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Fondy Global enters Kazakh market

Thu, 2017-04-20 01:01

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – International online merchant service provider Fondy Global has entered the Kazakh market. The local partner company bought its franchise at the end of last month.

CEO of Fondy Global Andrey Voronin

“We received several requests for cooperation from Kazakhstan. In addition, we very positively assess the dynamics of the growth of the e-commerce market in the short and medium term. Thus, relying on these factors at the beginning of this year, we decided to start working with one of the partners with whom we already had joint projects. The peculiarity of our business model in Kazakhstan is that we usually cooperate in such formats as an affiliate programme or white label, but in this case we decided to try the franchise model,” said Fondy Global CEO Andrey Voronin, reported Kapital.kz.

According to company representatives, the Kazakh e-commerce market is the most promising in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The average check in 2016 compared to 2015 increased 31 percent, while in Russia and Ukraine the growth was only 6 percent and in Belarus it decreased 5 percent.

“The active growth of the e-commerce market in Kazakhstan entails the emergence of needs in both new technological and financial solutions. First of all, the advantages of Fondy are high technology and reliability of payment technologies. In 2016, our customers on average grew 1.5-2 times faster than their country’s market thanks to the active use of our know-how and this tells us that we are on the right track. Fondy will also provide assistance to online entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan in the integration into the international markets of Europe and Asia,” said Voronin.

Fondy has offices in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The local e-commerce market is expected to grow rapidly, said Voronin.

“In Kazakhstan, only 11-12 percent of users make purchases online, despite the significant amount of card issuance and a wide range of other payment methods, such as electronic wallets and transfers. Also, the share of e-commerce in the retail structure is only about 1 percent, while, for example, in Germany it is about 12 percent and in the United Kingdom it is 15 percent. Therefore, we expect an active growth of the audience of Internet buyers in Kazakhstan in the coming years. I think that your e-commerce market can grow four-five times from the current in the next three-five years,” he added.

The financial technology industry has been developing dynamically in Kazakhstan over the last two-three years.

“We plan to actively involve the players of the fintech market, including those who previously worked only in offline mode,” said Voronin.

Fondy Global is working for the third year in the CIS market.

“Within this business model, the partner is responsible for registering a legal entity and buying a domain name, negotiating with banks for further contracting for the organisation of processing, ensuring organisational work (attracting customers, signing contracts, opening accounts) and marketing. In their turn, our experts provide a technical platform, integrate with banks, set up financial processes in the backoffice for settlements with customers and support clients,” said Fondy Global CIO Maxim Kozenko.

 

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French Film Festival to be held in Astana and Almaty

Thu, 2017-04-20 00:56

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

The eighth French Cinema Today film festival, which traditionally presents the audience with the best novelties of French cinema, will be held April 22-25 in Kazakhstan. The festival will be presented for the first time in two cities, Astana and Almaty.

French Film festival in Astana and Almaty

The programme will include films of various genres: adventure, biopics, comedies with Pierre Richard and Christian Clavier, a melodrama with Catherine Deneuve and the Oscar nominated animated movie “Life of a Marrow.” The audience will also see 15 short films.

“Dalida,” a biography directed by Lisa Azuelos, recounts the life of the singer and actress from her birth in 1933 until her tragic passing in 1987 in Cairo.

“In the Forests of Siberia,” an adventure directed by Safi Nebbu, is about a hero named Teddy, who was always attracted by freedom and decided to live away from a noisy world in a lonely hut near the ice-bound banks of Baikal Lake. One night, lost in a snowstorm, he is saved by Alexei, who has been hiding from authorities in the Siberian forests for many years.

The comedy “If I Were a Man,” directed by Audrey Dana, wonders who has not tried to imagine oneself, at least for a day, in the shoes of the opposite sex. It happened to Jeanne and her story is about hot and wildly funny situations, panic and deep meditation. The heroine will try to somehow get out of this very unconventional situation.

“My Life as a Zucchini,” an animated film directed by Claude Barras, tells the story of a nice boy who feels terribly lonely after his mother’s death. Zucchini still does not know what to expect from life in the orphanage. When you are 10, there is still so much to learn and experience, especially if you have good friends, are in love and may be even be happy.

The comedy “Mr. Stein Goes Online,” was directed by Stéphane Robelin. Pierre is widowed, retired and now with the help of Alex, a young man hired by his daughter, discovers the Internet. A young woman with whom he communicates on a dating site asks him on a date. All is great, except he used Alex’s photo for the profile picture.

“I and You,” a melodrama directed by Maarten Provo, is the story of Claire, the embodiment of honesty and integrity. She is an obstetrician and her whole life has been serving people. The threat of the maternity hospital closing is very troubling to her. Everything really collapses, however, when Beatrice invades her life. The eccentric woman, her father’s former mistress, is selfish and the exact opposite of Claire.

The opening ceremony in Almaty and the closing one in Astana, as well as the screenings, will take place as usual at the Arman Cinemas, the main venue of the festival organised by UniFrance and its partners, the French Embassy in Kazakhstan and the Alliance Française.

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Modern micro district to be built for young families in Taraz

Thu, 2017-04-20 00:47

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Young families and couples in Taraz will now be able to purchase an apartment in a new residential area with modern infrastructure. The Zhambyl region administration had a look at a master plan and micro district miniature.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“The residential complex should appear at the entrance to the regional centre from the north, along the Western Europe – Western China international highway. The Taraz city master plan adopted until 2025 includes almost 6,000 hectares of land in the surrounding areas, expanding the city in the northwestern direction, including the coastal part of the Talas River and creating a recreational zone,” according to the city administration’s report.

New micro districts with new modern high-rise buildings will occupy 462 hectares of land. Architects have detailed design projects, while engineering infrastructure projects are still being developed.

A new residential area to be located on a ​​100-hectare parcel will become one of the attractive residential spots for young people, according to National Association of Construction Industry chief Mukhit Azerbayev. Housing with yards will be isolated from transit pedestrian flows and public transport. Commercial infrastructure facilities, such as banks, pharmacies, fitness centres and shops, will be located on the first floors of buildings. The design is intended to create a waterfront with rest areas along the Talas River.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“The eastern entrance to Taraz will be decorated with two nine-storey multifunctional buildings with offices, hotel and restaurants. Shopping and entertainment centres and big-box stores, as well as a supermarket, will be available on the flanks of the residential area. Walking areas and green lawns will appear in the centre. There is a proposal to place a stele symbolising the aspirations of generations to the future, development and progress. At the same time, it will serve as the basis for the hinged screw structure of the junction bridge pedestrian walkway. The upper level will be designed for recreational use and the lower one for bicycle riders, which will ensure security,” said Azerbayev.

