THE ASTANA TIMES

Subscribe to THE ASTANA TIMES feed
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

Kazakh national team reaches Davis Cup World Group playoffs

Tue, 2017-04-11 08:13

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

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s team reached the Davis Cup World Group playoffs defeating team China 4-1 in the Asia/Oceania zone on April 7-9.

Kazakhstan was favoured going into the match as China has never played in the World Group. The Chinese team got the chance to play against Kazakhstan thanks to a 5-0 win over Taipei.

“I think every team in the Davis Cup is a serious opponent, because representing a whole country at such a high level is a great honour and responsibility. That means every player from the opponent teams that will enter the court will be ready to defeat Kazakhstan in Astana. Everyone will undoubtedly fight for the win,” said Kazakh team captain Dias Doskarbayev.

However, Kazakhstan’s experience paid dividends the first day. In the first single match, Mikhail Kukushkin took a confident win over Di Wu of China with a score of 6:2, 3:6, 6:3, 6:2 and brought the Kazakhstan’s team up.

The next player at the court of the National Tennis Centre in Astana was Dmitri Popko, who had his debut in the Davis Cup. This talented and promising player has been talked about for several years, but only this year is he representing the country in such an important match. It was a tough one but Popko beat China’s strongest player 6:3, 6:4, 7:5. After the first day, Kazakhstan led the match2:0, and just one more win was enough to secure a place in the Davis Cup World Group playoffs.

This happened on the second day during a doubles match featuring Kazakh players Andrei Golubev and Alexander Nedovesov. The beat Chinese opponents Yan Bai and Mao-Xing Gong 3:6, 6:1, 5:7, 6:1, 6:3 in a tense match that lasted more than three hours. Kazakh tennis players achieved the main goal of returning to the elite of world tennis.
The doubles match between China and Kazakhstan was decisive, and many fans came to support the team and give the home team an edge.

“This match can be compared to a thriller movie. It was very tough. Andrei and Sasha didn’t start the match well, but their stiff characters helped to win and get through to the Davis Cup World Group playoffs. ,” Doskarayev said.

On the final day Alexander Nedovesov lost to Ze Zhang 6:3, 4:6, 1:6, and Dmitry Popko defeated Di Wu 6:7, 7:5, 7:6.The national team of Kazakhstan won4:1 to reach the Davis Cup World Group playoffs.

 

 

 

 

The post Kazakh national team reaches Davis Cup World Group playoffs appeared first on The Astana Times.

Astana, Baku have significant potential to overcome economic challenges together, Kazakh envoy says

Tue, 2017-04-11 00:46

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

Kazakh Ambassador to Azerbaijan Beibit Issabayev recently sat down with The Astana Times to discuss the countries’ bilateral relations in the wake of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s April 3 official visit to the country.

Beibit Issabayev

 

What is your assessment of the recent visit of the head of state to Azerbaijan?

The visit was quite successful. The main attention during meetings as part of the visit was paid to trade and economic, transit and transport, energy and agricultural cooperation between the two countries. The parties reached specific agreements on cooperation in railway, transport, and agriculture areas.

Moreover, they considered new avenues for cultural and humanitarian cooperation between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. The heads of state discussed the possibility of holding youth forums, days of culture of our countries and other events.

Particular attention was paid to the Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation (IGC). Following the visit, the IGC received specific instructions, in particular, the President of Kazakhstan instructed to study the export and import pattern of the two countries and identify commodity items both sides might be interested in. Moreover, he instructed to develop a road map indicating the specific list of goods produced in both countries and the possible scope of supply. The sides also agreed to hold the 14th IGC meeting in Baku this May.

Following the visit, it was also decided to establish a bilateral working group to resume supplies of Kazakh grain to the Azerbaijani market and increase the supply of agricultural products to Kazakhstan. In addition, the prospects of cooperation in shipbuilding will be discussed jointly with Azerbaijan, in particular, through placing Kazakh orders in shipbuilding enterprises of Azerbaijan or creating a joint venture.

In short, the dialogue, during which all issues for discussion were addressed, was fruitful and constructive. The main outcome of the official visit was the signing of the joint declaration by the two presidents, as well as nine various intergovernmental and interagency agreements.

 

How do bilateral relations develop in general? How do you assess trade and economic cooperation between our countries?

As I have already said, Azerbaijan is our key political and economic partner in the Caucasus. We are optimistic about the prospect of further progressive development of bilateral relations. President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the former President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, who is referred to as the National Leader, laid the basis for these close relations. Today, these relations continue to develop under the current President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

I want to note that the sides mutually support each other’s foreign policy initiatives. This resulted in the support of Astana’s bid for the Astana EXPO 2017 specialised international exhibition and support of Kazakhstan’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. We, in turn, voted for Azerbaijan as a member of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organisation.

As for bilateral trade and economic relations, I can say that Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan closely cooperate in many areas. At the end of 2016, mutual trade turnover amounted to $124.38 million, which is up by 7.9 percent compared to 2015. It is worth noting that in previous years these figures were significantly higher. This is due to the global economic recession and the difficult situation in the world economy. However, during the visit we considered additional internal reserves for the growth of mutual trade. The Kazakh President cited the example of Azerbaijan’s annual purchase of cigarettes worth more than $250 million, imports of black metal and copper for $260 million, as well as agricultural products and other goods worth hundreds of millions of dollars from other countries. In this regard, it was suggested to consider a mechanism under which the sides could use goods produced in both countries.

The main export items from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan today include mineral resources (oil and gas), chemical raw materials, grain, barley and electrical equipment. Kazakhstan imports petroleum products obtained from bituminous materials, ethylene polymers, components for vehicles and mechanisms, prefabricated building structures and agricultural products.

An important aspect of bilateral cooperation is the operation of the seaports of Kuryk (Kazakhstan) and Alat (Azerbaijan) on the Caspian Sea. In December 2016, we completed the construction of a ferry complex in Kuryk with a planned capacity of up to four million tonnes of cargo per year. It will focus on the transhipment of oil products, grain, chemicals, fertilisers and other cargoes and will ensure the transhipment of goods without unloading them from cars. Two ferry terminals for cargo vehicles have been built in the port. The first cargo arrived from Kuryk to the Baku International Sea Trade Port on March 24. It should be noted that the shipping time was reduced to 18 hours, while it took 22 hours to ship from Aktau.

On March 1, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia agreed terms for cargo transportation by rail and ferry in the directions of Alat-Aktau-Alat and Alat-Kuryk-Alat.

Port Kuryk is located along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), which is of great importance for handling the increasing volume of goods in this direction. Given further implementation of transport projects in our countries, we need to increase interaction between our ports, regulate their operation, and develop common standards for customs and other formalities.

Today, global geopolitics is undergoing great changes and the world economy is experiencing another crisis. However, we have sufficient potential to overcome this crisis together. And today our task is to use it in the right way.

 

What joint projects do our countries have today?

At the moment, Kazakhstan has registered more than 700 companies with the participation of Azerbaijani capital. Azerbaijan has registered about 60 companies with the participation of Kazakh capital.

The joint Kazakh-Azerbaijani enterprise Baku Grain Terminal LLC (BGT) for receiving and transhipping Kazakh grain has been operating in Baku since 2007. Along with supplying high quality grain to Azerbaijan, BGT serves as an important link in the re-export of Kazakh grain to the Caucasian and Black Sea regions, as well as to the EU countries.

