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Int’l political, business leaders discuss One Belt, One Road initiative at St. Petersburg Economic Forum

Tue, 2017-06-06 05:07

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

ASTANA – International representatives of political and business circles gathered at the June 1-3 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). More than 100 events were devoted to the main topic – the search for a new balance in the global economy. At least 12,000 people from 130 countries participated.

Photo: kp.ru

“Last year, Kazakhstan chaired the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). A key topic in the agenda of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship was the expansion of trade and economic cooperation with third countries and their regional associations. We have taken this track for all the coming years. Cooperation with the European Union (EU) is very important for us. More than half of our trade falls on the EU. However, our volumes of mutual trade are narrowing in recent years due to the complication of the geopolitical situation,” Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tatiana Valovaya said, 24.kz reports.

Discussions were organised around the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. According to analysts, Kazakhstan plays an importing role as a key transit hub. Approximately 1,200 trains out of 1,700 from China to Europe pass through Kazakhstan on an annual basis.“Formation of a big Eurasian partnership and its integration with the OBOR strategy are set to expand the integration path. This process would facilitate the development of new technologies and realisation of global mega-projects in the EAEU,” EEC Minister in Charge of Industry and Agroindustrial Complex Sergey Sidorsky said at a May 31 scientific and technological conference ahead of the SPIEF.

Photo: eurasiancommission.org

Event participants discussed the strategic priorities of the partnership within the OBOR strategy, energy and environmental strategies, programmes and projects in the area of plasma technology, energy efficiency, environmental safety, the use of cross-sectoral multidisciplinary platform for virtual development and testing of next-generation products and other topics.

Sidorsky informed about the ongoing work of the EEC on the integration of state structures and the business of the union countries, the interaction of the EEC with the Eurasian Development Bank in financing joint projects and scientific and innovative cooperation within the union.

According to him, the creation of the New Silk Road should go in line with the technological development of existing enterprises and the formation of closed-loop value chains within the EAEU. Development of digital technologies and creation of a single digital space in industry and agribusiness are believed to be promising areas of joint work.

Meanwhile, a number of joint projects are being implemented under the partnership. Thus, the Great Stone industrial park is now the largest joint project of Belarus and China designed for decades. Kazakhstan has developed initiatives on 50 major industrial projects in sectors such as metallurgy, light industry and radio electronics. Russia is implementing the Krasnoyarsk technological valley project.

Sidorsky also stressed the importance of connecting the leading scientific centres of the union countries to the systemic work on the integration of the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB).

“The intensification of joint efforts of science, business and states will converge in the industrial development of our countries, create innovative production and bring the real sector of the union’s economy to a new level,” Sidorsky added.

The SPIEF has been held annually for 20 years. Since 2006, the forum is held under patronage and with the participation of the Russian President.

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British programme at EXPO 2017 focus on creativity as source of energy

Tue, 2017-06-06 04:55

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

ASTANA – The British Council will present the Future Creative programme to bring U.K. contemporary culture to Kazakhstan and to promote cooperation between cultural leaders of Kazakhstan and the U.K. as part of the EXPO 2017. The programme will focus on the U.K.’s economy and feature a package of innovative projects in music, theatre and creative leadership designed to engage citizens in the life of smart cities.

“The theme of the U.K.’s cultural programme Future Creative is closely connected with the theme of EXPO 2017 Future Energy and the U.K. Pavilion theme We Are Energy, which is focused on the power of the individual to regenerate energy and change the world. Future Creative programme will show that creativity is an important source of energy inspiring and enabling people to change the world for the better,” said the representative of the British Council.

The City Nomads 2.0 exhibition will be held from June to August. All the exhibits within the exhibition are united by a common search for unique cultural codes, typical for the modern urban nomad.

It will display works created jointly by Kazakh designers and artisans. This exhibition symbolises a dialogue between these two groups: artisans, who protect the cultural heritage and follow traditions, and designers, who experiment and create new forms.

“The display is an attempt to present an environment that will surround modern urban nomads. How will their way of life change? What city nomads will take with them, traveling from city to city, from country to country? What will their belongings consist of: modern objects from concept stores or symbols of the past? What is more important for a modern urban nomad: convenience and utilitarianism or authenticity and uniqueness?” the representative said in a statement.

The Playable City, interactive urban installations will be organised in August. The international project uses urban architecture and smart city technologies to create new connections between people and the city. Through interactive and creative installations in urban spaces, the Playable City involves the city and residents in a dialogue with each other. The project was presented on five continents, from Bristol to Tokyo. It will be presented for the first time in Astana.

Bring the Happy, a multidisciplinary project will be held July-August. The project consists of two components. The first is an interactive map of the city, where during the month everyone will be able to mark the places where they were happy, leaving a small comment, why this place is important for them. The second component is a theatrical performance, which is created on the basis of collected happy memories. The project was created by the Invisible Flock, the British interactive art studio, known for unusual creative works using the latest technology.

The conference of cultural leaders of Kazakhstan and U.K. will be Aug.12. The conference aims to facilitate dialogue for cultural leaders from the U.K., Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia and to discuss prospects and opportunities for the development of creative economy in the region in cooperation with authorities and business representatives.

The London Modern Orchestra (LMO) plans to stage a performance in August. Founded in 2008, the orchestra is considered one of the most innovative and respected music bands in the U.K. They will perform in collaboration with local musicians.

The events will be held at multiple venues, including concert halls, shopping centres, on the streets of Astana and the British pavilion at the expo.