The designers have offered to organise a park zone, which will be decorated by the Wedding Palace. The builders will construct two schools for 1,200 students and three pre-schools for 250 children and an additional 177 spots for pre-schoolers will be placed on the ground floors of the residential buildings. The micro district is positioned as a centre for living, leisure and recreation for young people.

“There are plans to build 355,000 square metres of housing with 5,460 apartments in 49 houses. The district is designed for 15,600 people. In addition to residential buildings and educational institutions, residents will be provided with a number of medical facilities, including rehabilitation and diagnostic centres, an oncological dispensary and polyclinic,” said the report.

Photo credit: inform.kz

Zhambyl region Akim (Governor) Karim Kokrekbayev has instructed to clarify some of the details and make changes and additions to the project. In addition, he proposed creating a technical council to coordinate comments and work on refinements and proposals. In general, the project received a positive evaluation.

As expected, the ambitious micro district will give the regional centre a new architectural look while solving the problems of population growth and traffic flow.

During the years of Kazakh independence, multi-storey micro districts with the symbolic names Astana and Baiterek have appeared in Taraz. The residential areas have appropriate infrastructure and social facilities.

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Aktobe region teacher establishes ostrich farm

Thu, 2017-04-20 00:03

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A teacher of physical education from the Aktobe region breeds African ostriches in his back yard.

Sailaubek Matayev brought 20 exotic chicks in the summer of last year from the Samara region of Russia. Together, with his brother they took a loan under the Road Map of Employment Programme. Each bird cost 68,000 tenge (US$218).

Everyone has been predicting that birds will not survive the harsh winter. But the brothers did not leave their idea and provided the nestlings with proper care. There were losses due to the lack of previous experience, but, fortunately, insignificant. As a result, the chicks not only survived, but also got stronger. Now their height is around 1.6 metres.

“They still have to grow. They will be only one year old soon, most importantly, the winter is over, and they have already adapted to our climatic conditions,” said Matayev.

He says he is doing everything to prevent their death. In this period you need to be patient, he adds. One more year is needed for them to produce their first eggs. This African breed is recognised as the best in terms of egg-laying and also considered a long-liver. The entrepreneur believes his expenses should pay off.

In addition to their meat and eggs, their feathers and skin also have a good price. The siblings from the rural district believe an ostrich farm is a very real and profitable project.

But Matayev does not hide that there are complications. He buys the food for the birds at the market and it is not cheap. He does not complain, but he hopes for additional state subsidies to expand production.

The farmer plans to buy a dozen ostriches and 30-40 quails. He has appealed to local authorities to provide land for the expansion of a subsidiary farm. He believes that it would be a good idea to establish an exotic ostrich park near the village in natural conditions, especially since the Bulak rural district is located near the international route and is included in the tourist route of the region. It is located around 50 kilometres from Aktobe.

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Power station’s heat allows unique fish farm in Karaganda

Wed, 2017-04-19 01:13

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Natur Produkt farm has been culturing rainbow trout at the Topar Lake 40 kilometres from Karaganda since last year. Close proximity to Karaganda GRES 2 power station creates unique conditions for fish culturists, Forbes.kz reports.

Almas Taubayev. Photo credit: Sergei Buyanov

Thermal release from the power station’s refrigeration allows maintaining the temperature that does not go below 17 degrees at a one-hectare big pond and without any expenses.

The power station’s work method proposes a year-round drain of warm and clean water from turbine refrigeration into the lake. A portion of water gets into a pond via sluices set up inside a drainage way. This is how a practically tropic climate is being maintained, the news report said.

Even when the temperature outside drops to a freezing minus 30 degrees below zero, water maintains 12 degrees plus temperature due to the pond channel. These hothouse conditions combine the advantages of surface and enclosed body of water. Fish grows all year round in an artificial reservoir while its living conditions are no different than natural ones. A fresh wind blowing over a pond while enriching water with oxygen is especially important.

“Winds here are strong to the extent where a pontoon blow off from water surface and tore a steel-wire rope. On the other hand fish can breathe easily and freely. This is as important for development as feeding quality. That is why we move them out to the lake when it becomes hot in summer. We turn aerating contrivance on for additional air incorporation with oxygen if water temperature rises above 18 degrees,” Head of Natur Produkt Almas Taubayev says, according to Forbes.kz.

The fish are hand fed. There are also long-term plans to automate feeding. In the meantime, the 18-member staff of the farm enjoy feeding the fish.

Photo credit: Forbes.kz

“It is a great pleasure to walk around and feed the fish. Any kinds of stress go away when you see how they become liven up and gambol in water,” the director notes.

The first batch has now grown to 40 centimetres in length and weights 1.5 kilogrammes. Local processers have slowly begun to process the batch. The weight starting 1.5 kilogrammes to 5 kilogrammes is usually considered as marketable, the news website writes.

The farm plans to start selling live fish in May. For costumers to access the freshest product, fishbowls will be available in Karaganda’s retail store chains.

The farm plans to produce 50 tonnes of trout this year and reach 100 tonnes next year. During the first stage, Natur Produkt intends to limit supply only to Karaganda and perhaps Astana and go further when they have their own production facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kazakhstan’s national futsal team reaches UEFA Euro Futsal 2018

Wed, 2017-04-19 01:09

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s national futsal team made it through the April 8 and 11 qualifying round of the European Championship in Almaty.

Photo credit: sports.kz

Team Kazakhstan competed in the Almaty Arena Stadium against teams from Denmark, Czechia and Macedonia to secure a berth in the championship of the continent branded UEFA Euro Futsal.

Team Kazakhstan, the previous European Championship’s bronze medallist, was a favourite in this quartet. However, at the press conference preceding the tournament, the team coach made it clear his team should not underestimate the opponents.
“We have a very interesting group. Look at the teams that got here, there are no obvious outsiders. All of them can claim first or second place. I do not think the team of Kazakhstan is the favourite of the group. Every match will be difficult for us,” said Kazakh national team head coach Jose Alesio.

The tournament kicked off with a Kazakhstan versus Macedonia match. The two teams started off slow, but soon Leo of the Kazakh team stepped up. First, Leo, considered one of team Kazakhstan’s leaders caught the Macedonian goalkeeper off guard by a near corner goal after a throw-in. Then, this Kazakh player who plays for Sporting, in a quick counter-attack, brought the ball to the almost empty net in front of Serik Zhamankulov, who just had to do anything but miss. The final 3-0 score for the national team of Kazakhstan was earned by Albert Akbalikov in the 33rd minute.

