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Baiterek Rocket and Space Complex set to launch in 2025

Thu, 2017-03-16 06:09

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

ASTANA – The future of the Baiterek Rocket and Space Complex project at the Baikonur Cosmodrome depends on Russia developing a new Phoenix carrier rocket which will begin in 2018. The first launch of the joint project is scheduled for 2025, said Kazakhstan’s Vice Minister of Defence and Aerospace Industry Marat Nurguzhin, reported Sputnik Kazakhstan in early March.

Photo credit: www.eurasianet.org

“In 2016, we managed to achieve significant progress in the implementation of the Baiterek project. The issue of Kazakhstan’s entry into the Baikonur Cosmodrome was resolved. For the first time within the framework of Kazakh-Russian cooperation, the space rocket complex Proton M is being jointly operated, with 92 specialists from Baiterek Joint Venture taking part directly. The Ministry of Defence and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan and Russian Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities have agreed and approved new conditions for the Baiterek project and road map for the implementation of this project for 2016-2025,” he said, according to Sputnik.

The project is based on the existing infrastructure of the Zenit space and rocket complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome and the Phoenix, the promising medium-range carrier rocket which will be created by Russia within the Federal Space Programme starting in 2018. The Russian side will be responsible for creating a new carrier rocket and the Kazakh side is responsible for modernising the Zenit’s existing launch and technical complexes, he added.

The Baiterek project, a joint project between the counties, started in 2004 with the aim of creating more eco-friendly carrier rocket launches at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The project has been delayed for several reasons, but the process now seems to be reviving.

According to Sputnik, the Proton carrier rockets within Baiterek were originally expected to be replaced by the more environmentally-friendly Angara carrier rocket. Russia then indicated its intention to use the Angara at its Vostochny Cosmodrome.

In 2013, Russia proposed using the Zenit carrier rocket in the Baiterek project. Two years later, it became known Roscosmos intended to start developing the Phoenix carrier rocket that could be launched into low Earth orbit with no less than nine tonnes of payload, using liquefied natural gas or kerosene and hydrogen as fuel.

“At present, together with our Russian colleagues, we have started the execution of the roadmap for the implementation of Baiterek, approved at the end of 2016 at the level of the heads of state of Kazakhstan and Russia,” said Nurguzhin.

The document provides for the Russian Federation to withdraw the Zenit facilities from the lease and transfer them to the Kazakh side in 2018.

Funding for the Baiterek project will start in 2019-2020, when draft design and working design documentation will also be developed, said Nurguzhin. Development and manufacture of equipment, construction and installation will launch in 2021-2023.

Autonomous, integrated flight tests are slated for 2024-2025, with the first launch within the Baiterek project slated for 2025, he added.

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Astana Process guarantor states reaffirm commitment to strengthening Syrian ceasefire

Thu, 2017-03-16 01:48

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

ASTANA – Russia, Iran and Turkey reaffirmed their commitment to consolidating and strengthening the ceasefire regime in Syria during a fresh round of peace talks March 14-15 in Astana. It was the third such meeting in Astana in what has become known as the Astana Process.

Photo credit: inform.kz

It was also announced that the next high-level meeting will take place May 3-4 in Astana and preliminary expert consultations will take place April 18-19 in Tehran.

The delegations welcomed Iran’s statement to become the third guarantor state and the resumption of Geneva talks, which were facilitated by the progress in the cessation of hostilities in Syria thanks to the ceasefire regime in force since Dec. 30, 2016 and the creation of a trilateral ceasefire mechanism.

Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Akylbek Kamaldinov said the previous rounds of talks resulted in measures to help in achieving a political solution to the Syrian crisis and end hostilities on the ground.

“Astana 1 resulted in a Moscow-Tehran-Ankara agreement on the establishment of a trilateral mechanism to monitor the ceasefire in Syria. Astana 2 resulted in an agreement to set up a ceasefire monitoring group, encompassing Iran, Russia and Turkey, that would report to the UN, as well as the draft provision on the exchange of detained persons. The draft provision on areas that have joined the ceasefire regime were studied and we can be heartened with what we have achieved despite the uphill task and the uncertainties ahead. These achievements demonstrate that there is real value to the Astana Process,” he said at the conclusion of the talks.

Photo credit: inform.kz

Kamaldinov said the Astana Process proved to be effective and viable.

“Though there were no real breakthroughs, what is important is that the ceasefire is still holding and the Geneva meetings are taking place without overt hostilities or derailment of the talks. It is too early to predict the final solution of any peace process, and more so in the case of the Syrian situation. The way is still long and full of hurdles. However, it is only our unity that will help fight terrorism and violent extremism,” he noted.

“Kazakhstan remains a neutral and objective mediator in this conflict,” Kamaldinov continued. “Astana continues to be a suitable location for the ongoing talks on Syria. We are determined to ensure that the talks in Astana contribute towards bringing permanent peace to Syria and the region. Kazakhstan will continue to actively contribute to this goal.”

In a press briefing following the end of talks, head of the Russian delegation and Special Envoy of the Russian President on Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentiev said the level of violence in the zones of the regime significantly decreased despite existing violations of the cessation of hostilities regime.

“We still hope that Syrian armed opposition will change their position despite the absence of the delegation at the talks in Astana. According to the latest information, they intend to come to Astana tomorrow morning,” he said.

Representatives of the delegations from Russia, Turkey and Iran were expected to stay for conducting detailed consultations with the Syrian armed opposition. It later became known that the Syrian armed opposition did not arrive in Astana for this occasion.

According to Lavrentiev, the draft provision on constitutional commission ensuring the participation of the population in the drafting of a new Syrian Constitution and giving impetus to the consideration of the entire complex of tasks for a political settlement in Syria under the auspices of the UN in Geneva was also discussed.

The negotiations between the guarantor states and the Syrian armed opposition delegation in Astana must be continued as mutual dialogue is needed to solve existing problems, he concluded.

The Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation headed by the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari thanked Kazakhstan for hosting the negotiations.

“Our delegation is ready to discuss all the issues that can contribute to stopping the bloodshed in Syria and put an end to the terrorism that has swept our country today. We are still making great efforts for these talks to be successful in order to achieve the desired agreements,” Al-Jaafari said.

Al-Jaafari hadn’t confirmed that the Syrian delegation discussed the constitutional commission, saying that they had discussed with Russia the document related to demining Palmira.