The basis of the enterprise is a grain terminal equipped with five silos for temporary storage of grain with a total capacity of 15,000tonnes. The terminal’s production capacity for grain transhipment is 300 tonnes per hour, and the annual transhipment volume reaches 500,000 tonnes of grain. In this regard, during the visit, the President of Kazakhstan instructed to develop a mechanism for additional grain supply to Azerbaijan this year in the amount of 200-300 thousand tonnes in order to fully utilise the BGT capacity. Moreover, the relevant ministries and agencies were instructed to consider the possibility of subsidising the supply of Kazakh grain to Azerbaijan in the future.

Cooperation continues with the Accord Company on the construction of the international transport highway Western Europe – Western China in the Kyzylorda and South Kazakhstan oblasts, as well as on the Shymkent-Tashkent highway reconstruction.

In 2013, at a meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev the Kazakh President brought up the need to increase the supply of fruit and vegetable products from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan, as well as to build a large logistics centre in western Kazakhstan. Following the agreements, 2014 saw the beginning of the construction of the Centre of Production and Logistics Azersun in the Aktau Seaport (Special Economic Zone) SEZ. To date, the construction is completed and the centre is now operational. Its capacity is 10,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetable products, 2,500 of which are fresh vegetables and fruit. This was helpful in resolving the issue of food supply to arid western regions of our country. And right after Baku, during his regional visit to the Mangistau oblast, the head of state was briefed on the work of the centre and instructed to increase its capacity, ensuring not only the storage of fruit and vegetable products, but also their processing.

Currently, the Azersun Company plans to begin the construction of another logistics centre for processing agricultural products worth about 20 million euros. Various options for continuing the construction of the logistics centres in other regions of Kazakhstan, including through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are also being considered.

The head of state commended the collaborative momentum between railway agencies of the two countries given by Kazakhstan, including the Agreement on Strategic Cooperation between Kazakhstan Temir Zholy National Companyand Azerbaijan Railways in the field of logistics and railway transport engineering, signed during the visit of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to Azerbaijan. The agreement includes a paragraph on the guaranteed supply of Kazakh railroad products to Azerbaijan worth more than $500 million during 2017-2020.

During the visit, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the general principles for the establishment of a joint venture between KTZ Express Shipping LLP and ACSC Logistics to improve the operation of seaports in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

 

 

The post Astana, Baku have significant potential to overcome economic challenges together, Kazakh envoy says appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazatomprom, Areva to strengthen uranium mining cooperation

Tue, 2017-04-11 00:28

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

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s national atomic company Kazatomprom and French company Areva signed April 10 in Astana a major agreement to strengthen cooperation in uranium mining in Kazakhstan.

Photo credit: kazatomprom.kz

The agreement creates new opportunities to develop and enhance KATCO operations. KATCO is their joint venture, 51 percent of which belongs to Areva and 49 percent belongs to Kazatomprom.

“It is symbolic that we sign the strategic agreement with our reliable partners in the year of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kazatomprom. A positive example of mutually beneficial cooperation is the successful implementation of joint projects in the nuclear fuel cycle. In addition, the provisions of the agreement correspond to the tasks set by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, to preserve leadership in the uranium mining market and to create a nuclear company competitive in the world,” said Chairman of Kazatomprom Askar Zhumagaliyev.

“This agreement strengthens our twenty-year partnership with Kazatomprom for the mutually economic benefit of the two partners and for longstanding nuclear cooperation between Kazakhstan and France. It gives KATCO a new long-term perspective with the development of the South Tortkuduk project, which will extend its production for the next two decades,” said CEO of Areva Philippe Knoche.

Kazakh Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev and Chairman of Areva Philippe Varin took part in the official signing ceremony. Experts believe the agreement will bring additional value for both shareholders of the company.

KATCO was established in 1996 to produce uranium using the in-situ recovery method at the Muyunkum deposit in the South Kazakhstan region. The company uses the international experience and knowledge of Areva and Kazatomprom, which are considered to be two leading uranium mining companies in the world.

Areva aims to use nuclear materials to support the development of society, first and foremost in the field of energy. The company offers products, technologies and services with high added value throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
Kazatomprom is the national operator for export of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, special purpose equipment and technologies as well. The company works on uranium production, geological exploration, production of nuclear fuel cycle products and construction materials.

 

The post Kazatomprom, Areva to strengthen uranium mining cooperation appeared first on The Astana Times.

CIS ministerial council condemns religious discrimination during meeting in Tashkent

Tue, 2017-04-11 00:22

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

ASTANA – The Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) agreed on a number of important documents and confirmed its commitment to interreligious equality during its regular meeting April 7 in Tashkent. The Kazakh foreign minister took part in the meeting and held bilateral talks with his colleagues from CIS member states.

The council adopted a statement on inadmissibility of discrimination and intolerance against Christians, Muslims and representatives of other faiths. The statement highlighted the role of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which has become a platform for global interreligious dialogue on preventing and combatting intolerance and discrimination based on religion.

The foreign ministers also signed multiple documents agreed on a number of important documents, which will be submitted for consideration by CIS heads of state later in the year, and which develop the initiatives of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, voiced at the CIS Summit in Burabai in October 2015, to adapt the CIS to modern realities.

The agreements included reforming the CIS Economic Court. It will be transformed into a new, optimised ad-hoc format, which implies the transition of judges’ work to a non-permanent basis, drastic reduction in the number of its staff and, as a result, saving funds for its maintenance.

The heads of delegations also approved documents relating to law enforcement. The measures to implement legal, organisational and information-analytical issues approved by the ministers seek to strengthen interaction between CIS member states in this area.

Participants of the council have traditionally paid special attention to cultural and humanitarian cooperation. The parties fully supported the “Cultural Capitals of the Commonwealth” draft programme. Kazakhstan proposed to name Shymkent as the cultural capital of the CIS in 2020. Armenian Goris will be given this status in 2018, and the city of Brest in Belarus in 2019. Astana was the cultural capital of the Commonwealth in 2012 and Almaty in 2014.

During a meeting in a narrow format, the foreign ministers discussed regional and global issues. Abdrakhmanov informed his colleagues on the work carried out by Kazakhstan over the first 100 days as a non-permanent member of the UN Security council and dwelled upon the priorities of the country indicated in the political address by President Nazarbayev to the members of UNSC.

Abdrakhmanov also held bilateral meetings with his colleagues from CIS member states on the sidelines of the meeting.

Talks with the head of the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev symbolically took place on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Eternal Friendship between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic signed in Almaty April 8, 1997. The sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen relations in the spirit of the abovementioned treaty.

The meeting with the Tajik Minister Sirojiddin Aslov also took place in a friendly atmosphere in the light of the upcoming exchange of ratification instruments for the entry into force of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Kazakhstan and Tajikistan signed in Dushanbe Sept. 14, 2015.

Finally, Abdrakhmanov took part in the regular meeting of foreign ministers of Central Asian states, which saw a thorough exchange of views on the situation in the region, ways of intensifying regional cooperation in priority areas and avenues to strengthen cooperation within international and regional organisations.

Abdrakhmanov informed his colleagues in detail on Kazakhstan’s work in the UNSC, mainly in the context of promoting the common interests of the region at this high platform and transforming Central Asia into a “zone of peace, cooperation and security”, as Nazarbayev said in his address to UNSC members.