In the next match, Kazakhstan competed against team Denmark. A lot was clear in this match by the end of the first half as well. By this time, the home team were leading 4-0, and after the break they secured the win. Dinmukhambet Suleimenov also got a chance to distinguish himself in the last seconds, making the final score 5-0. The team’s goalkeeper Igita also made several spectacular saves during the second half, after which the audience chanted his name for a long time.

The final game was played between Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic, which, like Kazakhstan, had two wins from the first two games at the tournament. Thus, this match determined which team would take first place in Group F and get through to the European Championship, and which one would have to compete in the play-offs to get to the Championship.

Kazakh players, supported by the fans, took a confident win. As early as the first half, the well-placed shots by Mikhail Pershin and Douglas brought the home team to the top. The Czechs made more attacks in the second half, but the goalkeeper of Kazakhstan’s national team played well. During the last minutes of the match, Douglas, taking advantage of the Czech team’s mistake, tackled the ball and hit the empty net. Thus, he secured the score 3-0 for the national team of Kazakhstan.

“We knew the match would be very tough, so we prepared hard for it. Any team wants to show their best play. I would like to praise my players for their professionalism. The guys analysed the tactics of the opponents all day, and I’m doubly pleased. We did an excellent job. I would also like to thank our fans for the great atmosphere, for their support to the team in every match,” said Alesio.

For the second time in its history, team Kazakhstan will take part in the Europe’s main tournament. The tournament will include 12 teams and will be played Jan. 30 to Feb. 10, 2018 in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

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Kazakhstan’s embrace of diversity helps build national unity

Wed, 2017-04-19 01:02

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

A strong sense of national identity is perhaps the most important resource a country can have. Societies which possess these feelings of pride and belonging can grasp opportunities more easily and, perhaps even more importantly, work together to overcome challenges.

We see this national resilience in action around the world in the face of natural disasters or, all too frequently today, when terrorism strikes. Where there is a clear national identity, societies respond to such outrages calmly and with increased solidarity, which prevents the divisions and fear which are, of course, the aim of the terrorists.

In the past, national identity was perhaps easier to shape. When the global flow of people was much slower and less common, countries were more likely to be made up of those with similar ethnic backgrounds, experiences and language. But that’s no longer the case. With widespread migration, the challenge many countries have faced is maintaining or forging a strong sense of national identity from a much more diverse population.

The United States, whose population is overwhelmingly made up of immigrants who moved to build a new life, is a clear example of how this can be achieved. In its own way, Kazakhstan, too, has a huge amount in which to take pride.

From a population made up of a bewildering variety of nationalities and ethnic groupings – many of whom were forced to settle here – a cohesive society has been created in which all, regardless of background, are valued and can make their full contribution. It has enabled our country to plot a distinctive course, both domestically and internationally, over the last 25 years.

It is a sense of national identity deeply rooted in our land, our traditions, shared experiences and values. These links, as President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in his seminal opinion, “Course towards the future: modernisation of Kazakhstan’s identity,” must be protected and nurtured. It would be reckless to throw them away as they are the foundation on which our success has been built.

But it is also important, as the President added, that we don’t fool ourselves into thinking our national identity should be frozen. With change accelerating in our world, the nations who will be best able to cope and thrive in the decades ahead will be those with the courage to continue changing themselves. This includes taking the steps necessary to strengthen and modernise their national identities by being ready to shed those aspects which are out-of-date and will increasingly act as barriers to progress.

It is why together with programmes already begun to diversify and strengthen our economy and speed up political reform, the President has now set out a clear vision to modernise Kazakhstan’s sense of national identity along with concrete steps to help deliver this ambition. It is another sign of the determination to ensure the country is fit and ready to chart its way through what is a globally uncertain era.

It is an identity which, in some ways, will strengthen those connections with our past experience. There is nothing new, for example, about making sure our economy and way of life are sustainable. Living in tune with our environment, husbanding resources for future generations, was what our ancestors did naturally for centuries.

In the past, too, those who lived on land were open to new ideas and influences. Kazakhstan was then, as it is now, a place where cultures and civilisations met. This openness has, of course, also been one of the defining characteristics of modern Kazakhstan in its first 25 years and a major reason for our success.

But it is an approach we can’t take for granted. We have to have a willingness to continue to look and respond to what is happening beyond our borders. Unless countries are ready to learn and adapt from what we see, they will find themselves ill-prepared both for global storms which inevitably hit or to take advantage of new opportunities which change brings.

This requires, as we have said before, continued investment in education. It also needs confidence to keep modernising our national identity while preserving what makes our country and people special. It is the definition of a modern patriotism and a country which looks to the future with confidence.

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Kazakhstan’s anti-corruption legislation may become model for post-Soviet countries, say experts

Wed, 2017-04-19 00:55

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Transparency International, the leading civil society organisation fighting corruption worldwide, released its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) at the end of January concerning the level of perceived corruption for 176 countries. Kazakhstan’s score improved by one point to 29, moving the nation from 135th to 131st place.

Riccardo Pelizzo

The Kazakh government has paid considerable attention to fighting corruption in contrast to many governments that in the past few years have paid little attention to curbing it, according to Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Professor Riccardo Pelizzo.

“One of the key messages that Transparency International highlighted in presenting its CPI scores for 2016 was that the number of countries in which corruption had increased from 2015 to 2016 exceeded the number of countries in which the level of corruption had instead declined. Transparency International marked that it was a worrisome result and urged governments to be more committed to curbing corruption,” he told The Astana Times.

“Kazakhstan’s commitment to fighting corruption is testified by several of the steps taken by the government of Kazakhstan in recent years. From the moment of gaining independence, Kazakhstan has purposefully and consistently attempted to adopt international standards, mechanisms and institutions to monitor, detect, sanction and deter corruption,” he added.

A programme to combat corruption with the application of concrete measures to eliminate the causes and conditions of corruption was implemented in 2001. The anti-corruption measures are included in a number of legislative acts regulating public procurement, taxation, customs, licensing and other areas. Kazakhstan has joined the United Nations Convention against Corruption and is an active member of anti-corruption networks.

Given the country’s commitment to fighting corruption, both the Worldwide Governance Indicators and Global Competitiveness Index acknowledged in 2015 that the level of corruption in Kazakhstan had decreased, while the estimates generated by Transparency International indicated there was no difference in the level from 2012-2015. The result for some commentators was somewhat inconsistent with all the anti-corruption activities the authorities conducted.

“The newly-released 2016 CPI shows, however, that even Transparency International now acknowledges that the level of corruption in Kazakhstan has declined and/or is declining. The decline is not large. Kazakhstan’s score increased by one point from 28 to 29.  Nonetheless, this small improvement in the CPI score represents a step in the right direction. It means that Kazakhstan is doing the right thing and that the international community is taking notice that Kazakhstan is on the right track,” said Pelizzo.

