The value of innovative strategic knowledge solutions and global best practices are accepted as crucial factors for socioeconomic advancement. For Kazakhstan, this is underscored in the country's Kazakhstan-2030 and Kazakhstan-2050 strategies. 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 strategic documents highlight the need for Kazakhstan to effectively apply knowledge solutions and 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 extensive experience in knowledge management across Asia and the Pacific, the Government of Kazakhstan (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 solutions and global best practices that will enable Kazakhstan to respond to current and future 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; the total budget of the KEEP is $2.5 million. The ADB's participation in the KEEP is through three technical assistance (TA) operations. ADB financing in each of these TA operations complements 50% of the government's cost share. Phase 1 with an approved budget of $500,000 commenced in June 2013 after the signing of the MOU by the Minister of Economy and Budget Planning and ADB Vice-President. During implementation of subsequent Phases 2 and 3 financing of the KEEP increases up to $1.0 million per Phase.
This policy and advisory TA finances Phase 1 of the KEEP in 2013-2016.
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 selected areas.
As part of the KEEP, this TA supports subprojects at the macro, sector, and thematic levels that facilitate and promote knowledge solutions, capacity development, and exchange of global best practices. Due to a dynamic and unforeseeable nature of the government's demand for knowledge products and advisory services, the government and ADB agreed that a list of subprojects under the TA and the implementation approach will be flexible in order to allow the TA to effectively respond to the government's urgent requests in a timely manner.
The criteria for selecting a subproject are that it (i) supports the government's priority policy reforms and is consistent with the CPS; (ii) is related to implementation of the government's development strategies; (iii) is considered as an urgent and high-priority area where ADB can add value; (iv) shows evidence of strong government ownership; and (v) complements ADB and development partners' other knowledge activities.
The main outputs of the TA are under the categories of policy advisory and capacity development and include (i) analytical reports with policy recommendations for the government, and (ii) capacity development activities.
Effective coordination of the TA by the executing agency and beneficiaries is important for successful implementation of the current and subsequent TAs under the KEEP. It is assumed that there will be (i) consistent government demand for ADB's knowledge products and services, (ii) effective coordination by the executing agency in leading selection of potential subprojects and re