At the talks in Astana, the delegations also exchanged information on reports on ceasefire violations and stressed the need to reduce the violations through increasing the efficiency of the trilateral monitoring mechanism. The delegations also discussed the provisions about districts that joined the regime of the cessation of hostilities, exchange of information on prisoners, ensuring the delineation between groups of armed opposition and terrorist organisations. International assistance for demining of the UNESCO cultural heritage sites in Syria, confidence-building measures and other topics concerning Syria were also discussed.

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Kazakh freestyle skier wins silver at World Championships

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:58

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

ASTANA – Yulia Galysheva gave Kazakh sport lovers another reason for joy by winning a silver medal in the women’s dual moguls competitions at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships, being held March 7-19 in Sierra Nevada, Spain between March 7 and 19. The gold medal went to Perrine Laffont of France and the bronze to American Jaelin Kauf.

Photo credit: Izturgan Aldauev

Galysheva, who is one of the discipline’s leaders internationally, passed the qualifying stage. She had an uneasy 18-17 win over German Lea Bouard in 1/8 of the finals. Then the 24-year old competed against Australian Brittney Cox, surpassing her with a score of 23-12. In the semi-final she competed against Korean Seo Jee-Won, winning 27-8.

In the final round, Galysheva gave way to Perrine Laffont. She came just one point short of winning gold. Galysheva is the first Kazakh athlete to win a silver medal at a world championship in freestyle ski and snowboard.

“Of course, I am pleased with my performance because I improved my previous result from the last championship when I came in third. This time, I won silver. I did my best in the finals and I was faster and made more complicated jumps. But the judges decided to give the victory to my opponent from France with a one point advantage. I think it is a good season completion for me. Although it did not run quite smoothly at first, after the middle of the season, I climbed the podium several times at the World Cup, the Universiade, the Asian Games and now the World Championships,” Galysheva said.

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Finland, Kazakhstan have great potential for cooperation in clean energy, envoy says

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:24

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

ASTANA – Over 25 years of diplomatic ties, Kazakhstan and Finland’s strong and peaceful relationship has grown more intense, Finnish Ambassador to Kazakhstan Ilkka Raisanen said in a March 7 interview with The Astana Times.

“We have many exchanges at different levels based on good relations that our Presidents have. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in Finland several times and our President, Sauli Niinisto, visited Kazakhstan. There is a very good chance that he might be visiting us during EXPO 2017. Finland has created a lot of goodwill in Kazakhstan and our main achievements are in the sectors of education and gender equality, disarmament and peacebuilding, which are all very much of interest in Kazakhstan. The Finnish and Kazakh people are sharing the same interests on the world stage. We both enjoy this cordial relationship in our bilateral relations and we have many common interests,” the ambassador pointed out.

At the upcoming Astana EXPO 2017, Finland will be the only participating Nordic country. The theme of the Finnish pavilion is Sharing Pure Energy. Finnish energy efficient solutions, energy production and distribution will be presented during three months of the exhibition. Its pavilion will also demonstrate digital solutions, education, health technologies and world famous Finnish design.

“We would be ready and willing to cooperate in the sector of energy, renewable energy, clean technologies and also technologies that are fit in very cold and extreme climate situation that we have in Finland and in Kazakhstan,” Raisanen said.

The ambassador expressed hopes on a big breakthrough in cooperation between both sides given direct flights that will be offered from Helsinki to Astana this summer by Finnair, the country’s largest airline.

“We encourage now more companies that were not previously in Kazakhstan to come. I hope that likewise many Kazakh companies will go to Finland using these direct flights. Finland is also a hub for northern European countries,” he said.

“Over the years, we have been very successful in student exchange. We have established ties within the Bolashak Scholarship; also, we have big cooperation in the field of nursing education,” the ambassador continued.

“Kazakhstan is modernising very fast and we are trying to be helpful in the modernisation of society. Of course, we are following very closely initiatives that President Nazarbayev has taken. The President’s 100 Concrete Steps also help us to find new ways to cooperate,” he emphasised.

The ambassador reiterated that Finland celebrates the centenary of its independence this year with numerous events throughout the country.

“Last year was a great year to celebrate 25 years of Independence of Kazakhstan. Now we have 100 years of Finnish Independence,” he added.

According to Saara Alhopuro, deputy director of the communications department on Europe and neighbouring areas of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, this summer especially will be a very interesting time to visit Finland.

“Finland will be full of different kind of events because the theme of centenary celebrations is ‘Together’ and there will be different cultural events, dances, nature activities and arts everywhere in Finland. Most of these events are organised by people themselves, so everyone is invited to participate. We do not try to mandate from the top how this is supposed to be celebrated, but actually, everyone in Finland decides and brings us the ideas,” she said to the paper.

According to the ambassador, Astana will also host a number of interesting events devoted the anniversaries.

“In May, we are organising jointly with the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs some activities related to 25 years of diplomatic relations we have had. Then, on June 5, with the Swedish embassy, we are organising a concert with the music of Jean Sibelius and some Swedish composers. Later, on June 20, we will mark the day of Finland at the expo site. We really hope that our leadership will be participating in that celebration. Independence Day is coming on Dec. 6. This is one of the main events for the country,” said Raisanen.

 

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Kazakhstan can be transit hub between Southeast Asia and Europe  

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:17

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

ASTANA – An agreement on a free trade zone between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will increase the flow of goods between these countries, said Kazakh Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumakhanov at a March 6 meeting with Vietnamese companies.

Photo credit: inform.kz

“Today, we have the first meeting in Vietnam and representatives of Kazakhstan, Vietnam and China gathered at a negotiating table to discuss the prospects of transporting goods along the Kazakhstan-Lianyungang Port-Vietnam corridor and further to other countries of Southeast Asia,” he said.

Zhumakhanov spoke about ways to increase the flow of goods between countries as part of the agreement and successfully testing delivery along the Kazakhstan-Lianyungang Port-Port of Ho Chi Minh City route.

“A railway route from Kazakhstan to the port of Lianyungang was constructed where we established a joint venture. China is interested in the exploitation of railways for the delivery of goods to Russia and the European countries. China sent its first freight train to London through Kazakhstan in early January. It took 18 days, which is two times less than by the sea route and much cheaper than air transportation,” said Zhumakhanov.

The task of building effective transport and logistics chains between Europe and Asia through Kazakhstan was set by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev as part of Nurly Zhol, the new economic policy.

Beketzhan Zhumakhanov Photo credit: inform.kz

“An agreement on the free trade zone between Vietnam and EAEU was signed. We suggest using the ports of the Saigon Newport Corporation to deliver goods from Vietnam and other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the port of Lianyungang and further to Kazakhstan, Russia and European countries,” he said.