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Diverse economic development key to Astana growth, says city official

Tue, 2017-06-06 02:23

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

ASTANA – Investments play a vital role in the development of any country. Much has been done to attract investors to Kazakhstan, but plenty of tasks are ahead. In an interview with The Astana Times, the capital’s Department for Investments and Development head Alisher Abdykadyrov talked about the results and future goals in that direction.

The department is the division of the akimat (city administration) which manages investments, concessions and activity coordination in the Astana – New City special economic zone, as well as other regulated types of investment activities in all sectors of the city’s economy.

“The main goals of the department are contributions to the social and economic growth of the capital through the development and implementation of strategic initiatives, as well as attraction, support and development of the investments in all sectors of the economy, including the industrial and innovation sector and the tourism sector,” said Abdykadyrov.

The department’s main objective is Astana – New City, which has been functioning since 2002 and has repeatedly expanded its territory since its creation. Today, the total area is more than 7,600 hectares, including Industrial Park No. 1 (598.1 hectares), Industrial Park No. 2 (433.1 hectares) and a city light rail line (72.41 hectares).

“The free economic zone Astana – New City targets an accelerated development of Astana, which is reached by attracting investments and using advanced technologies in construction, as well as creation of a modern infrastructure. Also it aims to create highly efficient development, including high-tech and competitive production, of new types of products,” he added.

The zone’s main advantages are exemption from paying taxes and customs duties, infrastructure construction through public funds, single customs space, favourable geographic location, business climate and protection of investors’ rights, as well as full support of projects.

“I think several projects are worth mentioning among the completed ones in Industrial Park No. 1, such as Lokomotiv Kurastyru Zauyty, a plant for the production of locomotives with the capacity of 100 diesel locomotives per year, or Electrovoz Urastyru Zauyty, a plant for the production of electric locomotives which assembles around 50 electric locomotives a year. Another big project is Tulpar-Talgo plant, which makes 150 passenger cars per year. Also [I should mention] Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering, an armoured wheeled vehicle production plant, and Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering with a GLB precast plant and plant for production of defence electro-optical products,” he said.

In 2016, 10 projects worth a total of 37 billion tenge (US$118.4 million) were put into operation within the industrialisation programme, including projects involving foreign investors and multinational corporations. The biggest projects include Selena Insulations, which produces building materials and was implemented by the Polish multinational corporation ranked as one of the top three producers of polyurethane foam in the world. The cost of the project is one billion tenge (US$3.2 million).

Another huge success was the launch of a paper products manufacturer with the participation of the Turkish company Ipek Kagit, which has a capacity of 4,400 tonnes of product per year. The project cost is 3.4 billion tenge (US$10.8 million). Swissgrow produces fertiliser based on a Swiss technology with the participation of a Turkish investor. The capacity is 150,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year and the project cost is 460 million tenge (US$1.4 million)

“Considering the great work and role of the state, as well as the adopted 100 Concrete Steps Programme of the head of the state, the capital and the country as a whole have great potential and everything necessary for the implementation of investment projects,” said Abdykadyrov.

Taking into account the existing advantages, the akimat identified ten priority sectors, including five key and five supporting areas.

“The first key priority is tourism. Due to the world-class sports and cultural facilities created in the capital, as well as the medical cluster, Astana will become an international centre for event, business and medical tourism. The second one is a construction cluster, including new technologies in construction, new materials and engineering, which will ensure a favourable growth of the capital, both on a territorial and economic scale. The third is development of the financial centre. Astana International Financial Centre will have a special set of conditions for world investors, such as an independent legal system based on the principles of English common law, tax incentives, a simplified visa and labour regime, the modern infrastructure of the EXPO international exhibition and communication with major world financial centres via direct flights,” Abdykadyrov explained.

“Number four is modern production, including solutions for smart cities. The fifth one is public services and international organisations, which means attraction of regional headquarters of international organisations to Astana and formation of proposals on improving national regulation in the sphere of non-profit organisations,” he said.

Abdykadyrov noted the supporting sectors are vocational education, health (medical tourism), trade and logistics and creative divisions, as well as culture and sport.

Assessing the last year, the results were decent despite the economic challenges.

“Over the past year, the volume of investments in fixed assets amounted to more than 837 billion tenge (US$2.67 billion). For three months of 2017, according to statistical data, investments in fixed assets amounted to 122.7 billion tenge (US$392.3 million),” he said.

“In general, the akimat is doing a lot of work in the field of investments; new potential investors are being searched on a regular basis. Active work is underway on public-private partnership projects that will reduce the burden on the local budget. This year, 10 industrial projects are planned to be put into operation, including the NYK Line (transportation) and logistics terminal (Japan),” he added.

A great deal of attention is paid to the companies that addressed possible investments following visits by the head of state and capital’s mayor to foreign countries.

“For example, we are cooperating with Calatrava Grace Corporation, with United Arab Emirates’ companies, Dubai Investments and Sabis International School,” he said.

The department hopes EXP0 2017, taking place from June 10 to Sept. 10, will also give new impetus to existing businesses and an influx of domestic and foreign investment into the capital.

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Kazakh National Bank launches sale of gold bars

Tue, 2017-06-06 02:06

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

ASTANA – Chairperson of National Bank Daniyar Akishev announced May 31 that Kazakh citizens can buy gold bars weighing 10, 20, 50 and 100 grams. The price starts from 126,000 tenge (US$403). The most expensive 100-gram bar will cost 1.26 million tenge (US$4,032).