The 2012-2015 anti-corruption strategy focused on shifting from punishing to preventing corruption, said Zhuldyz Davletbayeva, head of the anti-corruption research scientific centre at the President’s Academy of Public Administration. A law “On preventing corruption” has for the first time provided such institutions as preventing corruption, anti-corruption monitoring, corruption risks analysis and forming an anti-corruption culture.

Zhuldyz Davletbayeva

Through implementing large-scale reforms as part of the 100 Concrete Steps, the approaches and nature of the modern anti-corruption legislation have dramatically changed. Kazakh legislation in the field of preventing corruption has become, in fact, a model for post-Soviet countries, experts claim.

The commission on fighting against corruption under the President and the Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Fighting Corruption are essential to effectively applying the anticorruption strategy.

“The anti-corruption national bureau [at the Agency] was created for realisation of powers on the criminal law measures to prevent corruption. It actively prosecutes corruption-related crimes. For example, the number of individuals prosecuted for mediating a bribe increased by 200 percent in the period 2012-2015 and the number of individuals prosecuted for offering bribes increased by 226 percent in the same time span, while the number of individuals prosecuted for accepting a bribe increased by 132 percent,” she said.

Kazakhstan is hoping to reduce the level of corruption even more in 2017. In his annual address to the nation, President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted the need to intensify efforts in identifying and eliminating the causes of corruption. Many anti-corruption efforts will depend on the whole society’s active participation. With the growth of social networks and other media resources, growing and comprehensive non-acceptance should be a powerful tool in combating corruption.

“It means that Kazakhstan will continue to implement policies that it has already launched, will have to launch new initiatives and will have a chance to showcase to its citizens and to the international community the results it has achieved so far. Better communication of what Kazakhstan has been able to achieve in the fight against corruption will be essential to changing the level of perceived corruption,” said Davletbayeva.

 

 

 

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Prosecutor’s office launches website allowing citizens to assess doctors’ performance

Tue, 2017-04-18 08:50

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Almaty prosecutor’s office has launched almatymed.kz to allow local residents to assess the work of polyclinics and their medical staff, 24.kz reports.

“The new website was developed to increase the availability of relevant and useful information about the healthcare system and legal rights in Almaty, as well as to provide feedback in the form of a response, complaint, rating, e-mail, photo or video materials,” according to project initiators.

Anyone will be able to express gratitude or leave a complaint to medical institutions and doctors, which will be used to determine their performance rating. Future patients will have an opportunity to choose a suitable specialist online.

As noted, the main difference from social networks is that a new website is a kind of database. All reviews will be concentrated on one page, hospitals will be able to receive feedback, and the prosecutor’s office will respond quickly to violations in the health sector. Last year, about 500 complaints about the city’s medical organisations were received from the citizens. This was twice as much as the previous year.

“The more such problems arise, the more people will leave Kazakhstan and seek medical assistance abroad, leaving money there. Therefore, as a human rights agency, taking into account all these problems and negatives, we initiated the introduction of an information system, which will work for the benefit of society improving healthcare system development,” Almaty Deputy Prosecutor Zhandos Umiraliyev said.

In turn, executive director of the Almaty Clinics Association Rassul Dyussenov also shared his opinion on this matter.

“I think that we will not get any short-term results in the next 2-3 months. However, I think we will see adequate ratings of medical organisations and specialists within a year. We will get an appropriate assessment of their work based on feedback,” Dyussenov said.

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WorldSkills Kazakhstan regional contest winners determined in Taldykorgan

Tue, 2017-04-18 08:47

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – A regional practical stage of the two-day contest for professional skills was held recently at the Taldykorgan College of Service and Technology and the College of Industrial Industry and New Technologies. The contest included students in such specialties as welding, cooking, hairdressing, modeling and clothing design.

Photo credit: Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs

“In the conditions of building an innovative economy and modernisation of vocational education, this contest is becoming especially relevant,” said Chairperson of the Regional Council of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Almaty region Rimma Salykova.

“One of the priority directions of the development of the country’s vocational education in recent years is improvement of the conditions to identify the talented and gifted working youth. We think that the heroes of today’s time should be young people, the representatives of the working profession. Because our business lacks simple workers, professionals in their field,” she stressed.

Some 44 students had to perform various competitive tasks to show proficiency in their areas of expertise.

Almaty region Deputy Akim (governor) Zhaksylyk Omar noted that the competitions of professional skills should be held more often and on a large scale.

“The Almaty region is one of the largest regions in Kazakhstan with more than 70 vocational-technical colleges. Forty-four students are participating today in the contest but taking into account our capabilities, the number of participants should be even greater. We should try to show ourselves at the national and international championships and get representatives of our region inside the national team of Kazakhstan,” he said during the awarding ceremony.

Experts at the regional contest had the chance to award all the participants and winners of the contest with certificates. The winner of the Grand Prix of the competition in cooking was a student from the Almaty Regional College of Innovative Technologies in the Field of Service and Nutrition Yerassyl Argynbek; the winner in the category welding technology was Igor Kim from Bastobinsk Service College; the winner in clothing and modeling was Gulzhan Kabidolla from the Kapshagai Multi-Disciplinary College and the winner of the hairdressing art category, Taldykorgan College of Service and Technology student Madina Bapova.

The event was organised by the Education Department of the Almaty Oblast (region) and the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

All the winners will advance to the national contest WorldSkills Kazakhstan.
 

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Education, individuals are the keys to Kazakhstan’s continuing success

Tue, 2017-04-18 08:42

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

Investment in our young people has been one of the guiding principles of Kazakhstan since the earliest days of independence. The Bolashak programme, set up as far back as 1993, was, for example, a powerful symbol of our new country’s confidence and belief in the power of education as well as our openness to outside ideas.

A society lacking confidence in the future would not have had the courage to send its brightest young people to be educated abroad. Kazakhstan has reaped rich rewards from the thousands of students who have returned to work here after learning at some of the world’s best universities.

At the same time, we have seen investment in our home-grown educational institutes along with the imposition of high academic standards and recruitment of top-class staff. The result is that our universities now have a fast-growing reputation and are attracting students not just from Kazakhstan but from neighbouring countries.

But as President Nursultan Nazarbayev said April 12 in his much-discussed opinion “Course towards the future: modernisation of Kazakhstan’s identity”, if education is to drive Kazakhstan’s continued success, it must also be universal. Our ambitions rest on ensuring that all our young people – indeed the entire workforce – have the skills, knowledge and qualities needed to make a positive mark on the 21st Century.

The reasons are clear. We live in an era where the world of work is faster than ever. Industries will disappear or transform. Entire professions will become redundant. Giving people the ability to find a role in the modern economy and to adapt as sectors and professions change will be essential to both individual and national prosperity.