“You’ve visited our port. Let me thank you for the invitation to visit your country in May this year to discuss the prospects for expanding the economic corridor between Kazakhstan and Vietnam through China. We think that after the first successful delivery of Kazakh grain, the next export-import operation between our countries will be conducted through the Cat Lai port,” said Cat Lai terminal head Ngo Chong Fang.

The railway procedures were simplified and tariffs reduced to speed up promoting goods, said China-Kazakhstan International Logistics in Lianyungang Director General Liu Bin.

“We should thoroughly work the supply chain of goods in both directions: Europe-Kazakhstan-Vietnam and Vietnam-Kazakhstan-Europe. This may become an unprecedented and great event in international commerce. For example, cargo can be delivered from Vietnam to Almaty via the port of Lianyungang in 14 days, whereas it would take at least 45 days by sea. We are ready to transport your goods to Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia, Russia and Europe,” he added.

The transport corridor between Vietnam and EAEU has great prospects, said Cat Lai terminal representative Bui Van Quy.

“The Cat Lai terminal is the largest and most modern in Vietnam, serving as a large transit point for the transportation of goods to Indonesia, Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia,” he said.

The first consignment of Kazakh grain, 720 tonnes in 32 containers, arrived March 4 from the East China port of Lianyungang to the Vietnam international container terminal company in Ho Chi Minh City. The pilot shipments were carried out by KTZ Express jointly with Kazakhstan International Logistics of Lianyungang.

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Parcel delivery service now available in Kazakhstan, through an app

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:07

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

ASTANA – Takebs, positioned as the world’s fastest parcel delivery service, has launched in Kazakhstan. The app is available in 11 languages on the IOS platform and by mid-March can be downloaded on Android.

Photo credit: inform.kz

Bauyrzhan Karymsakov, who devised the mobile app for the international service, noted it is the first joint consumption project in the logistics field and a new way of parcel transfer, reported inform.kz. The project provides the opportunity to pass packages at other’s expense.

“This is a mobile application that people will use on their own by creating profiles for themselves. The application has two modes that are a dispatcher and a courier [delivery guy]. A carrier sets the price for delivery; however, it may start from 2,000 tenge (approximately US$6.30) as per calculations by developers,” according to the news agency.     

The project’s authors plan to launch a buyer mode in the future, which may allow purchasing items abroad through other people.

“Up to 130,000 tenge (about US$408.40) can be earned here as a commission, according to the developers’ calculations,” it added.  

Karymsakov noted risks are possible during the first stage, including parcel theft, delays and lateness by the host party and prohibited items such as illegal drugs and explosive substances.

He recommends keeping a check on packages prior to shipping and beginning with parcels of little significance, like copies or verified translations of documents and winter clothes. He also suggests taking a photo of the person, his or her passport details and boarding pass, if allowed.   

“We are now designing a safety system. We still have a rating system operating; it is when people leave feedback on a user’s profile, so you can see whether to trust this person or not,” said Karymsakov.  

“In the near future, we are planning to introduce a new option by taking it from Airbnb service. If you take someone’s package, the money is kept within our company and we give it to you after you pass the parcel to the owner. In the future, if we have a big budget we will open our chain at airports, where we will be registering every package via a bar code. This is a guarantee that a parcel is safe,” he added.

Karymsakov spent his own money, approximately $10,000-12,000, to develop the service. At present there are no plans for earning, but earning on commissions is projected in the future via electronic payment, such as 5-10 percent from every app purchase.

“Payments go only via an application. Right now, cash is the only method available and a choice between cash and electronic payments will be available in the future. This project is made for people; if stockholders appear in the future, we will monetise the project,” said Karymsakov.

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Baiterek Holding finances construction of hydroelectric power plant

Wed, 2017-03-15 03:58

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

ASTANA – BRK Leasing, a subsidiary of the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (DBK), has begun financing construction of the Turgusun hydroelectric power plant on the Turgusun River in the East Kazakhstan region, reported forbes.kz.

Photo credit: forbes.kz

The project will cost more than 11.6 billion tenge (US$36.49 million), including 3.6 billion tenge (US$11.33 million) provided by BRK Leasing to purchase and supply equipment for the plant. A second new facility, with a design capacity of 24.9 megawatts, is to be constructed on the river in the Zyryanovsk District.

“Use of renewable resources is the basis of green economy. At the same time, the hydroelectric power plants are currently able to offer the greatest return and efficiency in this area. The construction of hydroelectric power plants is a proven, safe and profitable way to generate energy. At the same time, plants do not have to be giants. Small hydropower stations are able not only to maintain the country’s energy security, but also to become one of the resources for sustainable economic development,” said Rinat Gapparov, deputy chair of the BRK Leasing management board.

The construction benefits of the Turgusun hydroelectric power plant are obvious, including a reduction in the cost of electricity production and 78 million kilowatt-hour deficit reduction in the East Kazakhstan region. The project is expected to create about 300 new jobs during the construction period. After the plant launch, carbon monoxide emissions to the atmosphere in the region are expected to reduce by 680 tonnes per year.

“In general, the implementation of projects in the field of renewable energy sources became possible with the release of the law ‘On supporting the use of renewable energy sources’ adopted within the concept on the country’s transition to a green economy,” said Laura Amreyeva, head of BRK Leasing project management.

“Thanks to the state support measures, private investors have an opportunity to attract debt financing to the production of alternative energy sources. For example, besides our own participation, the investor attracts the leasing and borrowing financing of DBK within this project. Construction of the hydroelectric power plant is scheduled to be completed by 2018,” she added.

As a subsidiary of DBK, BRK Leasing is a member of Baiterek National Management Holding. The company provides leasing financing for investment projects within implementation of the state programmes on industrial, innovative and infrastructure development.

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Barys has early Gagarin Cup success, stumbles at home

Wed, 2017-03-15 00:24

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

ASTANA – HC Barys had a successful first round of the Gagarin Cup playoffs, beating Traktor from Chelyabinsk.

Photo credit: vesti.ru

For the overall victory in that series, it was enough for the “snow leopards” to play six matches, in four of which the club from Astana was stronger. Except for the first two matches in Chelyabinsk, where the teams beat each other with scores fairly large for the playoffs, 5:2 in the first match in favour of Barys and 5:1 in the second with the advantage to Traktor, the remaining four games were closer and more intense. Twice the matches ended in overtime. In the sixth match, played in Astana, Barys won with a minimal advantage, which advanced them to the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Thus, the Kazakh capital’s favourite club repeated their best achievement in KHL.