Photo credit: Golden-inform.ru

“Our main idea is to launch a liquid and active market. The gold ingots can be quickly purchased and sold. Banks will be obliged to buy these bars from citizens on demand without any restrictions,” Akishev said.

In the future, the National Bank plans to allow the purchase and sale of gold bars through the exchange offices of non-bank legal entities after corresponding legislation will be amended.

The chairperson highlighted that the first person to buy the bars was Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The President has bought all four types of gold ingots.

Akishev explained prices depend on the situation on world exchanges. He also said that the ingots are specially produced and measured in grams, not in ounces, because Kazakhstan citizens are used for this type of measure.

According to him, the first participants of the project are Halyk Bank and Eurasian Bank. Gold ingots can be bought in Astana, Almaty, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Atyrau. In the future, the geography of gold ingots sales will be expanded, as well as the number of participating banks.

The gold bars are produced in a special vacuum package.

Akishev explained it is necessary to keep the integrity of the package to avoid any examinations.

Approximate prices for gold ingots are as follows:

10 grams – 126,000 tenge, (US$403).

20 grams – 254,000 tenge, (US$813).  

50 grams – 635,000 tenge, (US$2,032).

100 grams – 1.26 million tenge, (US$4,032).

“The gold bars are 100 percent made in Kazakhstan. The National Bank guarantees the high quality of gold ingots with a breakdown of four nines. As the programme is being implemented and popularised, we are ready to produce ingots with a larger mass in case of need,” Akishev said.

A gold bar is a quantity of refined metallic gold which is produced according to special standards. They have special labelling. Small bars are usually manufactured by minting or stamping from appropriately rolled gold sheets.

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KIOGE turns 25, looks to further successes

Tue, 2017-06-06 01:27

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

ALMATY – The Kazakhstan International Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference – KIOGE – is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Since its first edition, it has been attended by heads of government and ministers from various countries. In its initial years, the exhibition was opened personally by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Photo credit: 365info.kz

In fact, KIOGE was the first international industry event in Kazakhstan. Participants over the years have included leading global giants such as Chevron, BG, Shell, NCOC, KPO, ExxonMobil, Total, Tengizchevroil, Lukoil, Statoil, OMV, Gazprom and, of course, KazMunayGas National Company. Many participants have remained faithful to the project for many years and are ready to present their stands at the 25th anniversary edition, takes place Oct. 4-6 in Almaty.

Since its creation, the KIOGE exhibition and conference has received support from the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan, the city administration of Almaty, KazMunayGas, the Union of Service Companies of Kazakhstan, and diplomatic missions from participating countries.

The business programme of the conference will include a two-day event full of sessions, round tables, and official document signing ceremonies.

The conference’s plenary session will be dedicated to reviewing the formation of Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry and assessing its current state, while experts will share their vision for the future of hydrocarbons. The conference will continue with meetings on more specific topics, for participants to discuss exploration and production issues in terms of technological innovations and their economic impact. The issue of oil and gas transportation as a dynamically developing industry with great prospects will also be touched upon.

The conference programme provides for a special anniversary session: National Treasure: Kazakhstan’s Oil and Gas Industry in Faces. The successful development of the hydrocarbon sphere was achieved by professionals at all levels, from the senior politicians to local producers. Due to the authority and purposeful decisions of many local community leaders, the industry received foreign investments and opportunities to develop Kazakh companies and staff. The session will serve as a platform to meet industry legends, who will talk about how independent Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry was created.

Special events for exhibitors and visitors will be put on in the pavilions – presentations and media events by KIOGE partners and exhibitors. The Children Draw the World display has been organised in collaboration with the Kazakh National Federation of UNESCO Clubs.

The exhibition sectors will remain consistent, covering more than 10 industry sectors from geology and exploration to processing and consulting services.

The anniversary edition of KIOGE will have a celebratory atmosphere, whilst remaining a universal industry platform for customers and service providers for Kazakhstan’s main industry to meet.

The KIOGE Conference 2017 will take place Oct. 4-5 at the Intercontinental Almaty Hotel, while the exhibition will take place, as per tradition, at the Atakent Kazakhstan Business Cooperation Centre Oct. 4-6.

KIOGE 2017 is organised by Kazakhstan exhibition company Iteca and its international partners: ITE Group (the U.K., Germany, China, Russia, Turkey, the UAE and Malaysia).

 

 

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Rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities opens in Karaganda region

Mon, 2017-06-05 07:50

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

ASTANA – A rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities was opened in Karkaralinsk, a town in the Karaganda region. The centre was designed and built in consultation with those who will use the facility and in line with international standards.

“Inpatient social and medical care is as close to home conditions as possible … Creation of comfortable conditions for people with disabilities is a priority in the social policy of the state in accordance with the law on ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” said Deputy Akim (Governor) of the Karaganda region Zhandos Abishev, Kazinform reports.

The three-story building of the centre, which can treat up to 64 patients, was using daily consultations with people with disabilities who came to the construction site to consult with builders.

The project cost 703 million tenge (US$2.2 million), including the repair and purchase of medical equipment. At that, 447 million tenge (US$1.4 million) was allocated from the state budget for the construction. The remaining 225 million (US$717,000) tenge was given by a sponsor.

For visually impaired people, information is presented in Braille. The facility also includes two hairdressing salons, a room for social and domestic rehabilitation, a kitchen where people with disabilities can cook their own meals if they wish. In the medical building, there are double and single rooms. There is a separate block with beds for spinal patients. There are offices of traumatologist-orthopedist, rehabilitologist, neurologist and surgeons on the first floor.

