Report to the Government of Kazakhstan: Policies for Industrial and Service Diversification in Asia in the 21st Century

Publication | October 2013

In 2011, the Government of Kazakhstan requested policy advice from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on how to further diversify the economy and on how to modernize its industrial policy. The government was likewise keen to learn from the experiences on diversification and industrialization policies of both developed economies and other economies, including Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and the United States

The economy of Kazakhstan has performed remarkably well since gaining independence in 1991, with per capita income approaching $13,000. This excellent performance has been the result of both sound macroeconomic policies and a favorable investment climate. However, Kazakhstan's economy remains heavily dependent on oil, and this dependence is increasing. While in 2000, petroleum accounted for 50% of total exports, by 2010 it represented 61%. Moving forward, Kazakhstan's strategic development objective is long-term sustainability, which requires diversifying the economy and upgrading the human capital base. Starting in 2010, the Government of Kazakhstan has put in place new programs to increase economic diversification.

This report analyzes the degree of diversification of Kazakhstan's economy during the last 15 years. Using export data, the report documents that, surprisingly, in 2010 Kazakhstan exported fewer products with comparative advantage (the measure of diversification used in this report) than it did one decade ago. Second, the report summarizes the experiences and lessons of Australia, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and the United States, in modernizing industrial policy tools. And third, the report emphasizes that given that industrial policy should be stage-of-development dependent, Kazakhstan should implement a modern indirect industrial policy program and a risk-management framework, through the financial markets.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Part I
  • Part II
  • Appendix
  • References