The value of innovative strategic knowledge solutions and global best practices are accepted as critical factors for socioeconomic advancement. For Kazakhstan, this is underscored in the country's Strategy 2030 and Vision 2050. The country partnership strategy (CPS), 2012-2016 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) establishes demand-based knowledge products and services as important tools with which ADB can add value to Kazakhstan's development. These strategy documents highlight the need for Kazakhstan to effectively apply knowledge solutions and adopt global best practices so as to become a more diversified, competitive, and inclusive economy and go beyond the middle-income-country stage.
Against this background, and recognizing ADB's role as a knowledge management leader in Asia and the Pacific and for Kazakhstan to share its own impressive development experience with other developing countries, the government and ADB agreed to establish the joint Knowledge and Experience Exchange Program (KEEP) in 2013. The KEEP is designed to facilitate a range of strategic knowledge options and global best practices that will enable Kazakhstan to respond to current and emerging development opportunities and challenges in a well-informed and timely manner.
The KEEP is defined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the government and ADB. The MOU provides the framework (outlining the objective and scope, areas of focus, implementation arrangements, and monitoring and evaluation measures) and commits the parties to share the cost of a range of knowledge and experience-sharing activities during 2013-2015 with total financing of $2.5 million. The
ADB's participation in the KEEP will be through three technical assistance (TA) operations. ADB financing in each of these TA operations will complement 50% of the government's cost share. It will commence with Phase 1 in 2013 with an estimated cost of $500,000. Financing of the KEEP will increase to $1.0 million per annum during 2014-2015 with ADB providing $500,000 and the government providing the other $500,000 annually.
This proposed policy and advisory TA will finance Phase 1 of the KEEP in 2013.
The impact of this TA will be enhanced policy formulation capacity of the government to support its medium and long-term development strategies. The expected outcome will be strengthened government capacity and awareness of best practices in the selected areas.
As part of the KEEP, this TA will support subprojects at the macro, sector, and thematic level that facilitate or promote knowledge solutions, capacity development, and exchange of global best practices. Because of the dynamic and unforeseeable nature of government demand for knowledge products and advisory services, the subprojects of the TA and the implementation approach will be flexible in order for the TA to effectively respond to the country's urgent requirements in a timely manner.
The subprojects to be financed will therefore remain tentative to accommodate that flexibility to provide the scope for adjustment and allow for quick response. While some of the subprojects have been discussed between the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning (MEBP) and ADB during the KEEP preparation, other subprojects will be firmed up during TA implementation.
The criteria for selecting a subproject would be that it (i) supports priority government policy reforms and is consistent with the CPS; (ii) is related to implementation of the government development strategy; (iii) is considered as an emerging, urgent, and high-priority area where ADB can add value; (iv) shows evidence of strong government ownership; and (v) complements or synergizes the knowledge support of ADB and other development partners.
The main outputs of the TA will be under the categories of policy advisory and capacity development and include (i) submission of analytical reports to the government, and (ii) completion of a capacity development program.
Effective coordination of the executing agency with stakeholders is important for successful implementation of the TA. It is assumed that there will be (i) consistent government demand for ADB's knowledge products and services, (ii) effective coordination by the MEBP in leading the subproject selection and review process, (iii) strong collaboration and support from all relevant stakeholders, and (iv) reliable and accurate data and information are made available. The potential risks are that (i) lack of coordination between development partners may lead to duplication of activities, and (ii) frequent changes in government priorities may result in ineffective use of policy recommendations.