“The institution is ready to provide services to more than 500 persons with disabilities per year. In total, nearly 16,000 people with disabilities live in the Karaganda region. The rehabilitation period lasts two-six weeks,” said Maxim Galiullin, acting head of the department for coordination of employment and social programmes of the region.

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Astana botanical garden to open in December

Mon, 2017-06-05 07:29

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

ASTANA – The construction of the botanic garden along Kabanbai Batyr Avenue will be completed in December, according to the city akimat (administration) press service. The garden will be open to the public throughout the year.

“The arboretum will be spread over a hundred hectares on the left bank of the city. Visitors will find an indoor greenhouse, artificial pond, running and cycling paths there. Exotic plants and about 55 species of palm trees will appear in the greenhouse. Another 600 species of trees that never grew in Kazakhstan will be brought from Europe,” said Astana-Zelenstroi Deputy Chairperson in charge of production Bibigul Bektemisova.

The administration of botanic garden plans to plant approximately 35,000 trees until the end of the year, added Bektemisova.

The botanic garden will also become a scientific laboratory, where educational, environmental activities and experiments on the cultivation and maintenance of new species of trees and shrubs in the climatic conditions of Astana will be held.

The energy supply of botanic garden greenhouse will be produced by innovative technologies with air humidity regulation.

Alleys, zones of water devices, public parking and catering facilities will be provided for the convenience of guests. The designers of botanic garden wanted to make not just a place of demonstration plants and scientific works, but also a unique natural complex based on a principle of unity with nature. Their idea reflects the interdependence of living creatures and the environment.

The conditions of the natural habitat will be recreated for plants. As for visitors, they will be in the habitat of plants that copies the natural environment. The formation of artificial relief will be used to transform inconvenient territories in all climatic zones of the Botanic Garden.

A working group monitored in February the growing and keeping tropical and subtropical plants in the climatic conditions of Kazakhstan in the Petropavlovsk Botanical Garden . Ravil Ryazapov, the honoured agronomist of Kazakhstan, professor and the creator of greenhouse in Petropavlovsk, was invited to help as an expert and scientific consultant.

“The exposition of the Petropavlovsk Botanical Garden surprised the representatives of the working group and we were asked how we managed to save plants in the conditions of northern Kazakhstan,” said Ryazapov, according to pkzsk.info.

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National Museum to hold several exhibits within EXPO 2017

Sat, 2017-06-03 03:54

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

ASTANA – Exhibits featuring Kazakhstan’s honoured art workers, the Terracotta Army, ancient Egyptian monuments and weapon arts will be held by the country’s national museum as part of EXPO 2017.

The June 6-July 10 solo exhibit will highlight Yerbolat Tolepbay, the country’s honoured art worker and state prize laureate, according to Tengrinews.

“Yerbolat Tolepbay’s inimitable style goes on the path of French post-impressionists. Vibrant colours, plain eloquent forms and the plastic arts of evocative portrayal recall experiences of Henri Matisse [French artist] and Wassily Kandinsky [Russian painter and art theorist]. That said, his paintings maintain a national flair, balancing European and Asian perception of the environment,” reported the news agency.

Tolepbay’s works are kept at the Tretyakov Gallery, Russian state museums, Kasteyev State Museum of Arts in Almaty, Kazakh regional museums and private collections in CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and other countries.

The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang (the first Emperor of China) exhibit will be held at the museum June 9-Sept. 10. The display is a collection of thousands of terracotta sculptures depicting his armies.

The figures vary in height according to their roles; the tallest are the generals and also include warriors, chariots and horses. Approximately 50 archaeological objects will be exhibited, including statues of warriors, weapons and utensils. The First Qin Emperor mausoleum is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

The museum also plans to organise “Sultan Beibars and his era” from June 10-Aug. 10. The exhibit aims to introduce visitors to the life and history of the rule by the Sultan of Egypt and Syria in the 13th century who hails from the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan.

“Ancient Egypt Monuments” will be held June 23-Sept. 3, featuring exhibits from the collection of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. The display includes his gold-plated, wooden chariot encrusted with semiprecious stones, throne and other items, noted Tengrinews.kz.

The second (June 30-July 31) solo exhibit on the list is Kazakhstan honoured art worker Batima Zaurbekova, whose works are also preserved at the national museum, Kasteyev Museum, Kazakh regional museums and private collections of in CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and other countries.
The July 3-Sept. 10 exhibit of arms from the Hermitage aims to showcase the advancement stages of weapons and arts, featuring items made by the work and talent of craftsmen from the past, shedding light on their unique features and demonstrating numerous forms and types of weapons. Nearly 70 pieces of Eastern and Western warfare will be presented.

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Expert presents book about Central Asian militants in Syria

Sat, 2017-06-03 03:33

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

ASTANA – “Between ISIL and Al-Qaeda: Central Asian militants in the Syrian war,” written by Kazakh political scientist Yerlan Karin, was presented May 30 in Almaty, reported Tengrinews.kz. The co-author of the book is American expert Jacob Zenn.

Photo credit: tengrinews.kz

“I have been studying the topic of terrorism since the 1990s. After the events of 2011 in Kazakhstan, this topic touched me even deeper and I decided to find out what was happening. Everyone remembers the sensational video about 150 of Kazakhstan’s citizens who left to fight in Syria. The video was also showing babies, wives and children. It shocked even us, experts. … I monitored and researched the topic of extremism; I went right to the spot, to the regions of Kazakhstan, as well other countries, including the United States and Turkey,” he said.