This is one of the major challenges facing all countries not just Kazakhstan. The societies which thrive economically, socially and in terms of global influence, will be those which find and put in place the right answers. It is why the investment that Kazakhstan is making in education – among the highest globally as a share of government spending – is so important.

What was also interesting was that the President saw the solution as education in its widest form. He made clear, of course, just how essential doctors and engineers were to the country’s future. But he also stressed the importance of the humanities and promised to increase support for them in our universities.

As well as those with scientific skills, we need, he said, those “who understand modernity and the future well.” His call to translate the most influential texts in this area into Kazakh for pupils to have ready access to them also underlined the roles that schools will play in building this knowledge.

Ensuring the young generation can compete globally is also, of course, behind the new emphasis given to English in schools. And it will be helped as well by the gradual switch to the Latin alphabet for the Kazakh language.

There will, the President said, be nothing sudden about this change. It will follow the evolutionary approach which has served Kazakhstan well in so many areas since independence. But he made clear that, within a decade, he wanted the change to be underway.

Along with computer literacy and knowledge of foreign languages, he put cultural openness at the heart of the Digital Kazakhstan programme. This includes an ambition for our country to be known not just for its rich natural resources and its remarkable success in the foreign policy arena but also for its cultural achievements.

He rightly pointed out the major part that Hollywood and American culture as a whole has played in growing and maintaining its influence and stature in the world. It has been a key factor in the appeal of U.S. soft power.

No country can compete, of course, with the universal attraction of American music or films. But Kazakhstan has been perhaps too shy at promoting the achievements of its artists, entrepreneurs and scientists beyond its borders. It has perhaps too often relied instead on statistics to showcase its progress internationally.

Dry data, no matter how impressive, is not, however as powerful as human stories for communication. By identifying Kazakhs whose personal stories could help give these achievements colour and life, we can more successfully promote Kazakhstan around the world. The initiative will have another benefit. It will also provide clear role models for our own young people to emulate. By raising their ambitions, it will, in turn, create more success stories and faster progress.

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Astana Opera House presents new concert format

Tue, 2017-04-18 05:25

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The “Fantastic” symphony and concert featuring Italian oboist Gianfranco Bortolato premiered April 15 at the Astana Opera House.

First oboe at the La Scala Opera House, the Royal Theatre of Turin and the Roman Opera, Bortolato performed a Richard Strauss concert for oboe and orchestra with the Astana Opera symphonic orchestra in the first part of the programme.

The “Fantastic” symphony was presented in the second part of the programme. A composition titled “An episode in the Life of an Artist in Five Parts” is one of the most popular works written by great French romantic composer Hector Berlioz. The symphony is considered to be autobiographical as the composer was inspired by his love for Irish actress Harriet Smithson.

The symphony consists of five parts including “Reveries – Passions,” “A Ball,” “Scene in the Fields,” “March to the Scaffold,” “Dream of the Night of the Sabbath.”

“Berlioz’s works were definitely ahead of his time. Many composers used a stunning phantasmagoria in the plot, interesting musical findings, formulas, genre synthesis, which can be found in his works later,” according to a release from the theatre.

Conductor Abzal Mukhitdinov said that this symphony has something theatrical in its essence and is an example of how vivid pictures and images can be created by music.

“This music excites the imagination. And it’s a real revelation for many people. It is an unusual music format. For example, in the third part we hear how the oboe sounds from the auditorium. There is a transformation of the beloved woman theme in the finale part. The waltz that sounded at the ball is transformed into the wild dance of witches,” said Mukhitdinov.

 

 

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Kazakh PM promotes IT cooperation during U.S. visit

Tue, 2017-04-18 05:20

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA­­ – Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev discussed opportunities for cooperation within Kazakhstan’s third stage modernisation with leading American innovation companies during an April 11-14 visit to the United States.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz

During visits to  New York and San Francisco, Sagintayev promoted cooperation in IT technologies, engineering, energy, mining, chemical, food and processing, telecommunications, transport, construction and education.

In San Francisco, Sagintayev witnessed the signing of an agreement between Kazakh National Infocommunication Holding Zerde, Almaty’s Autonomous Cluster Fund “Park of Innovative Technologies” (ACF PIT) and Global Venture Alliance (GVA) to open an innovation office in Silicon Valley.

The office will facilitate information exchange between Kazakhstan and Silicon Valley, help develop Kazakh start-ups in the region and access the latest innovations and companies to develop business and attract investment in Kazakhstan.

Also in San Francisco, the prime minister participated in the Project: Collider technology forum, where he urged innovation companies to participate in Kazakhstan’s economic modernisation.

Sagintayev also met during his trip to the United States with representatives of the United States’ largest financial institutions, including Citigroup, MasterCard, Berkley, Morgan Stanley, Black Rock, Goldman Sachs, rating agencies Standard&Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and Fitch Group, as well as Greylock Capital Management, American International Group (AIG), Guggenheim International, Alliance Bernstein, Public Capital Advisors and the Business Council of International Understanding (BCIU). The participants discussed the global economy, economic policy in Kazakhstan and opportunities to implement joint projects, attract investments, finance infrastructure projects and manage assets.

He also met with representatives of leading companies in artificial intelligence, education, financial and mobile technologies, emphasising that Kazakhstan needs to work with advanced companies and global venture funds to modernise its economy.

Sagintayev also discussed cooperation in the development of telecommunications infrastructure and the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) with former New York mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz

Following the meeting with Bloomberg, the parties also signed an agreement to open a Bloomberg office and TV channel in Astana.

Sagintayev also discussed efforts to attract new investments and technologies to Kazakhstan with leading U.S. companies, such as I Scuared Capital, General Electric, Grace, Robotti & Company Advisors, AGCO, AES, Black and Veatch and American Industrial Acquisition Corporation.

The prime minister also witnessed the signing of an agreement for launching organic food production with worldwide distributor of fruits Rahal Foods. Agreements on attracting investments into the production of technological equipment in Kazakhstan were reached during meeting with OSI Systems, Pfizer and GE Transportation.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz

Kazakh representatives also signed a memorandum of understanding between Zerde and Cisco to finance pilot projects on self-service kiosks to deliver public services in remote regions.

A memorandum was also signed following a visit to the IBM Watson West Centre in San Francisco between IBM and ACP PIT to create a laboratory within the start-up hub in Astana to research financial and smart city technologies for urban construction and operation management.

Sagintayev also met with Autodesk Vice President David Crane following which a memorandum of cooperation was signed between Autodesk and ACF PIT.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz

Bridgewest Group Chairperson Massih Tayebi also signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhtelecom to cooperate on acquiring equipment to develop large-scale internet access networks.

