “We value what you do to make this world a better and safer place. Your leadership is important for all of us,” said the king. 

    He stressed that “this award is for the entire people of Jordan.” His office is reported to have added that the prize money would go to support excelling Jordanian students in public schools. 

    The leaders of the two countries also tackled international issues, including the war in Syria and the Astana Process, the situation in Iraq, the diplomatic crisis around Qatar, as well as the fight against terrorism and joint efforts to promote religious tolerance and nuclear non-proliferation. The Jordanian leader visited Kazakhstan the day after the seventh high-level international meeting on Syria concluded in Astana. 

    Jordan participated in the talks as an observer. Nazarbayev stated that the Astana Process helped diminish the level of violence in Syria significantly, as the local population have a chance to return to peaceful life. 

    The Kazakh President and the Jordanian King agreed to continue developing bilateral ties and cooperating on efforts for international peace. At a briefing that followed the bilateral meeting, Nazarbayev noted February 2018 will mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakh-Jordanian relations. He also thanked the Jordanian side for their active participation in the EXPO 2017 international specialised exhibition in Astana and the first Summit on Science and Technologies of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. King Abdullah confirmed Jordan’s willingness to continue the close cooperation with Kazakhstan and thanked Kazakhstan and its leader for its contribution to the international community. 

    “My dear brother, you have brought global vision to today’s most pressing international concerns. Today, Kazakhstan is a champion of global co-existence and cooperation,” he said. 

    The meeting resulted in the signing of bilateral agreements, including those on extradition of persons, on the transfer of convicted persons, on legal assistance in criminal matters, on cooperation in combating terrorism, organised crime, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and other types of crimes. 

    The Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security was established in 2016. Its objective is to urge international actors to pursue more vigorous efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

  • 02 Nov 2017 10:26 AM | Yelena Arkhangelskaya

    The EU delegation and Uzbek officials discussed the prospects for cooperation in cotton sphere, as well as the agriculture industry during the 76th plenary meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) held in Tashkent.

    The EU Delegation was headed by Leonard Mizzi, Head of Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit.

    The sides discussed the prospects for cooperation within ICAC and possible cooperation opportunities in agriculture development within EU-Uzbekistan partnership, according to the message of the EU press service.

    The head of the EU delegation also met with the minister of agriculture and water resources of Uzbekistan and development partners active in the country, including FAO and the World Bank Group (WB, IFC).

    Following the accession to ICAC in May this year, the European Union Delegation attended the ICAC plenary for the first time, representing all the EU Member States.

    The membership of the EU in the ICAC is of strategic significance to the world cotton industry and the 150 million people get involved in cotton production, marketing and processing each season.

    Uzbekistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of cotton fiber production and the fifth - in its exports. The country produces about 3.500 tons of raw cotton and 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber per year and remains one of the main partners of Uzbekistan in terms of production and trade of cotton.

    The EU is the 11th largest producer and 6th largest exporter of cotton in the world. The European Union itself, and many individual countries and companies within the EU, are significant providers of cotton-specific development assistance in recipient countries.

    The EU has allocated €168 million to its bilateral cooperation with Uzbekistan in 2014-2020, which focuses on rural development.

    Uzbekistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management (through the programme BOMCA) and drug control (through CADAP/IcSP), education (through Erasmus+), democracy and human rights (through EIDHR), energy (through IFCA & INOGATE), SME development (through CA-Invest), peace and stability (through IcSP) and water/environment and nuclear safety (through IFCA and INSC).

    The EU has been active in Uzbekistan since 1996 and provides approximately €24 million annually in development assistance.