According to various sources, about 30,000-40,000 people from 80 countries are at war in Syria. Karin came up with the idea of the book after visiting the United States, where he met Zenn, an analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for the Jamestown Foundation and consultant on countering violent extremism, international law of freedom of association and socio-cultural analysis for geospatial visualisation.

“This book consists not of theory, but of practice,” said political scientist Dosym Satpayev, who published the title and wrote the foreword.

Photo credit: tengrinews.kz

“This is one of the first serious analytical works in our region which is based on strict scientific systematisation of the received data. The last decades have shown that in most countries of the region, there was a transformation of individual protest groups towards greater radicalisation a long time ago. A serious threat was represented by the fact that for a long time, the reasons for this radicalisation at the official level were considered to be in the external influence of the international terrorist, while the roots of radicalism lay within Central Asia itself,” he said.

Karin also talked about the people imprisoned for extremism, who can “infect [other convicts] with this virus,” noting he and his colleagues spoke five-six hours with each person. He added every issue has a downside. For some time, all the individuals interviewed for the book were held in one of the country’s prisons. The authors observed the concentration of radicalism has increased in this region, since relatives came to visit the convicts.

The book is not Karin’s first; his previous title, “Soldiers of the Caliphate: Myths and Reality,” was presented in 2014. He is a former head of the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies, the country’s major think tank, and is now the chairperson of the Kazakh Republican Television and Radio Corporation.

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WeAlmaty project to encourage and support citizens in developing city

Fri, 2017-06-02 06:33

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

ASTANA – The EU-funded WeAlmaty project aims to encourage and support residents to engage in evolving their city into a smart, safe, comfortable, socially-oriented and economically-sustainable urban area, said Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director, British Council Kazakhstan, in an interview with The Astana Times.

Natalya Livinskaya, Head of Urban Geography centre at Almaty Development Centre and Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director of British Council Kazakhstan at April 28 presentation of the project in Almaty.

The British Council, Almaty Akimat (city administration), Almaty Development Centre and Kazakh-British Technical University launched the project in April.

“Almaty – like Kazakhstan – is at a key stage in its journey to developing a sustainable, equitable and ‘smart’ economy. The Almaty 2020 Strategy summarises the city’s ambitions to become a modern, international hub that is ‘comfortable for the life and work of citizens,’” said Kennedy.

Photo credit: Britishcouncil.kz

The 2020 strategy also calls for the highest involvement of civil society as a “key principle for action – support for a ‘city of active citizens,’” he added. The project will help Almaty put the development vision into action.

“We hope that it will strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations and local government to work together to increase citizen involvement in the development of the local economy in Almaty and collectively find solutions to some of the main challenges facing the city as it continues to develop. These can then be shared with other cities in Kazakhstan,” said Kennedy.

WeAlmaty is a three-year project; therefore, a range of activities built around four main components will be organised from 2017-2020.

First is a dialogue platform, a series of public forums to facilitate conversations about urban development among civil society, the private sector and local authorities. The second is a capacity-building programme.

“A capacity-building programme is a series of workshops and study visits that aims to build the skills of representatives from civil society and local government to help them engage with each other and also share best practices in collaborative urban development from the U.K.,” said Kennedy.

A challenge fund providing small grants to support citizen-led initiatives offering social and economic benefits for Almaty is third on the list. Kennedy mentioned the grants would support projects focusing on the city’s main economic and social priorities, such as local area regeneration and creating new business incubators, digital technologies, public performance spaces, creative hubs and social enterprises.

The final component, organised in the last year, will be a dissemination programme that will share the experience gained from WeAlmaty with other regions of Kazakhstan interested in smart cities development. Working in partnership with other organisations in Almaty will be one of the most important success factors for the project.

Almaty has a lot of creative and entrepreneurial talent and Kennedy expressed excitement about the prospect of working with residents “to harness this talent to support the development of the city.”

“The WeAlmaty project in itself represents a unique collaboration between local authorities, the education and research sector and international organisations. But we’re also very much looking forward to working with other partners in Almaty to build on some of the fantastic existing initiatives around civic engagement and local economic development, such as Urban Forum Almaty, the Almaty Impact Hub and many, many more,” he noted.

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Kazpost showcases services provided at offices of future

Fri, 2017-06-02 06:29

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

ASTANA – A new digital office featuring Kazpost services such as hybrid ATMs, an electronic cashier, post office and parcel supermarket, drones and post.kz capabilities was opened in the capital May 30 as part of the Green Quarter construction complex presentation.

Photo credit: post.kz.

Self-service offices will work in the future in round-the-clock mode. They will be located not only in Kazpost branches, but also in shopping centres or offices, according to the company’s release.

“Our main goal now is to make Kazpost a dynamic and innovative company that uses the most modern technologies in its activities, which allows us to serve customers promptly and efficiently. The development of e-commerce in the country grew by 43 percent compared to last year and we fully support this trend. Now we are actively developing e-commerce, modernising offices and transforming most of the services into an online format,” said Kazpost head Saken Sarsenov.

Photo credit: post.kz.

Six digital offices with biometric control will be installed at Kazpost offices by the end of this year. In addition to standard ATM functions, these offices will also provide video consultations, mobile wallet, issue cards and exchange currency. One digital office can replace the work of a whole post office with up to 20 employees. Two experts will monitor and demonstrate the services to clients during the introductory period.