Barys’ next opponent was the Gagarin Cup holders from the last season Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

In the first match in Magnitogorsk, Barys was crushed 0:4. In the second round, Barys turned the tide against the champions, scoring four against the formidable opponent, but nevertheless lost 4:5 in overtime.

With impatience, fans of the snow leopards were waiting for the first home match, which was held on March 13 in Astana. However, it was not a lucky day for Barys. They lost 3:5, despite dominating on the ice for approximately the first 30 minutes of the match.

Thus, before the second home game on March 15, Barys is a step away from being eliminated from the playoffs to the Gagarin Cup.

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Astana to host another international meeting on Syria

Tue, 2017-03-14 01:40

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

ASTANA – Astana will host another round of talks on settling the conflict in Syria within the Astana Process March 14-15.

High-ranking delegations from Russia, Turkey and Iran have confirmed participation and invitations have been sent to representatives of the United States, United Nations and Jordan, according to a March 9 press release from the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The guarantor states are expecting confirmation of the participation of delegations from the government and the armed opposition of Syria.

Preliminary consultations are scheduled for March 14 and a plenary meeting is scheduled for March 15.

According to the press release, within the framework of the Astana Process, launched with the full support and direct participation of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, there were two rounds of high-level international meetings on Syria on Jan.23-24 and Feb.15-16, as well as a meeting of experts on Feb.6. These meetings produced rules for a joint operational group to monitor the ceasefire regime in Syria paving the way for the parties to discuss the political agenda within the framework of the Geneva Process and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015).

Kazakhstan will continue its efforts to seek a political solution to the conflict in Syria, according to the ministry statement.

On March 8,  UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura noted the role of the Astana Process in international efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Syria during the UN Security Council regular meeting devoted to a political settlement of the conflict in Syria.

“The Astana Process is becoming an integral part of the architecture of peace, which is being built brick by brick under the auspices of the UN in Syria,” he said.

The members of the Security Council acknowledged that the continuation of the political negotiations in Geneva was made possible thanks to the regime of cessation of hostilities, fixed in the framework of the Astana Process. They called on the conflicting parties to fully comply with this regime and ensure the humanitarian access to human settlements in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution and the agreements of Dec.29, 2016.

Speaking in Parliament March 13, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said special representatives of the Russian President and Foreign Minister on Syria, deputy foreign ministers from Turkey and Iran have confirmed their participation in the Astana talks.

“The format and the agenda of the meeting depend on three guarantor states,” Abdrakhmanov told the deputies. “The regime of cessation of hostilities in Syria is taking hold.”

It has also become known that an official delegation from the Syrian government led by the country’s UN ambassador is to take part in the talks, as well as a delegation from Jordan. In Washington, the U.S. Department of State also confirmed its ambassador in Astana will take part as an observer. The participation of the Syrian armed opposition remained unclear at the time of writing.

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Kazakh FM informs Parliament on Astana’s work on UNSC, priorities in Central Asia

Mon, 2017-03-13 23:25

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

ASTANA – Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov informed the members of the Mazhilis (lower house) of Parliament about the nation’s priorities as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2017-2018, as well as answered their questions on a wide range of issues, during the March 13 so called “government hour”.

Photo credit: mfa.kz

Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian country elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, the minister said. It is a great responsibility and during the next two years, the nation will be required to respond adequately to global challenges on a daily basis.

The country’s priorities, as outlined in a January 2017 political address from President Nursultan Nazarbayev, include moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons, preventing the threat of global war, promoting peace in Afghanistan and creating a regional peace zone in Central Asia, shaping a global antiterrorist coalition (network) under UN auspices, promoting Africa’s peaceful development, adapting UNSC’s activities to the demands of the 21st century and elaborating a set-up for regular meetings of UNSC member states at the head of state and government level to strengthen a collective political will to address global challenges.

Photo credit: mfa.kz

“Our country started its responsible mission from Jan. 1. Today, Kazakhstan’s delegation is actively involved in the discussion of the Security Council’s agenda,” said Abdrakhmanov. “Kazakhstan will chair the UNSC in Jan. 2018 with the main focus on Central Asia and Afghanistan.”

Based on its authority, he added, Kazakhstan has been entrusted with chairing the Security Council committees on Afghanistan/Taliban (Committee 1988), ISIL/DAESH/Al Qaeda (Committee 1267/1989/2253) and Somalia/Eritrea (Committee 751/1907).

Abdrakhmanov noted Kazakhstan will continue with its drive for a nuclear weapons-free world and, building on top of past years’ events, this year will host the 60th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in the Kazakh capital on August 29, the UN-designated International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Also on that day,  the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank is expected to be formally launched, the minister said.

Kazakhstan has called for further improvements in the UN peacekeeping system and intends to make its own contribution by increasing its number of military observers and peacekeepers to UN missions. Kazbat, Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping battalion, established in 2000, is fully equipped and staffed with highly qualified and professional officers and soldiers, according to Deputy Defence Minister Major-General Talgat Mukhtarov, who also participated in the event.

The proposed Astana Code of Conduct is a common mechanism of fighting terrorism which will help in the formation of the UN Global Anti-Terrorist Coalition (Network) to defeat terrorism and reduce the global terror threat, said Abdrakhmanov.

The minister spent a great deal of time talking about Kazakhstan’s relations with other nations in Central Asia as one of its top priorities. He noted the country’s security is closely linked that of Central Asia and stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation among regional security organisations.

“Kazakhstan is a bridge between East and West. As the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) chair and a UNSC member, we have always promoted greater dialogue… and we want the UN tribune to be used by the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and European Union (EU) to deliver joint approaches to tackling common problems,” he said, listing a “whole gamut” of problems facing Central Asia such as drug trafficking, terrorism and religious extremism.

“Together with international organisations, we can focus on, for example, issues of trans-boundary rivers in Central Asia,” Abdrakhmanov said.

He added Central Asia holds regular dialog platforms with Japan, South Korea, the United States, the EU and India and a similar discussion is planned with France where the minister is invited at the end of the month.

“I also sent a letter to my colleagues in Central Asia proposing to establish a common forum of the five countries at our level. There are no unresolvable issues between our countries. Kazakhstan’s membership on the UNSC is a unique opportunity to attract the world’s attention to the Central Asian region,” the Kazakh diplomat said.

“We intend to take practical steps with Kyrgyzstan to help them adapt to Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) membership. We are also talking about adopting comprehensive programmes to implement our strategic partnerships with the countries of Central Asia,” he added.

