Despite being a middle-income country, urban infrastructure investment requirements in Kazakhstan remain large and are estimated at over US$25 billion. The federal government devolved service delivery to local government units without adequate funding, apart from operational subsidies and urgent interventions to fund breakdowns. Currently there are insufficient institutional, regulatory and governance arrangements to ensure the financial and environmental sustainability of urban utilities. Local governments, except for those in Astana and Almaty, are not allowed to borrow and are dependent on federal government transfers for capital investments. Alternative sources of capital are available from local pension funds, the National Oil Fund and the Sovereign Wealth Fund (Samruk Kazyna), and potentially from local and foreign debt and equity markets. However, Kazakhstan has not yet found a strategy to effectively mobilize this capital for urban infrastructure development.
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