 

The post CIS ministerial council condemns religious discrimination during meeting in Tashkent appeared first on The Astana Times.

Astana Arlans suffer first WSB season defeat in Uzbekistan

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:45

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

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Astana Arlans boxing club was defeated for the first time in the World Series of Boxing’s (WSB) new season. The Arlans lost 4-1 to the Uzbek Tigers in the April 1 away match.

Photo credit: sports.kz

Dilmurat Mazhitov was unable to beat Elnur Abduraimov (64 kg), Ilyas Suleimenov was defeated by Abdulhay Sharahmatov (56 kg) and Saparbay Aidarov lost to Israil Madrimov (75 kg). In the fourth fight, the Arlans’ Anton Pinchuk (91 kg) beat Zuhriddin Mahkamov, gaining the first point for his team. In the last fight, Temirtas Zhussupov (49 kg) fought against Val Barker Trophy winner Hasanboy Dusmatov. The Kazakh boxer failed to defeat the Rio Olympic champion, with the match ending in favour of the host team.

The Astana Arlans’ next match will be held April 22. Its opponent will be the China Dragons.

To date, the Kazakh team has occupied first place in its Group C (Asia) with 12 points from five matches. It has already qualified for the playoff stage as the best team of the season in its group. The Uzbek team is in second place with nine points.

WSB is a league that sees the world’s best amateur boxers competing in teams without headgear and using the scoring system of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA). According to the WSB website, the origin of the league “reunited the broader boxing world and its grassroots amateur foundation by providing a bridge between Olympic Boxing and a future professional programme within the AIBA family.”

WSB is wholly owned by AIBA. All WSB boxers are also registered with AIBA and all referees and officials working WSB matches are specifically certified for the competition. Franchises have a national identity and are formed by national federations. Teams are allowed a quota of overseas boxers: a maximum of eight in total and no more than three of the same nationality.

Teams compete in the ten AIBA standard weight categories. The regular season takes the form of a league phase, with the teams facing each other home and away in alternating weight categories. The top teams continue to the playoff stages.

Teams representing franchises across the globe compete in a league format leading to playoffs and a final. The boxers compete in five three-minute rounds and five bouts per match.

This year, WSB includes three geographically based groups each with four teams. The Arlans are in the Asia group with the Russian Patriots, Tigers and Dragons. The other groups are Americas and Europe, and Middle East and Africa. The first two teams from the groups and two best-ranked third teams will reach the playoffs.

The post Astana Arlans suffer first WSB season defeat in Uzbekistan appeared first on The Astana Times.

Huge beluga fish caught in Atyrau, first reported this season

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:35

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

ASTANA – Fishermen of the Amangeldy production cooperative in Atyrau recently caught a huge beluga fish weighing 160 kilogrammes. The fish was caught in seine in the lower part of the Ural River on April 1, ATPress.kz reports.

Photo credit: © Rakhim Koilybayev-ATPress.kz

“She is more than two metres long. The fish is now placed in a pool of one of our production facilities and we plan to get its spawn for reproduction in a little while,” said Gilman Sarsemaliyev, head of Ural-Atyrau sturgeon fish-breeding farm, according to the news website.

This is the first sample of this year’s spring fishing season that fishermen from fishing enterprises have reported.  

Engineer-in-Chief of the fishing enterprise Bolat Mukhatzhiyev said they did not encounter big-sized beluga fishes last year. There was a 120-kilogramme male beluga but no females were there, according to him.

Mukhatzhiyev said the fish that was caught is in a good condition and has no visible wounds.    

“We will keep hoping we will receive a good brood from her very soon. We will wait for favourable weather conditions for beluga fishes and begin pairing male and female species. I can say that we will be able to get more than 30 kilogrammes of roe from this fish,” he stated.

Fishermen of the Amangeldy cooperative caught a 300-kilogramme, 3-metre-long beluga fish about four years ago, in April 2013. The big fish tore through the net and nearly escaped, news reports say. Staff of the fish breeding farm were not able to save the life of beluga but cut the fish open to derive roe.

Over the years, fishermen from this cooperative have caught more that 70-80 percent of all species of sturgeon breeds that this farm has.  

Beluga is among the biggest freshwater fishes on earth. They live for 100 years. Some specific species reach up to 1 tonne or 1,000 kilogrammes in weight and 4.2 metres in length. It is considered great luck to catch a big beluga fish.  

The post Huge beluga fish caught in Atyrau, first reported this season appeared first on The Astana Times.

Turgay geoglyphs can help reveal nomadic secrets, says discoverer

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:24

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

ASTANA – “Perhaps there are no monuments of global significance on our land like the Egyptian pyramids or the Colosseum, but the role of nomads in world history is undeniable,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in June 2008.

Dmitriy Dey

More than a year had passed since mysterious structures were discovered across Northern Kazakhstan in March 2007 by Kostanai resident Dmitriy Dey, but the lack of information on dating and belonging to an archaeological culture prevented making statements about finding ancient monuments of global importance. Meanwhile, their size, geometric accuracy and historical value fully deserve to be classified as such.

The Turgay geoglyphs triggered great interest among foreign archaeologists, scientists, mass media and even esotery scientists. During the past 10 years, Dey and a team of archaeologists and scientists made 14 expeditions and discovered 344 geoglyphs, or large elements produced on the ground. According to the working hypothesis, the earliest geoglyphs date as far back as 8,000 years.

“During the research, we collected and studied many published materials and scientific papers related to the Turgay trough. Our team analysed processes of geological changes over the past 50,000 years, including natural disasters, which led to various changes in the Turgay trough. However, the answers to the questions of who, when and why built the geoglyphs were not answered until the beginning of 2012. By this time, the team studied the work of Harvard University Professor Anatole Klyosov in the field of DNA genealogy and the discovery of Chankillo, the oldest solar observatory, made by an archaeologist from Catholic University of Peru, Professor Ivan Ghezzi,” Dey said in an interview for this story.

The ancient monumental complex in Peru is similar to the Turgay geoglyphs, which led to the idea of applying the method of tracking the yearlong movement of the sunrise at Chankillo to the Turgay sites. StarCalc, the professional astronomy planetarium and star mapping programme, allowed modelling the annual sunrise and sunset point observation cycle and applying it to the Turgay objects’ latitude and longitude coordinates. Calculations showed the Turgay geoglyphs can be used as solar calendars. Dey, however, needed to verify a rule on the Turgay site: objects should be located above the horizon line relative to the calculated observation point to work according to the principle of the solar observatory.

Financial support from Rinat Naimanov, general director of AllianceStroyInvest, provided the funding to equip and complete five reconnaissance expeditions in 2012. In the course of field research, 14 of the 19 objects found at that time were examined. At each facility, Dey gained visual confirmation that the objects are located above the horizon line relative to the calculated observation points and can be used as solar calendars. Artefacts from the Mesolithic and Neolithic epochs (10,000-6,000 BP) were discovered not far from 10 of the 14 investigated structures, particularly artefacts related to the Mahanjar culture. In the following years, five more objects were inspected, which also gave confirmation of the location above the horizon line relative to the calculated observation point.

Having reviewed the results of studies of various scientific disciplines (archaeology, geology, climatology, DNA genealogy, etc.), the team formulated a working hypothesis of the origin and mission of the Turgay geoglyphs.