“On March 22-23, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is planning to visit our country. It is another example of mutual intentions to strengthen ties,” said Abdrakhmanov.

In 2016, Kazakhstan provided 300 million tenge ($943,485) in humanitarian assistance (ODA) to Tajikistan, 100 million tenge ($314,495) to Kyrgyzstan and 586 million tenge ($1.8 million) to Syria, said Abdrakhmanov.

“Our humanitarian assistance is always welcome, but we need to expand official development assistance (ODA) and that sphere needs to expand, too,” he noted.

Abdrakhmanov further highlighted the importance of economic diplomacy for the country’s foreign ministry.

“Economic diplomacy is not only a top priority, but also the main criteria of assessing the effectiveness of our embassies,” he said. “In partnerships with other agencies, we are building up mechanisms for attracting investments and promoting exports.”

Elsewhere, he noted the issues of resolving the legal status of the Caspian Sea is moving forward, adding the ministerial meeting will need to be held before the Caspian summit takes place in the Kazakh capital where the relevant convention is expected to be signed.

During the Q&A session, he responded to a query concerning Kazakhstan’s initiative to strengthen global development efforts by proposing that UN member nations voluntarily contribute one percent of their annual military budgets to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the minister, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and International Peace Bureau (IPB) were asked to study this proposal in detail. The research by SIPRI was presented to the UN last year.

“We have to recognise that some countries instead seek to expand their military budgets. We will continue to pursue our goal, however,” he said.

Abdrakhmanov added holding EXPO 2017 in the capital and creating the international centre for transfer of green technologies under UN auspices will be Kazakhstan’s practical contribution to implementing regional and global goals.

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Kazakh President signs amendments to Constitution into law

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:15

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

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan March 10.

The law “On introducing amendments and additions to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” which was approved by the Parliament and presented to the President was sent to the Constitutional Council on March 6. The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan approved March 9 the amendments to the country’s major document after determining it complies with the Constitution, including its values, fundamental principles of work and the country’s form of governing.

The bill had been passed in its first reading on March 3. The nationwide discussion of the amendments to the Constitution took place Jan.26 to Feb. 24.

The new law introduced 26 amendments to 19 articles of the Constitution.  A considerable part of amendments concern redistributing the powers of the President, the Parliament and the government. These amendments are aimed at implementing the 100 Concrete Steps Plan of the Nation.

“First, the new law significantly strengthens the Parliament’s role in state affairs, including in the formation of the government. Second, the government becomes more independent, receiving the powers to directly manage the economy. Third, the constitutional basis of law enforcement and judicial systems will be modernised. The law lays the foundations for the activities of the Prosecutor General’s Office, providing the highest supervision over the observance of the rule of law and representation of state interests in court. Fourth, constitutional control will be strengthened. Fifth, guarantees of immutability of our independence, unitary status, territorial integrity and form of government are to be fixed at the constitutional level,” Nazarbayev explained, during a joint meeting of the chambers of the Parliament March 3.

The head of state noted the high professionalism of all branches of government, emphasising their ability to take responsibility and make decisions independently.

“The new challenges mentioned in my state-of-the-nation address lay particular responsibility on the legislative and executive bodies. I am sure the expansion of powers of the Parliament and the government will contribute to a more effective achievement of the objectives of the third modernisation of the economy,” the President said.

During the official signing ceremony at the Akorda residence, the President underlined vital importance of the document for the country.

“The current reform is a natural result of the state development. We are a young country building its statehood. We need to meet the requirements of a changing world, both in the economy and in politics,” Nazarbayev said being flanked by the country’s top officials.

“The political system will acquire a greater degree of democracy and stability. At the same time, the presidential form of government will remain in Kazakhstan,” he noted.

“I express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Working Group, the deputies of the Parliament and all the people in Kazakhstan for their support and invaluable contribution to the implementation of the constitutional reform,” Nazarbayev highlighted.

According to the President, the rapid technological revolution in the modern world shapes a new reality of the global economy. He said the updated Constitution is an answer to the current challenges and called on all the citizens to unite their efforts in order to achieve the strategic goal for Kazakhstan to enter the list of 30 developed countries of the world.

“I am confident that together we will be able to ensure the successful development of the state and prosperity of our people in the 21st century. The main goal of the reforms is to preserve our unity, friendship, mutual understanding, as well as equality in terms of ethnic, linguistic and confessional principles. Thanks to our cohesion, we achieved many victories. Following these postulates, we will achieve new ones,” he said.

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New Silk Road will become neutral aid system benefiting all players, expert believes

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:12

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

ASTANA – Wade Shepard, the author of “Ghost Cities of China,” is currently working on his new book about the New Silk Road, China’s effort to strengthen trade ties with Europe and Central Asia. He sat down with The Astana Times to talk about Kazakhstan’s role in the trade development and geopolitical changes in the region.

Shepard is an American writer, journalist and blogger who has been travelling the world since 1999. He went to China for the first time in 2005 and ever since has been fascinated by the country’s economic development achieved through a government fiat.

Shepard is a contributor to the “South China Morning Post” and his work also appears in other major China-focused publications. He is currently working on a documentary film for the BBC about the Khorgos–Eastern Gate special economic zone.

What role, in your opinion, does Kazakhstan play in the New Silk Road project?

Along the central route of the Silk Road Economic Belt is the country that holds East and West together. It’s the bridge between the vibrant markets and manufacturing empire in China and the markets and manufacturing empire in Europe. It also connects together east and west, south and north, because right to the north there is Russia and to the south there are the emerging Iran and also Pakistan and India. Kazakhstan is physically in the middle of all these major geo-economic players and it serves the role as a bridge between all of them.

What kind of transit-transport opportunities does the project open for Kazakhstan?

Once you connect the country infrastructurally to these great markets all round the world, you create the opportunity for countries to do other things, like manufacture and assemble products, take what they produce and get it to other places and do some things they were not able to do before, like we see in the Khorgos gateway. It’s a dry port, it’s a place to trans-ship cargo all around the Eurasian area, but it also has a massive special economic zone that has a future goal of becoming a manufacturing epicentre right on the doorstep of China.

How will the New Silk Road project impact the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)?

The Eurasian Economic Union was previously the Eurasian Customs Union. That was one of the main ingredients that allowed this whole Silk Road Economic Belt to really happen, because before that, you had all kinds of different borders, borders between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. Every time you had a border, you had to trans-ship. When you ship products, [and] you cross the continent as vast as Eurasia, it creates difficulties and additional delays. Then, all of a sudden when it is technically the Eurasian Customs Union, you can ship train containers of high value cargo from China to Europe. You have two borders of the Eurasian Customs Union and then it goes straight to the EU, to Poland.