Electronic cashiers will be installed in the regional offices. They are convenient for rural entrepreneurs who will be able to store or transfer money to their accounts without going to the bank branch. The electronic cashier accepts up to 100 million tenge (US$319,900) at a time and the incoming money can be issued immediately. Self-serve offices can work in autonomous mode without cash collection for four-five months.

“We will be the first company in Kazakhstan to launch a customer verification system in June based on face biometrics to exclude fraudulent cases when issuing and receiving a second-tier bank loan for agency services. Verification is carried out by comparing the client’s photo online with a photo on the identity card. Now, we are testing the pilot programme in five offices,” said Sarsenov.

Delivering post items and small shipments by drone is Kazpost’s next innovative project.

“Currently, delivery is carried out by air, railway and motor transport, but there are difficulties in delivering to remote hard-to-reach areas, especially during difficult weather conditions, and drones can be used there,” he added.

Paying and verifying fines can be done beginning in June through post.kz and the post.kz app. POS terminals for unpaid penalties to lift the ban of overseas travel will also be installed near the passport control zones in the Aktau, Almaty, Astana, Karaganda and Shymkent airports.

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New terminal officially opened at capital’s airport

Fri, 2017-06-02 01:50

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

ASTANA – The new $256 million terminal at the capital’s airport had an official opening May 31 attended by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The terminal was implemented within the Nurly Zhol programme and its construction began in 2014, noted Astana International Airport Director General Radilbek Adimolda.

“The airport was launched in 2004 with a throughput capacity of three million passengers. We exceed this figure today; there were 3.6 million passengers last year… The operating terminal is 25,000 square metres. We are putting an additional 47,000 square metres into effect. Throughput capacity will be increased from three million to 8.2 million passengers accordingly. Therefore, passengers of both international and domestic flights will feel comfortable,” he said in an interview with journalists.

Photo credit: informburo.kz.

The terminal was built in line with modern standards and has a VIP area, six new airport ramps and an up-to-date security system. The upper floor includes an office area with laptops and Wi-Fi, six different seating areas and restaurants.

“There are even some capabilities in baggage processing… A system reclines any suspicious baggage by itself and puts it in another section of our terminal and the baggage is to be checked right away. A lot of attention goes to safety. It is a pressing issue nowadays,” he stressed.

In Kazakh currency, the cost of construction was more than 80 billion tenge and about 1,000 professionals were involved in the process.

“We are currently servicing from 10,000-12,000 passengers per day. New flights are being added now and traffic will be growing accordingly and we hope for a good future for us,” he added.

The terminal was launched in test mode June 1. Five-six days are needed for certain procedures, which are a requirement by airline companies, and then the facility will be placed into operation.

Approximately 400 people, including border and customs service, police, airport services and airline personnel, will be working in the new terminal, reported Tengrinews.

“Our bridges that have two movable gates are a uniqueness of the project. Meaning two gates will be used at the same time… This was a hard thing to do before, but servicing two aircraft simultaneously is now possible any time,” said airport managing director Kuandyk Ryspayev, according to the news report.

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Kazakh banks launch housing subsidy programme

Thu, 2017-06-01 09:34

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

ASTANA – The country’s seven banks have begun issuing mortgage loans at 10 percent for residents as part of the Nurly Zher Housing Construction programme supported by the Kazakhstan Mortgage Company.

“Subsidising mortgage loans as part of the Nurly Zher programme provides loans at 10 percent per annum to purchase housing, while the maximum pre-subsidy banking rate should not exceed the level of the base rate of the National Bank of Kazakhstan by more than 5 percent on the day of making a decision on subsidies. Subsidy assistance will be provided for up to 10 years with 30 percent of the initial contribution from the value of the property. There are limits on the amount of subsidies primarily due to the task of reaching the largest part of the population within the allocated funds. The maximum subsidised loan amount is 20 million tenge (US$63,980) in Almaty and Astana and 15 million tenge (US$47,985) in the regions,” the company said in a statement.

Kazakhstan Mortgage Company Board Chair Adil Mukhamedzhanov said the programme is meant to revive the mortgage market.

“The bank rates for housing purchase are very high, and the role of the government is to make mortgages affordable. The Kazakhstan Mortgage Company as a financial operator of the programme includes subsidising the bank rate,” he said.

Subsidy assistance will be beneficial both for banks and for the population. The negotiations are currently underway with the country’s banks on granting subsidised loans as part of the initiative. The Kazakhstan Mortgage Company has reached agreements with Bank Centre Credit, ATF Bank, Sberbank, RBK Bank, Tsesnabank, Zhilstroysberbank and Tengri Bank.

“Ten billion tenge (US$32 million) will be allocated annually to subsidise the rate of interest on mortgage loans issued by banks to the population. It will cover about 8,000 loans for the amount of about 120 billion tenge (US$383.88 million) for real estate purchase. The programme will give additional opportunities for the development of housing construction in the country,” the company’s representative said.

Housing authorities also plan to commission 190,000 square metres of housing or more than 3,000 apartments for the local executive bodies as part of the rental housing initiative.

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Nazarbayev attends ALZHIR memorial site, Almaty unveils monument to famine victims

Thu, 2017-06-01 09:29

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

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part May 31 in a wreath-laying ceremony at the ALZHIR memorial complex of victims of political repressions and totalitarianism. The same day, a monument to the 1931-1933 famine victims was unveiled in Almaty.

The wreath-laying ceremony was attended by relatives and friends of victims of political repressions and totalitarianism.