About 45,000 years ago, homo sapiens tribes (the ancestors of modern humans) with the haplogroup K(xLT) Y-DNA came to the territory of Southern Siberia, which at the time was inhabited by Neanderthals and the newly-discovered Denisov man (both extinct human subspecies). This haplogroup became the ancestor of haplogroups K, M, N, O, Q, R1a and R1b, R2 and S.

Known carriers of haplogroup R1b are the House of Steward (Scottish monarchs), House of SaxeCoburg and Gotha (German dynasty), Windsor royal house of the United Kingdom, Romanov dynasty from Peter III, Kings of Denmark and Norway, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and several other U.S. presidents.

“According to the testing results of royal families’ members of the Western world, the haplogroup R1b appears in the male line. That is, according to the working hypothesis, their ancestors laid the foundations of the civilisation of the modern European world in the Turgay trough from 9,000 to 6,400 years ago,” said Dey.

He announced the Jan. 1 start of an international Turgay Discovery project, encouraging people throughout the world to make their own contributions by visiting the website turgay.kz. The international project aims at raising funds for research, as well as further interaction with foreign scientific institutions to organise expeditions to the Turgay sites.

“In June this year, we are planning to hold expeditions to the geoglyphs of the Turgay trough. Our team will carry out scientific research and make high definition photo and video shootings of the geoglyphs using a drone. All data and research results will be submitted to the project participants. We will shoot missing footage and edit the documentary popular science movie ‘Puzzle Vremeni’ (Time Puzzle). Nina Burleigh, a journalist from the American weekly news magazine ‘Newsweek,’ is ready to visit Kazakhstan this summer to participate in the expedition,” he said.

The post Turgay geoglyphs can help reveal nomadic secrets, says discoverer appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan to produce Ravon Nexia R3

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:17

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

ASTANA – Kazakh SaryarkaAvtoProm and GM Uzbekistan recently signed an agreement to cooperate on production of the new model of Nexia R3 of the Ravon brand. The companies are in the final stages of preparation to produce the cars using the large-block assembly (SKD – semi knocked down) technology in Kostanai, according to the press service of AllurGroup.

It is planned to produce 3,000 cars per year in Kostanai at the initial stage. The producers plan to make up to 7,000 cars per year in the future. The sales of Ravon Nexia R3 will be carried out using the dealer networks of AllurAuto and UzAvto Asia.

Ravon Nexia R3 is the facelifted Chevrolet Aveo sedan, which was presented in 2016. It is available with the 1.5-liter petrol engine having 105 horsepower paired with the 5-speed manual or the 6-speed automatic transmission. The original Chevrolet Aveo is a small car produced from 2002 till 2011 by Daewoo. It was sold in 120 countries under seven brands: Daewoo, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Ravon, Holden and Suzuki.

Preceding model, called Daewoo Nexia, was extremely popular in Kazakhstan. Approximately 500,000 cars of the model were produced and part of them found buyers in Kazakhstan and are still used here. The model was popular for construction simplicity, reliability and maintainability and became the first car for many locals. Taxi companies often chose the model as well. Management of SaryarkaAvtoProm and GM Uzbekistan hope that the new model will be as popular as the previous one.

AllurAuto is a group of automotive companies established in 2003. Today, the group is the manufacturer and official distributor of SsangYong, Chance and Iveco. It is the official dealer of Suzuki Motor Corporation and Mitsubishi Motor Corporation as well.

GM Uzbekistan is a joint venture between Uzbek UzAvtosanoat, with 75 percent of shares, and the U.S. General Motors, with 25 percent of shares, for the manufacturing of automobiles. It is situated in Asaka, Uzbekistan.

The post Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan to produce Ravon Nexia R3 appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan continues historic focus on science and innovation

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:13

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

It lasted less than two hours, but the impact of the first manned space flight on April 12, 1961 still rings around the world more than half a century later. The individual bravery of Yuri Gagarin, combined with the extraordinary vision and engineering brilliance which put him into orbit, remains a powerful symbol of how the most difficult challenges can be overcome. Space travel continues to inspire and encourage humanity to raise our sights.

It is why the traditional Cosmonautics Day marked on April 12 has now spread from former Soviet countries. The date is now officially recognised globally as the International Day of Human Space Flight. But there are very few countries where the day has more resonance than here in Kazakhstan.

This is not just because it was from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that Gagarin, as well as the first Sputnik four years before, started their epoch-making flights. It is also because Baikonur has played a major role in helping Kazakhstan build its own advanced space and science capability.    

These resources, in today’s global knowledge economy, have never been more important. Last year, Kazakhstan signalled its determination, through the creation of the new Ministry of Defence and Aerospace Industry, to use them to drive the modernisation of the economy.

The aim was to bring together the expertise which, until then, had been spread across the government. Its new focus will help strengthen hi-tech industries and boost research and development as well as ensure the country’s security.   

It is not just in aerospace and defence where Kazakhstan has a remarkable history. The same is true in the nuclear sphere although this time the legacy has a very dark side. Our country is still struggling with the appalling human and environmental damage caused by nearly 500 nuclear weapon tests – the reason why Kazakhstan has been such a powerful champion of nuclear disarmament.

But nuclear technology can be harnessed, of course, for peaceful as well as destructive ends. As the world struggles to limit climate change, civilian nuclear power seems certain to be a key part of the solution for delivering prosperity without adding to emissions in the atmosphere. Our national expertise, along with our role as the world’s largest producer of uranium, is key to this vital change.   

These decades of experience, our security expertise and our good relations, of course, with the world’s leading nuclear powers explains why Kazakhstan was the obvious choice to host the International Atomic Energy Agency’s low enriched uranium fuel bank. By providing low enriched uranium, the bank will enable countries to develop and fuel their own civilian power programmes without raising fears about nuclear proliferation. It has rightly been described as a global “game-changer.”

Kazakhstan’s space and nuclear track record give the country an important asset. But big steps have also been taken to bolster the country’s science and technology potential right across the board. The establishment, for example of Nazarbayev University as a world-class institution, underlines the country’s ambitions as does the investment in Almaty’s Technological University.

This summer’s EXPO 2017 in Astana on sustainable energy will also give another powerful boost to the country’s scientific and technological fields.  The decision to focus on future energy will see Kazakhstan host the world’s major players in this vital sector and allow ideas to be shared and new developments showcased. The pooling of scientific knowledge is one of the main goals of the Summit on Science and Technology of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation to be hosted later this year in Astana.

EXPO’s legacy will be important as well. The latest techniques have been used in preparing the exhibition site, which will help raise standards across the country’s building industry. Part of the site as well has been ear-marked to be used as a high-tech hub, as well as providing new facilities for students, staff and researchers at Nazarbayev University.

There is one other important asset, which should not be forgotten in looking at Kazakhstan’s potential in the industries of tomorrow – the country’s young generation. The investment being made in education and, in particular, science is paying off.

International studies have shown Kazakhstan’s pupils score better in math and science than, for example, their counterparts in Germany, the U.K., the United States, Poland and Australia. It is a great launch pad for the future.

The post Kazakhstan continues historic focus on science and innovation appeared first on The Astana Times.