How will the New Silk Road impact the entire region?

A lot of people view the Silk Road as the built road which is China’s policy, China’s participation, China’s plan and access to Chinese manufacturing, industrial materials and goods. This work does solve a lot of problems for all the countries along the route, like resource rich Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan with lots of natural resource dependency. They need to diversify their economies; one of the ways to do this is by developing transportation hubs and in the future, they can have manufacturing hubs as well.

It also solves many problems for Europe. We have this very advanced, very modern, mature continental region with lagging and stagnant economies. They need access to new markets. European manufacturers will now have easier access to new markets.

It also creates a mechanism for the countries of the central regions of Eurasia, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan and India to engage in another level of development, another level of globalised system. This gives the opportunity to develop the countries of the West and the East. It is kind of a way for these central countries of Eurasia to develop a modernised economy, create border connectivity and create more opportunities to develop economically. It also lets them connect together with the countries of the region politically, which is very important. Because to build the infrastructure that works, to build the economies that work, you need to interact with the countries around you, you need to cooperate with the countries around you. Through this cooperation, you create these bonds that make it very difficult to engage in advanced conflict. If you are economically dependent on your neighbour, the chances of going to war with your neighbour are a lot less.

There is no reason for Azerbaijan to make all these nice roads if Georgia or Turkey doesn’t have nice roads, if across the Caspian, Kazakhstan doesn’t have nice roads. One country cannot benefit from the New Silk Road; all the other countries have to benefit and participate as well.

It creates this neutral aid system, when the countries and various routes need each other to develop their own economies.

What joint projects will China and Kazakhstan implement as part of the One Belt, One Road project?

More emphasis is laid on Khorgos, which is very important for China and Kazakhstan. It is in the proverbial middle of nowhere. Four-five years ago, China started to develop its borders as part of the last stage of West development policy, pushing development of economic stimulus across the country to its far western regions. They invest billions of dollars into building these new cities like Khorgos. In the middle of it there is the Khorgos Gate special economic zone, which includes one of the most advanced dry ports worth $200 million. The New Silk Road is the best example of a modern dry port. Surrounding the dry ports supplies the special economic zone with the help of manufacturing and enterprises. Private investors of China are already invested. Full investment of $600 million makes an epicentre of this place. It is the best example, because it is a link from China to the CIS and the EAEU directly. China will invest in Aktau, where there is also a special economic zone. There are hopes that China will invest in all countries; not just China, but Russia, Iran and other Central Asian countries which could participate in this giant new economic project.

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Film chronicling Kazakh domestication of wild horses to be released in 2018

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:09

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

ASTANA – A Canadian producer plans to release a film titled “Equus” about the history of horse domestication in the Central Asian region, announced Minister of Information and Communications Dauren Abayev at a March 7 conference in the capital.

“Today, we are planning to sign a very important memorandum between Kazakhstan State Television and Radio Company and famous Canadian director and anthropologist Niobe Thompson. This project is important for Kazakhstan and it will improve the image and tourism potential of our country. A large study was supported by Canada, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.,” said Abayev.

“I think the project will be of great interest. We plan to release it in 2018. About 50 countries are ready to show it. We believe that this project is able to arouse serious interest in the world to the history, culture and traditions of the nomadic civilisation. This will give a new impetus to the development of popular science films in our country,” he said.

As a large base of archaeological material, Kazakhstan will be represented as the cradle of horsemanship and horse breeding in the film. The authors plan to demonstrate the revolutionary role horse breeding played in the migration of peoples, trade and military affairs.

Thompson noted that the culture of domestication of horses began on the territory of Kazakhstan.

“Unique excavations in Botai prove that the domestication of horses began in Kazakhstan, and we have a unique opportunity to open this history to the whole world and to present our film,” said Thompson.

Thompson has been studying the relationship between man and horse for many years. He expressed confidence that the domestication of the horse helped progress the development of human culture.

“I believe that the history of man during all these 6,000 years is the history of the equestrians. Horse domestication created our common civilisation. Many people know about this because we live in a different world. It is important to inform people that everything we see around us is the consciousness of people on horses,” he said.

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Government to launch additional 410 agricultural cooperatives to assist small farms

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:07

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

ASTANA – Four-hundred-and-ten agricultural cooperatives will be established in 2017 to support small and medium-sized farms. The cooperatives will help farms buy equipment, store and transport products, provide veterinary services, organise the supply of fodder and agrochemical products and help with lending.

Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Kairat Aituganov said the programme was launched last year and 157 cooperatives are already cooperating with 15,000 farms. The cooperatives created more than 100 milk collecting centres and 7,000 forage bases. In general, the indicative plans are executed in all regions, according to Kazinform.

Aituganov reported that as of March 9, all tasks have been achieved in all regions of the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture developed approaches to involve small and medium-sized farms in agricultural cooperation under the State Programme for the Development of the Agricultural and Industrial Complex for 2017-2021, an initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The vice minister reported that financing of the cooperatives by the fund of financial support became the top priority of the fund. He emphasised that the initial payment is made at the expense of investment subsidies.

The fund implemented new directions of subsidising farmers: milk production cheapening, fattening of bulls and lambs, cheapening of the cost of equipment and machinery up to 50 percent and subsidies to cooperatives for reimbursement of VAT.

Tripartite plans have been concluded between the ministries of agriculture, labour and social protection of the population and city and regional administrations. A single call centre for consultations on cooperation and a website have been created. A group of experts has been trained on the basis of Atameken scientific and production enterprise to implement the new programme. Special information materials, including booklets and videos for training in the regions are used as well.

According to the vice minister, training seminars were organised in all 165 districts and cities of the state from Feb. 1 to 22 this year. As of March 9, 75 farms have purchased equipment using the state programme.

The ministry plans to allocate 50 billion tenge ($157.9 million) this year to support small and medium-sized farms.

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Government allocates $3.2 billion to boost banking sector

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:04

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

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently signed a decree, effective immediately, allocating 1.1 trillion tenge (US$3.2 billion) to improve the nation’s banking sector.  The document was published on the portal of the information and legal system of normative legal acts Adilet.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Oleg Smolyakov said the government will allocate 2 trillion tenge (US$6.3 billion) to purchase problem loans from banks.