Speaking before the media after the ceremony, Nazarbayev noted this day’s special role in Kazakhstan’s history.

“On May 31, we commemorate the Day of National Remembrance and Sorrow for the Victims of Political Repressions. In Kazakhstan alone, more than 103,000 people were arrested during those years. Twenty-five-thousand people were shot. The best of Kazakh intelligentsia, all the leadership of the republic was destroyed,” said Nazarbayev.

The President recalled the camps for the repressed that were created at that time and spoke about their horrible conditions.

“People were dying from anguish and torture in 11 camps, which were built throughout Kazakhstan. More than a million people served their sentence there. It was not only the political figures, who were repressed, but their wives and children too. Some children were born in these camps,” Nazarbayev said.

He noted that during that difficult period, Kazakhstan became home to dozens of ethnic groups, which, after going through numerous difficulties, have become one people.

“Our people must remember these tragic events. The future generation must know about this in order to prevent these horrors. Today, we have built a new legal state. The rights and freedoms of citizens in Kazakhstan are protected. We have no political persecution. We have chosen an evolutionary development path,” said the President.

At the end of his speech, Nazarbayev called for the Kazakh people to always remember their past and appreciate the present.

The official monument opening ceremony in Almaty was attended by the descendants of repression and famine victims, public figures, scientists, activists and youth.

Photo credit: Serikzhan Kovlanbayev

Almaty Akim (Mayor) Bauyrzhan Baibek noted the monument was unveiled by direct order of the President. According to numerous resources, more than three million people died in 1918-1933 in Kazakhstan, including approximately 1.7 million dead from starvation in 1931-1933.

“Today, on the Day of National Remembrance and Sorrow for the Victims of Political Repressions, we are opening a monument for the victims of 1931-1933 famine, in order to perpetuate this lasting pain of our people. On behalf of the head of state, last year we announced a competition to create a draft of the future monument. By the decision of the state commission, the project of Dulat Usenbayev, Aidos Burkitbaev and Kanat Beguliev, the sculpture named “Ana” (Mother) was selected from more than 20 proposed works. The image of a mother holding her child exhausted from hunger reveals all the sorrow of the Kazakh people. Mother is the origin of life, the foundation of the nation, the guarantee of the future,” Baibek said.

The monument for 1931-1933 famine victims has been installed in Karagaily Square. It is at the intersection of Kabanbai Batyr and Nauryzbai Batyr streets. The three-metre-tall sculpture of a mother pressing her exhausted child to her breast is made of bronze and granite.

“At the sight of her weak and defenseless son her heart bleeds with grief and despair. The boy’s thin arms and legs are hanging, he cannot hold his mother, his eyes are closed. There is an empty cauldron turned upside down at the feet of the woman,” the sculpture’s authors explained.

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UNESCO and ISESCO national commission holds annual meeting

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:53

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

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s national commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the nation’s accession to the international organisation, met at the end of May at the country’s national museum.

“Kazakhstan is happy to celebrate such a great event,” said Kazakh Minister of Culture and Sports and commission chairperson Arystanbek Mukhamediuly. “The head of state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, repeatedly spoke with great initiatives at UNESCO sessions that really lead to positive responses in the development of world civilisation.”

He also thanked those in Kazakhstan who contributed to developing relations with UNESCO.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people who stood at the origins of the formation of the national commission. These are Olzhas Suleimenov and Murat Auezov. The present Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia Imangali Tasmagambetov also made a huge contribution to the promotion of the idea of UNESCO and he was the initiator of magnificent events, which we, Kazakhstan, happily held,” he added.

Mukhamediuly noted that during the 25 years of cooperation Kazakhstan has promoted such initiatives as the 2010 Year for Rapprochement of Cultures and the International Decade for Rapprochement of Cultures in 2013-2022. The country is an active participant in the activities of UNESCO’s working bodies.

“In the past year, significant work was carried out regarding ISESCO. The main event in the framework of our cooperation was holding the Asian intergovernmental forum on science, technology and innovation in Astana in September, which was organised at the initiative of ISESCO with the support of the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) of Kazakhstan. As a result of the forum, the Astana declaration on strengthening inter-parliamentary Islamic cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation was developed and adopted,” he said.

During the plenary part of the meeting, the national commission summed up the results of the last year, as well as set priority directions for 2017.

The 5,000-kilometre section of the Great Silk Road entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

“Next in line is the Syr Darya section [of the Great Silk Road] and it has our legendary cities of Otyrar, Turkestan, Syganak and Sauran. It should be said that it took nine years for the nomination, research and preparation of the first section. We have already acquired experience and we have very good experts. We work closely with UNESCO. I think that the most important thing is the completion of the list of UNESCO. Since Kazakhstan is the ninth country in the world by its territory, we do not accidentally call it a huge open-air museum. Mangystau, Semey, Zhetysu, South Kazakhstan – all of them have outstanding monuments of cultural heritage,” said Doctor of Historical Sciences and Professor Karl Baipakov at the event, according to informburo.kz.

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LOT Polish Airlines launches direct Warsaw-Astana flight

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:49

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

ASTANA – LOT Polish Airlines conducted its first flight from Warsaw to Astana, Poland’s first ever air link to Kazakhstan, and held a flight presentation ceremony May 30 in Astana.

LOT’s Boeing 737-800 NG will operate four weekly return services. The first flight from Warsaw to Astana took off at 10:50 pm, and after five hours, having covered a distance of 3,500 km, landed in the Kazakh capital. This is the longest LOT’s B737 route.