Shymkent oil refinery completes first stage modernisation

Sat, 2017-04-08 09:10

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

ASTANA – The first stage of modernisation at the Shymkent oil refinery has been completed and new equipment is in place to produce only high-octane gasoline and diesel fuel of K4 and K5 ecological classes, according to a document signed recently by refinery officials.

Photo credit: Otyrar.kz

The document specifies that the upgrading of the refinery’s largest facility  – the isomerisation unit for light gasoline fractions with a unit for the preliminary hydro treatment of raw materials – has been completed.

The installation will increase octane resources and reduce the volume fraction of benzene, which is a carcinogenic substance, in commercial motor gasoline. The commissioning of new equipment has also been launched and is scheduled to be completed by July.

The first modernisation stage includes the establishment of a sulphur production unit with a production capacity of 4,000 tonnes per year. An existing diesel fuel hydro treating unit was reconstructed, and the construction of a pressurised bulk filling plant of light oil products and other facilities of the factory infrastructure was completed.

The project uses modern and advanced refining technologies from the world’s leading companies: UOP from the U.S. and CPE from China. Technip from Italy and Kazgiproneftetrans from Kazakhstan have also worked on the project.

The general contractor of this project is China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the oil and gas industry.

After the completion of the first stage of the project, the Shymkent refinery will produce only high-octane gasoline and diesel fuel of the K4, K5 ecological classes, which are analogous to Euro-4 and Euro-5 classes. They satisfy the technical regulations of the Customs Union and will reduce vehicle emissions.

Production of high-octane gasoline at the plant will be increased by 460,000 tonnes per year, diesel fuel by 226,000 tonnes per year and aviation fuel by 27,000 tonnes per year. Production of low-octane AI-80 gasoline is possible to meet the needs of the domestic market.

Production will continue throughout the modernisation project.

The post Shymkent oil refinery completes first stage modernisation appeared first on The Astana Times.

EU launches human rights, civil society development programmes in Kazakhstan

Sat, 2017-04-08 08:57

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

ASTANA – Nine new projects funded by the European Union in Kazakhstan worth 3.8 million euros, were presented April 7 in Astana. The projects seek to improve living conditions, the development of democracy and human rights, the participation of civil society in a political dialogue at national and local levels, as well as the strengthen the rule of law.

Photo credit: Kapital.kz

The EU is contributing 3.2 million euros, or about 85 percent of the total cost. The projects are funded under the three thematic programmes of the EU – the programme to support judicial reform in Kazakhstan, the European instrument for democracy and human rights and the NGO and local government development programme. The initiatives meet Kazakhstan’s goal to implement institutional reforms within 100 concrete steps.

Ambassador of the EU in Kazakhstan Traian Hristea said that the event reflects importance of EU assistance in developing civil society in Kazakhstan.

“Since Kazakhstan has achieved the status of a middle-income country, starting in 2014 bilateral activities within the cooperation instrument for development are not being carried out anymore, but the country still has the full right to participate in the regional programme for Central Asia for 2014-2020,” he noted.

According to Hristea, the EU mission is engaged in several bilateral projects. One is facilitating Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy with the receipt of 7.1 million euros from the EU and the other supports judicial reform with 12 million euro in funding.

During the period of 1991-2014, in order to provide direct support the EU financed over 350 projects in Kazakhstan worth 180 million euros. They were aimed at providing policy advice and technical assistance to various ministries, departments and committees of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Under the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, Kazakhstan can receive financial and technical assistance from the EU based on a number of legal instruments. For the period of 2014-2020, those instruments are the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), the Nuclear Safety Cooperation Instrument, the Partnership Instrument, and enhancing the quality of education and student exchange within the framework of the ERASMUS+ programme.

The post EU launches human rights, civil society development programmes in Kazakhstan appeared first on The Astana Times.

Government presents new agriculture development programme

Sat, 2017-04-08 08:28

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

ASTANA – Prospects for cooperation in the agro-industrial sector were presented to the diplomatic corps in Astana at a joint briefing hosted by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture on April 5. The newly adopted State Programme of Agro-industrial Development was also presented.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Askar Myrzakhmetov as well as Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov held a joint briefing for representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Kazakhstan and international business associations.

In his opening remarks, Abdrakhmanov spoke about the Joint Action Plan signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which seeks to coordinate and combine the activities of the two agencies in the investment and export spheres of the agro-industrial complex. The minister also noted that, given new global realities, Kazakhstan is prioritising the accelerated development of the agro-industrial sector.

“Another significant area of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ activities in agriculture is the exchange of knowledge and experience. For example, in late April, Kazakhstan will host seminars on drip irrigation, which will be attended by representatives of neighbouring countries, as well as Kazakh and international experts,” he said.

In his speech, Myrzakhmetov called on foreign diplomats and representatives of the international business community to take active part in the successful implementation of the new programme. He stressed that Kazakhstan has all the prerequisites to become one of the world’s largest producers of organic food and a real bread basket of Eurasia. In his state of the nation address, “Third Modernization of Kazakhstan: Global Competitiveness,” President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev tasked the government with developing the agricultural sector as a new driver of the country’s economic growth. The 100 concrete steps plan to implement Kazakhstan’s five institutional reforms project also provides targeted measures for the development of agriculture.

Myrzakhmetov stressed the importance of the strategic documents being implemented, which provide Kazakhstan with an opportunity to develop and strengthen business cooperation with foreign countries.

Vice Minister of Agriculture Gulmira Issayeva presented the new Agro-industrial Development State Programme for 2017-2021 that was adopted Feb. 14, 2017. She outlined the main goal of the programme: increasing the volume of agricultural production and exporting popular and competitive agricultural products that are in demand.

She also talked about eight tasks for implementing this programme, including involving small and medium-sized farms in agricultural cooperation, saturating the domestic market and developing the export potential of domestic products, making effective use of financial measures of state support and other steps.

Issayeva also touched upon measures under the programme that provide for a better investment climate in the agricultural industry. Among others, she named the law “On foreign investments,” which provides a wide variety of benefits to investors, among them the standardisation of public services, target and preferential lending, tax incentives and subsidies. All of these are aimed at attracting more investment and therefore helping develop the agricultural industry of Kazakhstan.

 

The post Government presents new agriculture development programme appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan, Turkey to create joint chamber of commerce and industry

Sat, 2017-04-08 08:11

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

ASTANA – Kazakhstan and Turkey are planning to establish a joint chamber of commerce and industry, according to the Deputy Chairman of the board of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Nurzhan Altayev.

“The fifth meeting of the Business Council of the Turkic-speaking countries is considering the establishment of a joint chamber of commerce and industry between Kazakhstan and Turkey. It will unite all branch associations and entrepreneurs – from the Kazakh side those who work with the Turkish side and vice versa. To deepen our relations, remove barriers and obstacles, if they exist.  The offices will be located in Astana and Istanbul,” said Altayev at a recent meeting of the business council of Turkic-speaking countries.

According to Atameken officials, in mutual trade turnover between the two countries a large share is taken by exports from Kazakhstan to Turkey. But Kazakhstan mainly exports raw materials.

Meanwhile, in the near future it is expected that Uzbekistan will join the business council.

The Turkic Business Council unites the economic world of the Turkic-speaking countries and strengthens the business cooperation of the participants. The recent meeting discussed economic relations, trade and business opportunities, as well as the activities of the council, in particular the organisation of a special business forum on alternative energy within the framework of the EXPO 2017 exhibition.