A meeting with Managing Partner at Learn Capital Partner Greg Mauro also resulted in a memorandum of cooperation with the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science’s Information and Analytical Centre to develop a pilot project on charter schools.

In California, Sagintayev also met Chairman of the Board of Chevron John Watson to discuss the situation and the forecasts regarding global oil markets, as well as the expansion of cooperation in oil and gas projects in Kazakhstan, as well as the Future Growth Project (FGP) at Tengiz oil field in the west of the country.

Sagintayev also visited the Tesla Motors’ office where he discussed innovative technologies in engineering, electric vehicle production and unmanned vehicle management.

 

 

 

 

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Kazakhstan attracts record amount of foreign investment in 2016

Tue, 2017-04-18 05:09

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – In 2016, the gross inflow of the foreign direct investments (FDI) in Kazakhstan reached new heights, growing 40 percent compared to 2015 and surpassing the previous record from 2008, according to the National Bank of Kazakhstan.

“The record inflow of foreign direct investment in 2016 was the main source of financing of Kazakhstan’s balance of payments,” according to a statement by the bank.

According to the financial regulator, in 2016 the gross inflow of FDI to Kazakhstan was $20.6 billion, while in 2015 it was $14.8 billion.

The gross inflow of FDI has been growing steadily since 2007, but declined by 17 percent in 2013. In 2014, the decrease slowed by 2 percent and in 2015 it fell even more – by 38 percent. So, last year’s result was particularly significant.

“One of the components of the FDI inflow was the earnings reinvested by non-residents. And their volume exceeded $4.9 billion in 2016. With the growth of incomes of joint Kazakhstan enterprises, foreign investors increased the share of their income left in the country to finance the production activity of enterprises,” the National Bank noted. In 2015, investors’ losses were $272 million.

During the last year, the participation of investors in capital of Kazakh enterprises by direct investment increased $5.1 billion against $3.8 billion in 2015, which is a 35 percent decrease, according to ranking.kz.

The volume of debts of Kazakh companies to foreign investors is $10.6 billion, or 5 percent less than in the previous year.

The main recipients of FDI were the mining industry, geological exploration and processing.

The growth of the indicator signals a return of interest from foreign investors, which weakened in 2013-2015 amid the crisis changes in the local economy, according to ranking.kz.

The top four investors include the Netherlands, the United States, Switzerland and France.

According to ranking.kz, last year the Netherlands showed a significant increase in interest in financing projects in Kazakhstan. The gross inflow of related investments increased by almost $2 billion, or 33 percent. But at the same time, the share of their investments in the structure of FDI decreased to 37 percent from 39 percent.

Direct investors from Switzerland also increased the inflow of funds into the economy of Kazakhstan by $724 million, their share in the gross volume of investments is 13 percent. Investors from the United States increased the volume of direct investments for the year by $652 million, but the share of their participation in the economy decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent.

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Kazakhstan to increase lamb exports to China

Tue, 2017-04-18 05:07

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakh authorities are planning to increase the volume of lamb exported to China by the end of April, said Vice Minister of Agriculture Gulmira Issayeva at a recent government meeting.

“Kazakhstan’s bid was shortlisted and the Main Directorate for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (MDQSIQ) decided to combine two inspection stages into one to reduce licensing procedures. We expect that in the second half of this year we will start real export of lamb,” she said.

Authorities have been hoping to start the real export of beef to the Chinese markets for years; however, after an epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in 2013, all previous efforts resulted in minimal export volumes of meat. Chinese MDQSIQ inspectors will arrive in Kazakhstan at the end of the month.

“Because Kazakhstan has huge potential for the production and supply of organic agricultural products, we agreed that international experts would arrive through the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Ministry of Agriculture of China to certify our products,” noted Issayeva.

“Every year, China spends $117 billion on food products,” said Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Deputy Chairperson Nurzhan Altayev. “One billion dollars is spent on meat. In addition, the Chinese are very interested in Kazakh meat products, legumes, beekeeping products and feed production. The Chinese are ready to invest in joint ventures.”

The average price for a kilogramme of beef in China is 3,100 tenge (US$10), while in Kazakhstan it is sold at about 1,500 tenge (US$4.80), according Kazakh Meat Union President Maksut Baktibayev.

Altayev made it clear the Atameken is willing to support Kazakh agricultural producers “wishing to enter the Chinese markets.” A special section, “Export to China,” has been created on the organisation’s website and social networks solely for that purpose.

In addition, the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture is planning to simplify the procedure to admit domestic enterprises to the Chinese market. Chinese specialists are currently the only ones permitted to inspect the produce; in the near future, however, the Ministry of Agriculture hopes local experts will be able to do it.

“We will evaluate the whole system of food safety and we hope that in the future, with the veterinary service of China, we can agree that either under the guarantee of our veterinary service or after recognising the results of the audit of our system, we could get the right to certify local produce ourselves so our enterprises would be able to work for export, which is a mechanism that we have with other countries, for example, within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU),” said Issayeva.

 

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Kazakh security agencies have prevented 12 terrorist attacks in recent years

Tue, 2017-04-18 05:02

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakh Special Forces prevented 12 terroristic and violent extremist acts in the nation in the past few years. Since the start of 2017, they have also been able to prevent a single citizen from leaving for overseas to be involved in terrorist activities, said National Security Committee Deputy Chairperson Nurgali Bilisbekov at a government session in the capital, reported Kapital.kz.

Photo credit: Kapital.kz

He added changes for the better emerged through prophylactic work, re-enforcing tolerant and religious awareness and immunity for ideological radicalism.

Preventive action on religious extremism has been enhanced at educational institutions, awareness-raising activities are being conducted via the E-Islam website, and the Akniet rehabilitation centre, which manages convicted radicals, is also operating.

“Target-focused prophylactics covered 32.1 percent of non-traditional religious movement adepts in 2016 and 90.7 percent for all years the programme was implemented from 2013-2017. The intentions of 91 Kazakhstan citizens to leave for abroad to take part in armed hostilities alongside international terrorist organisations were rendered abortive and supressed,” said Bilisbekov, according to the news website.

As a consequence of the work conducted, 81 students were returned to Kazakhstan and 177 people were diverted from travelling to theological facilities abroad. Committing terrorist and other violent extremist acts were shut out in the country during the reporting period. In total, 123 radicals were convicted for terroristic and religious-extremist crimes.

The forces were unable to prevent two terrorist acts committed by radicals last year in Aktobe and Almaty, according to Bilisbekov. As a result, conditions have been created to improve the safety of places vulnerable to terrorism.