On March 2, the government of Kazakhstan, the country’s National Bank, the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Problem Loan Fund, Qazkom Bank and its major shareholder Kenes Rakishev, Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan and BTA Bank signed a memorandum to ensure the financial stability and improvement of the banking sector, according to the National Bank, which stipulates, among other things, that Halyk Bank is set to buy out Qazkom’s shares.

“To effectively implement a potential transaction to purchase a stake in Qazkom, the government of Kazakhstan and the National Bank have an intention to provide financial support through the purchase of troubled assets by the Fund for Problem Loans,” the financial controller said.

However, Qazkom representatives specified that the signed document is not binding.

“The memorandum defines the scope and conditions under which a deal can be made, as well as the actions to be taken by each party to achieve this, including the terms of the potential transaction covering the possible risks associated with the loan of BTA Bank to Qazkom. The conclusion of the memorandum does not mean the execution of a transaction for which further actions of the parties and fulfilment of certain suspensive conditions specified in the memorandum are required,” Qazkom’s press service noted.

The joint-stock company “The Problem Loans Fund” was registered in the justice bodies on Jan. 11, 2012. The shareholder holding the common shares is the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the shareholder owning the preferred shares is the Committee of State Property and Privatisation of the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan.

 

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Industry experts optimistic about introduction of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan

Mon, 2017-03-13 00:01

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

ASTANA – Iveco representative in Kazakhstan Lorenzo Bernardeli said he was optimistic about the future of autonomous vehicles in Kazakhstan during an international forum in Astana, according to the press services of Agromashholding and SaryarkaAvtoProm. Its partner in Kazakhstan will most likely be the AllurGroup assembly plant in Kostanai.

“During the forum, the representative of Iveco, Lorenzo Bernardeli, presented futuristic concepts of the cars with innovative solutions. Iveco is part of the CNH Industrial Corporation and is demonstrating an active introduction of cutting-edge technologies in the commercial technology sector. The speaker noted that the producer adheres to the policy of switching to the unmanned cars and expressed hope that Kazakh colleagues will be able to follow suit,” the press release read.

Bernardeli also said the range of Iveco cars manufactured in Kostanai was adapted for Kazakhstan to meet the needs of customers in this market, including climatic conditions and road conditions of the southern and central regions of the country.

“We are seeing a rapid development of production in Kazakhstan and the desire of our innovative partner AllurGroup to test and implement innovations and technologies; we think that models of futuristic cars will be available to the Kazakhstan market in the future,” he said.

Kostanai’s plant was the first plant to switch to the full-cycle production of cars and became a springboard for the formation in the country of adjacent production of auto components and spare parts, such as batteries, tires, glasses, electrical engineering, among other technological products while the plant is also developing commercial transport.

The production site is working on the localisation of processes and today, in addition to assembling, is carrying out welding and painting of parts in some models of commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles meet all European standards and regulations of the Euro 5 type of fuel, and they also have a number of improved technical qualities. The share of localisation of technology is some 33 percent and in specialised assemblies is up to 50 percent. With the use of new technologies, it was possible to reduce the operational cost of equipment by 4 percent.

To ensure the maximum productivity Iveco has done considerable work to create the best braking system for all types of car parts. These innovative solutions are also applied in models that are being assembled in Kostanai today.

 

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Authorities consider building pipeline to fully supply Astana with natural gas by 2021

Sun, 2017-03-12 23:58

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

ASTANA – KazTransGas and government officials are reviewing a feasibility study to build a pipeline that would fully supply natural gas to Astana residents by 2021.

Within a month, they will be able to calculate the efficiency of the new gas pipeline, gas tariffs for Astana residents and compare the costs with coal prices, said Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev, during a recent government meeting.

“The new gas pipeline will be connected to the gas pipeline, which stretches from the west of the country to the Kyzylorda region, then goes towards Zhezkazgan, passing through the Karaganda region, Astana and further to Kokshetau,” he said.

Bozumbayev also told the meeting that Global Gas Regasification, part of the Global Gas Group, has entered into an agreement with Gazprom Export to import 5,000 tonnes of low-tonnage liquefied natural gas from Russia. The shipment will be made by road.

He also noted that there is also a memorandum, according to which, by 2021, the volume of supplies will reach 320,000 tonnes of liquefied gas, which is enough to meet the current fuel needs in Astana and parts of the northern regions of the country.

“As for the private sector of Astana, the supply will start at the end of 2018. We’re planning to start with the Koktal residential area. We are sure that in the 2018-2019 heating season, heating in Koktal will be ensured with natural gas. Before 2021, we believe we will provide full access to city residents. We will prepare the city for the construction of the main pipeline,” said Panayot Saulidi, head of Global Gas Regasification.

The first regasification station for liquefied natural gas Turan has already been put into operation in the capital. The launch of the new gas supply source is the first stage of the non-reflux gas supply process in northeastern Kazakhstan. Natural methane will also be supplied to Pavlodar, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Kokshetau.

“Today, we supply Russian gas, tomorrow it can be our gas. If we learn how to liquefy it in order to have a competitive price, then we will have it here, in Kazakhstan,” Saulidi added.

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Trade and exhibition centre featuring Kazakh goods opens in Astana

Sun, 2017-03-12 23:50

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

ASTANA – EXPO pavilion, a special trade and exhibition centre exclusively featuring goods made by Kazakh producers, has opened in the capital.

The main goal of the project is to help Kazakh merchandise to be exported, said Eurasian Business Union representative in Kazakhstan Mariya Anarbayeva. About 20 Kazakh brands are currently represented, although organisers plan to increase the number to at least 100.

“We are planning to conduct a selection through this site, because bringing our manufacturers for export is not so simple. We need to attract large distributors and offer our products in other countries, so we must be sure of the quality of the products that we offer. Also, there must be an acceptable export format; that is, a good product also needs attractive packaging in order to be noticed,” she said.

Despite its name, the pavilion will remain after the exhibition has closed.

“We are opening this pavilion not only on the eve of EXPO. When the EXPO is over, we will not stop eating, just as well as other countries. At the same time, we understand that the exhibition is a very important image event in the country, so certain products will be exhibited under the brand name EXPO 2017, but this is not the main goal of the project. This is only the first stage of our development, so that at the upcoming exhibition we can show how rich Kazakhstan is to guests,” said Anarbayeva.

Halyk Markasy (Nation’s Mark) Federation President Rimma Tazhibayeva talked about the event planned for the centre during the Nauryz celebration.

“During Nauryz, we will open a gastronomic festival of national dishes of the nationalities of Kazakhstan. Within the festival, for the first time we will present Nauryz-kozhe (traditional cold soup), which will be prepared from 16 ingredients from 16 regions of Kazakhstan,” she added.