The Turkic Business Council, which includes Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, was established in 2009, and it meets annually in one of these countries. This year, at the initiative of Kazakhstan, the council met in Astana.

Chairman of the Board of the Atameken Chamber of Entrepreneurs Ablai Myrzakhmetov, President of the Turkey’s Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges Rifat Hisarciklioglu, Chairman of the Customs and Tourism Enterprise Arif Parmaksiz, President of Azerbaijan’s National Confederation of Entrepreneurs Mammad Musayev, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kyrgyzstan Marat Sharshekeev, as well as representatives of the Kazakh and Turkish business community attended the meeting.

The post Kazakhstan, Turkey to create joint chamber of commerce and industry appeared first on The Astana Times.

First stage of national healthcare system to launch July 1

Sat, 2017-04-08 08:05

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

The first stage of Kazakhstan’s compulsory social health insurance system based on the joint responsibility of the state, employers and citizens will be introduced July 1, announced Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev at an April 1 government meeting on improving the healthcare system.

This issue was discussed as part of the implementation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s annual address to the nation “The Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan: Global Competitiveness.”

The head of state directed government and private sector entities to develop promising industries, including 3D-printing, digital services in healthcare and education. Nazarbayev has set a task to develop and adopt a “Digital Kazakhstan” programme.

A wide range of medical services will be provided for the medical insurance system participants. Participation of socially vulnerable layers of the population will be supported by the state.

“The government needs to ensure the necessary healthcare informatisation. Private medical organisations should provide equal conditions in the compulsory social health insurance system to encourage competition. I instruct the government and akims (governors) to carry out a wide range public awareness activities. It is also necessary to legislatively introduce price regulation for all medicines,” the President said in his Jan. 31 address.

The basis for a new model of Kazakhstan’s economic growth should be the qualitative development of human capital. The government has been implementing a set of measures to ensure social modernisation of the country.

The post First stage of national healthcare system to launch July 1 appeared first on The Astana Times.

Young Kazakh chess grand master ranked among world’s top 30 female chess players

Sat, 2017-04-08 07:50

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

ASTANA – Young chess champion and grand master Dinara Saduakassova is now ranked among the world’s top 30 female chess players after winning first place at the recent HD Bank Cup International Open Chess in Vietnam.

Photo credit: Honglinh Cu Đồng

“People are very hospitable and kind there. It was cold when I was leaving Astana while the weather in Ho Chi Minh City was hot. Big temperature differences, double tournaments plus a powerful lineup of players. All that was a test of endurance, training and will. But I played with success, I’ve made a serious hike in the rating and entered the world’s top 30 chess players among women,” Saduakassova told The Astana Times.    

She held a simultaneous play in new Mega Silk Way  shopping centre near the EXPO 2017 exhibition area on April 2. Seventy amateur chess players out of 107 got a chance to play with Saduakassova instead of 30 as planned initially and the event took four and a half hours instead of two hours.

“These sessions have always been popular among chess lovers but today the amount of people who wanted to play exceeded all expectations!” Saduakassova noted.

“It is incredible that adults showed great interest on par with children and many arrived a bit earlier to make it to the chess session. I am endlessly happy to be aware of the fact that the love for chess grows each year among Kazakh people,” she continued.

Saduakassova prefers open tournaments and playing chess with men rather than woman. According to her, men are less likely to give in to emotions.

Photo credit: Bạch Dương

For the first time, she will play in the men’s tournament April 2 to April 22.

The chess grand master said she enquired with Kazakhstan Chess Federation  requesting to permit her to play at men’s championship and was happy to learn  her request was granted. She believes there is no point in placing a great focus on this as she played with men before and even in Kazakhstan.

“It has been long since I have been playing chess with men at various tournaments and I do not see anything unusual about it,” Saduakassova said, according to Vesti.kz.    

The post Young Kazakh chess grand master ranked among world’s top 30 female chess players appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan pushes transition to green economy  with help from adb, clean energy fund

Sat, 2017-04-08 07:40

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

ASTANA – Renewable energy resources in Kazakhstan produced 32 percent (up to 928 million kilowatt-hours) more energy in 2016 compared to the previous year. However, the share of renewable sources of energy in total output remains less than 1 percent.

Photo credit: Millioner.kz

Wind power stations increased output the most, nearly doubling their output to  130 million kilowatt-hours. The capacity of renewable energy sources increased by 18 percent, up to 296 megawatts.

“As of today, the energy consumption of some countries like Costa Rica, Uruguay and others is 95 to 100 percent generated from renewable energy sources. This level does not exceed 1 percent in Kazakhstan yet, having increased from 0.77 percent in 2015 to 0.98 percent by the end of 2016,” energycom.kz reveals.

“The other 99 percent of energy needs in Kazakhstan are met with traditional sources. Of that 99 percent, 79 percent comes from fuel power plants, 12 percent from water power plants and 8 percent from gas power plants,” analysts added.  

The government’s green economy concept predicts increasing renewable energy sources’ share in total consumption to 3 percent by 2020,  to 10 percent in 2030 and up to 50 percent by 2050, including alternative sources of energy.

A project to assist Kazakhstan’s development of its renewable energy sources is being put into action in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and financed by the Clean Energy Fund. The project was launched in March.

The Asian Development Bank will provide technical support to Kazakhstan’s energy company, KEGOC, to increase its potential in planning energy systems that can integrate renewable energy sources into the national network.

The project costs $1.4 million. The Clean Energy Fund’s contribution will be $1 million and the other $400,000 is to be provided by KEGOC.

 

The post Kazakhstan pushes transition to green economy  with help from adb, clean energy fund appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakhstan “seriously concerned” over growing tensions in Syria, calls for investigation of chemical attack

Sat, 2017-04-08 05:50

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

ASTANA – The Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “serious concern” over the growing tensions in Syria in an April 8 statement on the situation in that country.

“Kazakhstan strongly condemns any use of weapons of mass destruction as immoral, inhuman and contravening the principles of humanity,” the ministry said in the statement. “We deem it fundamentally important to conduct a comprehensive, objective and impartial international investigation of this fact under the auspices of the United Nations in order to bring to justice those responsible.”

According to the ministry, “further escalation of the conflict and hardening of positions of the parties jeopardize all previously reached agreements of the world community in the fight against the terrorist threat, including those reached in the framework of the Geneva and Astana processes, and dim the prospect of achieving a comprehensive peace and harmony on the Syrian land.”

“We emphasise the importance of maintaining and strengthening the regime of cessation of hostilities between the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and armed opposition groups, which was enacted on December 30, 2016. We call upon the guarantor states of the Astana process to exert maximum effort to prevent further escalation of the conflict,” the ministry said.

Earlier this year Astana hosted three rounds of high-level talks on ending the military confrontation in Syria as part of that has become known as the Astana process. It brought together representatives of the three guarantor states, Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as the Syrian government and armed opposition, along with representatives of the UN, the United States and Jordan.

“Kazakhstan firmly adheres to the position that the settlement of the Syrian conflict is possible only by peaceful means of dialogue and reconciliation, and calls for the continuation of direct negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups on maintaining the ceasefire within the framework of the Astana process with the involvement of all parties concerned,” the statement from the foreign ministry concluded.

The post Kazakhstan “seriously concerned” over growing tensions in Syria, calls for investigation of chemical attack appeared first on The Astana Times.