The readiness of regional and field offices for response to terrorist threats and minimising and relieving the consequences of terrorism acts advanced from 89.9 percent to 91.7 percent, noted Kapital.kz.

“That being said, implementing the programme showed the need to develop action against religious extremism and terrorism. The analysis shows that the dynamics of citizens’ involvement in destructive religious movements is not decreasing. Radicalising the religious population of the country is going on, with counter propaganda of ideological radicalism remaining a problematic area. Young people, students and school pupils are a basic group overtaken by counterpropaganda. The unemployed are a covered share of other categories; the marginal part of society amounts to about 10 percent. There is a need to systematise and make a consistent effort by expository groups to dissuade the core audience susceptible to non-traditional and radical views,” he added.

 

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Scientists, Academics Discuss President’s Aim of Alphabet Switch, Raising Cultural Awareness

Tue, 2017-04-18 00:26

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Leading academic and cultural voices met in Astana to discuss the Kazakh President’s goal of shifting written Kazakh from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet within 10 years.

Alima Auanassova (in the middle)

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev set a target for completing the transition to the Latin alphabet by 2025 in an April 12 article published in official daily government newspaper Egemen Kazakhstan.

“The President’s foresight and vision of the possibilities, his ability to look beyond the horizon, gives us the prospect of further growth. This is the reformist spirit of our state. The transition from the Cyrillic to Latin alphabet is a gradual, objective and logical step,” said Chief Researcher of the Institute of State History Alima Auanassova at the April 15 roundtable on the President’s article, “Course towards the future: modernisation of Kazakhstan’s identity.”

“In Soviet times, during the transition from Latin to Cyrillic, people underwent a very difficult process. Our Kazakh society lost its literacy several times and was re-trained anew. Now many people are concerned with the question of how this transition passes. However, I consider this a necessary step because we must restore our connection with the Turkic people. We are an essential part of the Turkic world. We must convey our history and our culture in Latin records for their better perception,” she continued.

Among the Kazakh experts at the discussion at the National Museum of Kazakhstan were academician Orazak Smagulov, Academic Secretary of the National Academic Library Taldybek Nurpeis, Scientific Secretary of the Museum at the Palace of Peace and Accord Amanbek Mukashev and cultural figure Kuandyk Shamakaiuly. They and other representatives of the scientific community reviewed questions related to the article and coming tasks for its implementation.

In the article, the President outlined main directions for modernising the national identity in the 21st century and shared his vision of becoming a nation of intellectually aware and conscious people.

“The world is beginning a new, largely obscure historical cycle. It is impossible to occupy a place in an advanced group by preserving the previous model of consciousness and mentality. Therefore, it is important to concentrate, change ourselves and take the best of what the new era bears in itself through adaptation to changing conditions,” he said.

“The first condition for a new type of modernisation is the preservation of culture and its own national code. Without this, modernisation will turn into an empty sound. However, this does not mean the preservation of everything in the national consciousness. … The new modernisation should not, as before, look arrogantly at historical experience and traditions. On the contrary, it must make the best traditions a prerequisite, an important condition for the success of modernisation. Without reliance on national-cultural roots, modernisation will hang in the air. I want it to stand firmly on the ground. And this means that we should take into account our history and national traditions,” the Kazakh President outlined.

According to the President, major political and economic transformations should be outpaced by the modernisation of national identity. The major reform project announced two years ago assumes large-scale work to be accomplished by every citizen of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev believes.

The second part of the article consists of specific tasks, including the gradual transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet, setting goals for the implementation of new projects to support the humanities, translating 100 of the world’s best educational books in the Kazakh language, and other cultural and literary programmes.

 

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Kazakhstan, China to launch China-to-Europe container train route through Kazakhstan

Tue, 2017-04-18 00:15

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA –Kazakhstan Temir Zholy national railway company President Kanat Alpysbayev and Director General of China Railways Lu Dongfu signed an agreement April 13 in Beijing to launch a China-to-Europe container train route through Kazakhstan.

Photo credit: railways.kz

The sides also agreed to launch the Astana-Altynkol high-speed passenger train in May using Tulpar-Talgo LLP railway carriages. This is a project within the EXPO2017 international exhibition in Astana.

The sides also discussed bilateral rail cooperation within the Nurly Zhol programme and the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.

China has developed a five-year plan for the development of international container transport between China and Europe.

The volume of container shipments from China to Europe was104,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2016,twice as much as 2015. By 2020, volume is expected to increase to 800,000 TEUs.

The results of the operational work of Kazakh and Chinese railways for 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 were considered at the meeting. Last year, the volume of transport between Kazakhstan and China was more than 8 million tonnes of cargo, which is 16.6 percent more than in 2015. In 2017, more than 10 million tonnes of cargo are planned to be transported through the railway border crossings of the two states.

Alpysbayev informed the Chinese side on measures to reorient container cargo flows from the interstate point of the Alashankou – Dostyk to Khorgos – Altynkol with processing at the Dry Port of the Khorgos – Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

 

 

 

 

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Kazakh Education Ministry establishes working group to transfer alphabet to Latin

Tue, 2017-04-18 00:10

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – The Kazakh Ministry of Education has created a working group to transfer the Kazakh alphabet based on the Cyrillic script to Latin, the ministry’s Science Committee Chairperson Bolatbek Abdrasilov announced April 13.

The announcement followed Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s direction to adopt a single standard of the Kazakh alphabet in the Latin script by the end of the year in his April 12 article “Course towards the future: modernisation of Kazakhstan’s identity.”.

“We have already begun this work. Today, we are going to set up a working group with the participation of our scientists and experts in the field of linguistics. We will probably invite experts who have dealt with this issue in other countries to this working group. The working group will begin their activities staring from this day. We have a certain experience and developments, and I believe that appropriate solutions will be developed,” said Abdrasilov.

The specific terms for a phased transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet, development of a new alphabet, training specialists and textbooks were also defined.

“This issue was actively discussed starting from 2012. Then we created a special group, which included the humanitarian institutions, including the Linguistics Institute, the Institute of Philosophy and other educational institutions. We analysed the experience of switching to the Latin alphabet done by our neighbouring countries, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The necessary approaches have been also developed,” Abdrasilov said.

Up until 1929, Kazakh language used Arabic script, then from 1929-1940, Kazakh language used the Latin script, before a modified Cyrillic script was adopted under the directions from the Soviet authorities. The proposed switch to the Latin script is to take place in a phased way, beginning with the adoption of a single standard of the Kazakh alphabet this year. It is envisaged that the transfer will be occurring around 2025.

 

 

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Kazakh President lays out principles for modernisation of nation’s identity

Tue, 2017-04-18 00:05

The Astana Times provides news and information from Kazakhstan and around the world.

