ADB, Kazakhstan Define New Development Partnership

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ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN - Kazakhstan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have prepared a new Country Partnership Strategy for 2012-2016 designed to make the economy more competitive and diverse in order to sustain growth and create jobs.

“Kazakhstan today is at a crossroads as it moves beyond upper middle-income status. The new strategy will help to further accelerate Kazakhstan’s economic and social progress and add value to the country’s development priorities,” said Guanghui Li, Country Director of ADB’s Kazakhstan Resident Mission.

The strategy defines a new development partnership with ADB. This partnership is both relevant and responsive to Kazakhstan’s goal of transitioning to a high income country.

The partnership underscores the need for sustaining infrastructure investments to boost productivity of the economy and promote diversification. It recognizes that the private sector has to over time become the main engine of growth. Measures to support the business environment for private sector development are, therefore, part of this partnership, which also identifies key operational areas for working directly with the private sector to support its role.

Knowledge exchange is central to the new partnership between ADB and Kazakhstan. Knowledge products and services will support institutional improvements and reforms. Knowledge support will also deepen policy dialogue between the two partners on development issues.

Strengthening the financial sector to support growth and diversification is an important part of the new partnership. Expanding access to finance for small and medium-sized industries will support entrepreneurs and create new jobs and economic opportunities. Developing non-bank financial markets will generate long-term domestic finance for infrastructure development. Support for local currency finance will deepen the bond markets and diversify the financial system.

In addition, the partnership will help Kazakhstan take advantage of its strategic Eurasian location through regional cooperation in transport, energy and trade facilitation. ADB’s support will focus on upgrading the road network along the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) transport corridors and strengthening regional trade and transport links.

The strategy will be implemented with an indicative investment program of about $1.6 billion for 2012-2016. Knowledge sharing, selective public sector lending, public-private partnerships and non-sovereign operations will be the main forms of support.