Economic development shall be considered along with urban planning, says Kazakh architect

Sat, 2017-04-08 05:48

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

ASTANA – Urban planning as an applied science and spatial planning has recently become popular in Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the practical neglect of urban planning objectives and possibilities inevitably leads to economic losses. Amanzhol Chikanayev, author of the idea of agglomerating territories, member of the architectural council under President Nursultan Nazarbayev, honorary architect of Kazakhstan and professor at the International Academy of Architecture, spoke about the future of the urban planning science.

Do you think the expression “the world is urbanising” is inapplicable to Kazakhstan? After all, the estimated urbanisation rate in the country remains no higher than 60-65 percent.

The figures vary depending on the research level. Even if we accept the figure you gave, the development of large cities was negatively affected by what happened with our industry and agriculture in the 1990s. Make no mistake and do not think of urbanisation as an exclusively positive concept. Problems in rural areas made villagers stream into cities in pursuit of a better life and earnings.

Cities began to grow rapidly and spontaneously. However, not every villager with the diploma of an agronomist, zoo technician or even a mining engineer can find a job in a city in their field. A whole army of low-skilled workers from among tens of thousands of former village residents found themselves engaged in trade and pushing trolleys with imported goods in numerous bazaars and markets in cities. Now, the burden on urban infrastructure has increased dramatically and its development does not keep up with the needs of new citizens. What could be the solution? We need to look for new approaches based on new principles of economic management.

Does this mean that a specialist engaged in territorial and urban planning should now think beyond urban planning?

Urban planners must plan a territory in a way that will make a new economy effective. For this, one must understand what kinds of problems there are and what territorial planning should look like. When we delved into these questions, we identified a number of problems. The first has to do with spontaneous and even stimulated urbanisation, which leads to the growth of towns and cities and the transformation of the latter into megacities. By supporting urbanisation, we prioritise the allocation of budgets to cities and finance the development of urban infrastructure. Thus, making cities even more attractive to villagers, we turn them into strong magnets. As a result, this intensifies “washing away” the rural population and depopulation of rural areas. People who arrive in large cities cannot afford buying houses and getting a job, so they do their best to stay in suburban settlements.

This results in their fusion and integration into something qualitatively new – an urban formation which is usually called an agglomeration. Here again, the question is what to do? I would be glad if the current urbanisation led to the development of new industries, new technologies, construction of high-tech plants and growth of IT companies…

Does it mean that urban planners have to guide economists, analysts, etc. and join their efforts to develop a clear vector of development?

This is possible only if urban planners have a broad outlook and large-scale thinking. I should say, not every urban planner has such abilities. Some of them are used to drawing beautiful lines borrowed from abroad. But not everything that works well abroad can be applicable to us.

I have been abroad many times and understand the reasons that allow them to improve their living standards. This made me reflect on our situation. We have a potential that will help Kazakhstan take a rightful place in the world market. It can be easily integrated into the system of designs of the master plan.

The head of state pursues a wise and sound policy, requiring us to diversify the economy and turn it into a competitive one, producing goods with high added value that are in demand not only domestically, but also abroad. How can we do that? By analysing the situation, we state that we should compete in the global economy. Hence, our products must be of a better quality and cheaper than those of world corporations. And they, in fact, take the most favourable conditions from different countries: labour, commodities, they combine technologies. That is why they have very high quality products with a low final price.

So, we need to compete with them. The question is how? 

Our territory is divided into oblasts [regions]. If each oblast does something in isolation, it will not work. Therefore, the country’s territory can be divided into three large economic areas, the macro regions. Let us start from the north. There are Sokolovsko-Sarbaisk and Lisakovsk iron ore deposits with the fourth largest reserves in the world. We also have Torgai (Turgay) bauxites. The central part of the country is rich in copper deposits in Zhezkazgan and Balkhash, a new abundant deposit 15 kilometres from Temirtau and large coal deposits in Karaganda, Ekibastuz, Kushmurun and Shubarkol. Ekibastuz has a major power plant which satisfies the electricity demands of the entire central and northern Kazakhstan and even exports it. East Kazakhstan is rich in copper, zinc, silver, gold, uranium, rare metals and rare-earth elements.

Thus, the northern, central and eastern parts of the country are a large economic region with a strong resource potential to develop related and complementary industries: mining, metallurgy and machine building.

I have an objection. In theory you brought them together, but in practice they are all private enterprises. What private owner would want to team up with anyone if they are already profitable?

You are right. I also had a natural question: Why are engineering and manufacturing plants producing high value added products not being created so actively? There is the issue of privatisation. Large industrial enterprises fell into private hands. Each entrepreneur sells products to an enterprise of the next technological link and has its revenue. At the most, there is only the second level of processing. On the way to mechanical engineers, products, which include all revenues of the chain, acquire the highest price on commodity. A mechanical engineer should turn everything into a final product, which becomes very expensive. As a result, our mechanical engineering is so underdeveloped. In Western countries, corporations are united and they distribute revenues in accordance with the final result. They deliver products at their cost of production to the next level of the chain, and thus, the final cost is low. The revenue of the final product is being distributed according to the shares of participation.

Nevertheless, can we compete with transnational corporations?

We have a resource capacity that allows us to do that. We must create investment passports of regions. Thus, there would not be a need for a businessperson to seek what is beneficial or not in regions. Such a document will have information on electric energy resources, transport infrastructure, logistics, sources of commodities and social infrastructure. Everything should be described. From this perspective, it will be easier for a businessperson to find his or her investment niche. We also should not forget that such a niche must be beneficial for the society and the state.

Tell us about the Almaty agglomeration development scheme. What do you plan to do in the region?

The President set two objectives for us: the first is to lessen the burden of overpopulation in Almaty and to create prerequisites for solving transport and environmental problems of the city; the second is to transform Almaty and the Almaty agglomeration into a zone of breakthrough industrial and innovation development of the economy. Today, Almaty has more than half of the scientific and research organisations and higher education institutions of the republic. But it lacks the relevant production, laboratory and experimental base.

We propose establishing an industrial and innovation centre in Kapshagai, which will create conditions for opening industrial, production and experimental enterprises and branches for advanced technologies by Almaty’s technological universities. Higher education institutions will place research centres there and will build university campuses for advanced students and professional staff. Of course, undergraduate students will stay and study in Almaty. However, the majority of Almaty students will move to Kapshagai. Graduate students will be involved in very interesting work in innovation technologies. The development of industry and social infrastructure in the resort zone of the Kapshagai water reservoir will attract labour migrants from other regions. Thus, a powerful countermagnet city will emerge to pull migration flows from Almaty.

The rural areas of the Almaty and Shymkent agglomerations will preserve the excess labour force, since even a countermagnet city will not be able to accommodate all those who wish to move there. What do you think?

Historically, the Great Silk Road passed through the territory of Almaty and the South Kazakhstan oblast. This region has many monuments of tangible culture, history and architecture. The richest and the most abundant foothills were there. There were excellent conditions for growing vegetables and berries, melons and fruits, cotton, oilseed and sugar beets.

That is why it is feasible to promote tourism in these agglomerations and rural territories themselves shall be used for intensive agricultural production to the greatest possible extent. The priority is to create large-scale production on the basis of cooperation.