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev published April 12 a wide-ranging policy article, “Course towards the future: modernisation of Kazakhstan’s identity” in national newspapers outlining steps for modernisation of social norms and priorities alongside the political and economic modernisations announced in January.

Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo credit: Akorda.kz

“I am sure that the large-scale reforms that we launched should be continued with advanced modernisation of nation’s conscience. It won’t just complement the political and economic modernisation, but will be its core,” the article reads.

The three components of national modernisation have one common goal – to enter the world’s 30 most-developed countries. In Nazarbayev’s opinion, it is impossible to become an advanced country preserving old models of consciousness and thinking. It is important to adapt to new conditions and take the best of what the new era offers.

“That is why I decided to share my vision of how we can take a step towards the future together and change the nation’s conscience to become a united nation of strong and responsible people,” he wrote.

He singled out several directions where he proposed to modernise the mindset of the nation and its people.

  1. Competitiveness

Society and individuals can succeed only by developing their competitiveness in not only material things, but also in knowledge, intellectual products and quality of human resources.

“That is why each Kazakh and the nation in general should possess a set of qualities fit for the 21st century. Among those qualities are computer literacy, foreign language proficiency and cultural openness,” Nazarbayev says.

  1. Pragmatism

This implies knowledge of national and personal resources, their economical use and ability to plan.

“The ability to live rationally with an emphasis on achieving real goals, on education, healthy lifestyle and professional success is the pragmatism in behaviour,” the article reads.

  1. Preserving national identity

This means preserving the inner core of national identity while changing only some of its characteristics. This does not mean keeping everything – both the things that drive people into the future and the things that drag them back. The nation has to use its best traditions as prerequisites and important conditions for success. A number of archaic habits should be left behind.

  1. Cult of knowledge

Education should be the number one priority and key value for the nation. Only highly educated people capable of switching professions thanks to an elevated level of education will be able to live successfully in such conditions.

“The cult of education should be universal. And there is a crystal-clear reason for that. Half of existing professions will cease to exist in the upcoming decades because of the technological revolution,” Nazarbayev stresses.

 

  1. Evolutionary, not revolutionary development of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has felt the positive and negative impacts from revolutions on its territory over the 20th century and believes evolutionary, rather than revolutionary development, should be a collective and individual guiding principle.

We must clearly understand the lessons of history. The time of revolutions is not over. And while they have changed greatly in their form and content, our whole recent history says directly and unambiguously: only evolutionary development gives nations a chance for prosperity. Otherwise, we will once again find ourselves in a historical trap,” the President said.

  1. Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness means at least three peculiarities of conscience:

  • understanding what is going on in the world and in the region;
  • being ready for changes that the technological revolution brings;
  • being able to adopt others’ experience and learn from others. In this regard, Nazarbayev sets the examples of the two great Asian nations, Japan and China.

The President emphasises that not being open-minded means not being able to see the bigger picture and predict the future.

 

Specific Projects

In addition to ideological principles, Nazarbayev noted specific projects aimed at implementing those principles.

The first project is to transition the Kazakh language to the Roman alphabet.

“In December 2012, in my annual state of the nation address to the people of Kazakhstan ‘Kazakhstan – 2050’, I said that we need to begin switching to the Roman alphabet starting 2025,” he said.

By 2025, Kazakhstan will begin using the Roman alphabet in documentation, periodicals, textbooks and other official forms of communication to better accommodate the technological environment, communications, scientific and educational processes, the President wrote.

Nazarbayev tasked the government to elaborate a transition timetable. By the end of 2017, the government is to adopt a single standard version of the new Kazakh alphabet (a task made important by the presence of numerous sounds in the Kazakh language that cannot be simply identified by a single or simple Roman letter). In 2018, training to teach the new alphabet will start, and textbooks will be prepared for secondary schools.

During the adaptation period, the modified Cyrillic alphabet, currently in use, will also be applicable.

The second project is called the “New humanitarian knowledge. One hundred new textbooks in the Kazakh language” project in the social and human sciences.

The project seeks to facilitate comprehensive education in humanitarian sciences. It is to translate the 100 best textbooks of the world into Kazakh and enable youth to learn according to the best world standards. In the 2018-2019 school year, Kazakhstan is to start educating students using these textbooks.

For these purposes, a non-state National Translation Bureau will be created. It is to start its work in summer 2017.

This project will provide a qualitatively different level of training of personnel adapted to global competitiveness. And these people will further become the main conductors of the principles of modernisation of consciousness – openness, pragmatism and competitiveness.

Third, the “Tugan Zher” (“Homeland”) programme that will easily be translated into a wider framework of “Tugan El” (“Home Country”).

The programme will improve the business, educational and cultural environments of Kazakhstan’s regions. It includes conducting a serious study of local lore in the sphere of education, ecology and site improvement, study of regional history, and restoration of cultural and historical monuments and cultural sites of local significance. It is also about supporting business people, officials and other people who, having moved to other regions, would like to support their region of birth.

The “Tugan Zher” programme will be a basis for national patriotism. Loving one’s local community lays the groundwork for love of country, the President wrote.

Fourth, the “Spiritual holy sites of Kazakhstan” programme or “Sacral geography of Kazakhstan” will unite, in the national conscience, the monuments surrounding the Ulytau and the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, the ancient monuments of Taraz and many other places.

“It is one of the elements of national identity, that is why, for the first time in a thousand years, we should develop and implement such a project,” Nazarbayev stated.

He instructed the government to develop this project within a year and unite three elements in the project while maintaining a dialogue with the public:

  • educate every citizen of Kazakhstan on the role and place of this Cultural and Geographical Belt;
  • the mass media should be involved in national information projects in this sphere;
  • domestic and international cultural tourism should be based on this project.

Fifth, the “Modern Kazakh culture in the global world” project will identify the best examples of modern Kazakh culture, translate them into the six languages of the UN and communicate them to the world. Nazarbayev said the state and creative intelligentsia should provide significant support to this project.

“I think that 2017 should be of critical importance: we should make a clear decision on what we want to show to the world in the cultural sphere. And we can implement this programme in five to seven years,” the President said.

Sixth, the “100 new faces of Kazakhstan” project will tell the story of 100 people from different regions, representing different age groups and ethnicities who have succeeded during the years of independence.

They are to become the central figures of TV documentaries and role models for the people. The project is to show the real faces of those who are creating a modern Kazakhstan using their intellect, effort and talent. Regional projects of “100 new faces” will also be launched.

“At a new break of ages, Kazakhstan has a unique historic chance to build a better future through modernisation and new ideas,” the President wrote. “I am sure the people of Kazakhstan, especially the young generation, understand the importance of the proposed modernisation.”

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