Tazhibayeva also promised that in the remaining 100 days before the EXPO, the pavilion will present new Kazakh brands every day. During the exhibition, tourists will be able to visit trade and exhibition events.

“This pavilion has two functions – first, we are collecting export-oriented products, and secondly, it is on the tourist map of EXPO. Soon, guests of the international exhibition will visit our unique pavilion where all the best things from our country are presented. The third uniqueness is that we will also have the products of the Eurasian Business Union from 30 countries of the world, which is very popular abroad and export-oriented. Thanks to these goods, our Kazakhstan commodity producers will be able to focus on their packaging and quality. In order for export to develop in our country, we must meet all these criteria. For this purpose, an exhibition of the Eurasian Business Union was created, so that our producers would be guided by entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries,” she added.

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#YesSheCan exhibition features women in rare occupations

Sun, 2017-03-12 03:15

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

ASTANA – The UN Women and Youth Information Service of Kazakhstan public Fund raised the issues of women’s participation in the country’s economic life and the rights and opportunities of women in the workplace by organising exhibitions in honour of International Women’s Day. This year, women in rare occupations are in the focus of special attention.

Zulfiya Baimukhanova

“We raise issues of the economic possibilities of women, that women should get equal salaries, equal career opportunities and so on. This year, we decided to pay special attention to women who work in non-traditional, rare occupations, to show that they can develop a career and succeed at professions dominated by men. We want this to be an inspiration for young women, for them to know that they don’t only have the role of being a mother, but that they can also succeed as individuals and as professionals,” Aijamal Duishebaeva, one of the organisers, shared with The Astana Times.

The #YesSheCan exhibition was held March 6-11 in Astana, Almaty, Shymkent and Semei.

“We also like to reduce gender stereotypes, like [that about] women not being able to work in rare specialties, for example. For that reason, we gathered all these women heroines from different career fields, like a woman pilot, a bus driver, an oilfield worker, a football lawyer, a boxer, a policewoman and other categories of young and elder women. We want to show that women can do anything if they have a will and a possibility,” she said.

Thirty-year-old Zulfiya Baimukhanova works as an oil engineer. Her love for math and physics impacted her choice of this profession. In 2009, Baimukhanova was named a geological engineer at one of Kyzylorda region’s deposits. Seven years later, she switched to another company that operates in the gas recovery field and became a leading geologist.

“I can never say that discrimination took place. When I began my career, I felt care and concern from my colleagues and superiors because I am a young woman. Working at a deposit is physically challenging for females, but I grew as an engineer and as an individual thanks to my knowledge, initiative, hard work and thirst for knowledge. Like that, I rose to the category of first level engineer and led the well research service,” she said, according to Tengrinews.

Aishabibi Tashkenbayeva chose to be a navigator because she loves the sea. During her first year, she went on a two-month journey in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We fell under a week-long storm and underwent first aid, firefighting and survival training. I was in Hawaii, San Francisco, Richmond, Long Beach, Singapore, Japan and the Canary Islands,” she said, adding her parents supported her choice after seeing how interesting it was for their daughter to learn and explore the world.

Tashkenbayeva noted the women held responsibilities similar to the men without concessions, such as doing renovation works in oil tanks. Young women should not be afraid of anything and chose a career where they want to prove themselves, she added.

Many people told Svetlana Kan that martial arts are not for women, that this type of sport is exceedingly dangerous.

“However, in reality any type of sport tempers you as an individual and helps to achieve goals,” said Kan, who is now an international Taekwondo instructor, according to the news agency.

These are only some examples of women’s success stories. All of these women are inspiring, passionate, successful and happy about whom they have become and none have regrets about their career choices.

A joint statement was released March 7 by Norimasa Shimomura, UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan, Elaine Conkievich, UN Women Representative in Central Asia, Natalia Alexeeva, Head of the UN Environment Programme sub-regional office for Central Asia and Vlastimil Samek, Department of Public Information representative, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“On this International Women’s Day, we call upon the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, civil society and the private sector to support the achievements of women, recognise the challenges that exist and pay greater attention to issues of women’s rights and gender equality in the workplace. Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realise their full potential. We in the United Nations believe that Kazakhstan, which has already made significant progress in the field of gender equality, is fully able to achieve this global goal, namely gender equality – Planet 50-50 by 2030. From our side, we are ready to render all possible assistance,” read the statement.

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European Investment Bank expected to provide 200 million euro to KazAgro

Sun, 2017-03-12 02:51

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

ASTANA – The European Investment Bank is going to provide 200 million euros to KazAgro to modernise grain storage facilities, purchase agricultural machinery and assist with the production of seeds and livestock breeding, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg Almaz Khamzayev announced March 9.

Khamzayev said KazAgro holding is working with the European Investment Bank on terms to grant the loan. It is planned the funds will be sent through subsidiaries of the agrarian holding to purchase harvesting and post-harvest equipment, modernise grain elevators, invest in seed production and cattle breeding technologies, excluding GMOs and cloning, as well as grow fruit trees, Kapital.kz reports.

“Currently, negotiations are continuing. It is expected that this credit line of EIB will be opened for a period of 15 years. In addition, it is possible that by the end of the year one more credit line will be opened and signed by one of the subsidiaries of KazAgro. This credit line will also be intended for the agricultural sector,” Khamzayev said.

The ambassador highlighted that the cooperation is important for the development of small and medium-sized businesses.

Last year, Kazakhstan and Hungary created a cooperative fund of direct investments in Kazakh agriculture. The fund was created on a parity basis: $20 million was gained from KazAgro holding and $20 million from the Eximbank of Hungary. The cooperative project became the first international investment fund in the history of Kazakh agriculture. It is expected that it will attract investment. In particular, KazAgro is negotiating with China and the U.K. to create similar mutual investment projects. It is planned that the Kazakh-Hungarian fund will attract up to $100 million to the Kazakh agricultural business.

“Agricultural business will certainly be funded in our country, and we expect the arrival of professional industrial management in our sector. We also expect the introduction of elements of corporate governance and the opening of additional markets for Kazakhstan recyclers,” said Chairman of KazAgro Nurlybek Malelov.

Business people from the Czech Republic are interested in projects and investments in the agricultural and industrial complex of Kazakhstan. In particular, the entrepreneurs are focused on the construction of agricultural farms in Kazakhstan. They intend to cooperate with Kazakh agrarians in the field of crop production, livestock and poultry breeding. Czech investors are also interested in buying mineral fertilizers in Kazakhstan.

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