There are offers to form intensive agricultural production in the south by creating big orchards, vineyards and vegetable plantations. In parallel, there is a need to raise the level of processing.

The task of government and business is the following: it is necessary for them to build processing enterprises and warehousing storages and to develop logistics. We, urban planners, should take this into account. For instance, we design settlements with family greenhouses; simultaneously, we foresee the construction of industrial hothouses and processing enterprises. We are reconsidering the existing logistics and we are planning and designing the Kyzylorda-Zhezkazgan road in order to sell our southern goods in the territory from Kostanai to the Russian Urals and even Siberia. This is the chain. It will completely reorganise the industrial and social landscape of the territories.

This is huge work and we practically do not have time to implement it, because the world is rapidly changing. What is the timeframe and how much money is needed?

It does not depend on us – on urban planners. We do not manage finances. However, since we live in a market society, we need to establish conditions in order for investors to inject money in the national economy.

As for the human capital deficit in urban planning: How do we address this and with whom?

At first sight, it seems that the state of human capital is more than perfect. Dozens and hundreds of Ph.D. theses are being defended. It seems to be a great intellectual power. But what is the value of these researchers? We claim that if Kazakhstan wants to occupy a decent place in the world economic space, we should start preparations now for post-industrial development. We must produce machinery, equipment and electronics that will be competitive on the global market. We have favourable conditions which have to be immediately revealed.

In my opinion, today we should unite efforts of agencies responsible for industry, agriculture and transport to rapidly analyse methods of the formation of industrial and agricultural policies of the country. Along with the development of enterprises, sectors and industrial economy, there is a need to upgrade and foster human capital. There is a form, but the content is needed.

The post Economic development shall be considered along with urban planning, says Kazakh architect appeared first on The Astana Times.

Kazakh UN envoy calls for joint efforts and compromises to find political solution to conflict in Syria

Sat, 2017-04-08 05:44

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

ASTANA – The most difficult times call for greatest efforts and also the greatest of compromises, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to the United Nations Kairat Umarov said April 7 at the extraordinary UN Securiy Council consultations on the situation in Syria. That is why Kazakhstan, with an ever stronger impetus, calls on all parties concerned to refrain from actions that could increase risks of military escalation in Syria.

“My delegation is gravely concerned by recent developments and absence of unity of the Council Members on the chemical track in Syria,” he said.

Bringing Kazakhstan’s observations and recommendations on the critical political aspect of the situation in Syria, Umarov emphasised that the lack of unanimity may eliminate hopes of the Syrian people which arouse from the historical resolution 2336.

“We should not undermine an inclusive political negotiating process, as provided for in resolution 2254. Geneva-5, held from 23 to 31 March, was able this time to move from discussing formal and procedural issues to the substantive and political aspects of future peace talks. In this regard, we simply cannot allow ceasefire to dissolve as our last chance to realise the long-awaited peace to the Syrian land,” he emphasised.

Astana considers the April 4 gas attack in Syria as a crime against humanity, condemns the use of chemical weapons and stresses the importance of having a thorough, objective, strong and impartial investigation into all aspects of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun, Umarov said. This will allow the international community to make a fair verdict against the perpetrators in full compliance with international law.

“We would like to remind that the principal position of Kazakhstan is not only the most severe condemnation of the use of WMD by any party, especially against the civilian population, but also the resolution of conflicts exclusively by peaceful means,” Umarov stated.

He also noted that the parties have to respect the sovereignty of member states of the UN and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Nevertheless, he underlined the urgent need of a political solution to the conflict.

“Only political-diplomatic solution can bring peace in Syria and we call on international community to exert political will to overcome differences and negotiate peace in Syria,” he said.

Astana insists that the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as other parties must thoroughly execute their obligations of complying with the relevant recommendations by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN. This should be done by accepting personnel designated by them, while providing for and ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel, by providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect, in discharging their functions, any and all sites, and by allowing immediate and unfettered access to individuals that the OPCW has grounds to believe to be of importance for the purpose of its mandate.

“The crisis in Syria that is still unfolding has its impact not only on the region, but the entire international community. Kazakhstan, therefore, believes that the regional approach, involving neighbouring countries which have influence on parties in Syria conflict should be considered a very effective method in mitigating the situation and preventing further deterioration,” Umarov said.

According to him, there is a strong need to continue supporting the aims of the Astana talks and further Geneva negotiations, and of the three guarantors, in order to see positive outcomes.

Concluding his speech, he noted the Kazakh side welcomes significant results of the recent ministerial-level conference held in Brussels, which was chaired by the EU and the UN and attended by many IGOs and NGOs.

“It is encouraging with the pledges made and sending a message of solidarity to the people of Syria, and all those impacted by the conflict. The meeting will increase the amount of the much-needed essential humanitarian assistance provided to the Syrian people, which is most important for achieving our political objectives,” he stressed.

The post Kazakh UN envoy calls for joint efforts and compromises to find political solution to conflict in Syria appeared first on The Astana Times.

Chinese companies expand cooperation with Kazakhstan

Fri, 2017-04-07 05:32

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

ASTANA – Four agreements and a framework agreement on cooperation and trade with Food Corp. were signed between Kazakhstan and Chinese companies as part of a two-day visit to Beijing.

The Kazakh delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Askar Myrzakhmetov, discussed increasing quotas for Kazakh grain supply to China and strengthening investment cooperation with the Chinese committee to promote international trade and representatives of Chinese companies.

New directions for economic development, investing in Kazakhstan’s deep processing projects and expanding the supply of domestic food products to Chinese markets were on the agenda.

Negotiations were held with committee representatives. About 200,000 tonnes of food products from Kazakhstan were delivered to the Chinese market in 2014–2016 and the figures are expected to increase.

“We discussed the issue of the supply of Kazakh beef and mutton to Chinese markets. We agreed that all barriers in the way of our exports will be lifted before the end of this year,” said Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Deputy Board Chairperson Nurzhan Altayev.

Representatives of Macau Legend Development Ltd. discussed the prospects of constructing an enterprise in Kazakhstan for integrated processing of agricultural waste (straw). They agreed to organise a visit of Kazakh specialists to a similar operating enterprise in China.

A decision on joint cooperation with the China National Agricultural Development Group, a subsidiary of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, was also reached.

An agreement was signed with the China Certification & Inspection Group to collaborate on training farmers applying for pre-inspection to clarify the shortcomings and recommendations for removal prior to the official inspection by the General Directorate for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Cooperation between KazAgro and the Silk Road Fund and the possibility of financing agro-industrial projects at the expense of the fund were discussed. Materials on large-scale expensive projects in the agro-industrial complex will be sent to the Chinese party.

China National Machinery Import & Export Co. announced it will hold a specialised exhibition on agricultural machinery in May.

Shandong Hi-speed Group expressed interest in constructing a plant for processing oilseeds and investing in various agricultural sector projects.

Wilmar International proposed expanding cooperation in trading grain and oilseeds and their processing products, mainly wheat and vegetable oils (rapeseed, linseed oil and sunflower oil).

A project to produce tomato paste is currently being carried out jointly with the Kofko Co. and the experiment on cultivating tomatoes will continue this year. The project is included in the list of 51 joint Kazakh-Chinese investment projects, with plant construction to start in 2018 in the Kyzylorda region.

 

The post Chinese companies expand cooperation with Kazakhstan appeared first on The Astana Times.