“This direct flight will connect a country located in the centre of Europe with a country that is located in the centre of Asia. I believe that this step will be good for expanding cooperation between our two countries,” said LOT Polish Airlines Chief Executive Officer Rafał Milczarski at the presentation ceremony.

Photo credit: Facebook page of Askar Abdrakhmanov

The flights will also provide increased convenience for travel from Kazakhstan to other European countries and North America. Astana is the seventh new destination for LOT Polish Airlines this year and the first in Central Asia.

“We did not have a direct link between Poland and Central Asia. Today, Kazakhstan is the most dynamically developing economy in the region. Export to the Republic of Kazakhstan plays an important role in Poland’s foreign trade, making it a strategic economic partner for Poland in Central Asia. The Polish-Kazakh trade is at a stable high level; in 2016, it amounted to $759.4 million. I am sure that thanks to direct flights between Warsaw and Astana, this figure will grow soon,” said Milczarski.

He also presented free Astana-Warsaw-Astana roundtrip tickets to three finalists of a ticket lottery sponsored by the airline.

 

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AIFC, NASDAQ ink technology agreement for AIFC Exchange

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:39

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

ASTANA – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and NASDAQ Inc. signed a technology agreement May 29 that will allow the AIFC Exchange to use the NASDAQ matching engine.

Photo credit: kazinform.kz

“The matching engine will be implemented and go through several rigorous testing and acceptance stages before official deployment,” note NASDAQ officials on its website.

“The NASDAQ machine engine is the most widely-used matching engine in the world that combines extraordinary performance with extensive functionality to cost-effectively meet current and future business and performance requirements. Once the AIFC Exchange goes live, NASDAQ will provide continual maintenance and technical support.”

The AIFC Exchange is scheduled to launch close to the end of this year, according to Managing Director Sayasat Nurbek, and “will initially trade equities and fixed income with other asset classes for future phases.”

“NASDAQ’s matching engine is considered the best trading platform globally and is differentiated by the breadth and depth of its offering, security and functionality. The AIFC authority is pleased to cooperate with NASDAQ in creating the country’s exchange infrastructure,” said AIFC head Kairat Kelimbetov.

The AIFC intends to become a leading international financial hub. The centre will be guided by English common law, while adopting English as the official language.

The institution has been formed to attract foreign investment into the country through the “establishment of an attractive environment for investment in the financial services, to develop local capital markets, to ensure their integration with the international capital market and to develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in Kazakhstan,” according to the AIFC press service.

“NASDAQ is honoured to contribute to the new ‘state-of-the-art’ exchange infrastructure being built by AIFC authority for the Kazakhstan and related international markets,” said NASDAQ Executive Vice President of Market Department Lars Ottensgard.

“By leveraging our NASDAQ financial framework, the AIFC Exchange will be running on ground breaking technology, which will allow for standardised and unified operations coupled with robust flexibility to boost its competitive proposition in a rapidly evolving international marketplace. We look forward to partnering and supporting AIFC in this exciting new development,” he added.

NASDAQ is a leading provider of trading, clearing, exchange technology, listing, information and public company services across six continents, according to its official description. “Through its diverse portfolio of solutions, the exchange enables customers to plan, optimise and execute their business vision with confidence, using proven technologies that provide transparency and insight for navigating today’s global capital markets,” it notes. As the creator of the world’s first electronic stock market, its technology powers more than 70 marketplaces in 50 countries and one in 10 of the world’s securities transactions. NASDAQ is home to more than 3,600 listed companies with a market value of approximately $9.6 trillion and more than 10,000 corporate clients. It provides information, such as free stock quotes, including official open and close prices.

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EXPO 2017’s ‘Smart City’ technology will be first of its kind in capital

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:33

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

ASTANA – Cutting-edge technology will be used to decrease energy usage throughout the EXPO 2017 facilities, said Vladimir Sobolev, the Astana EXPO 2017 national company’s managing director and director of New Technologies and IT, the press service of the company reported.

“Smart Grid system will be one of the projects used on the exhibition area. This system combines 42 substations into a single network with a unified control centre which will allow making the time of eliminating accidents shorter, automatically redistributing load and reducing losses on an electric grid for up to 30 percent during transportation of electric power,” Sobolev said, according to expo2017astana.com.

The Smart Lighting project will cover 1,200 lamp posts with LED lamps. Energy will also be saved by decreasing the intensity of lights at night by 10 to 20 percent, but increasing them to full power when necessary.

Sobolev also mentioned that “Smart Building” technologies are being introduced at expo pavilions and offices. Ventilation system will be automatically adjusting air delivery depending on the number of visitors who are in a room simultaneously.

“A lot of guests plan to visit the exhibition, therefore, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting are very urgent issues. For their resolution, we are introducing a centralised control of all engineering systems of buildings and pavilions. Energy efficient modes of engineering systems control allow the optimisation of consumption for conditioning, ventilation and heating,” Sobolev added, the website of the exhibition reports.

Arranging mobile communication in the exhibition’s office building is an example of effective cooperation with service providers. For the first time in Kazakhstan, cellular communication operators, with assistance from Kazakhstan’s Communications and Information Committee established a joint use of equipment. This allowed decreasing the amount of equipment and network deployment as well as lower costs on energy consumption and exploitation.

Exhibition organisers are confident the exhibition’s facilities will become the most striking instance of using renewable energy sources, energy-saving technology and will prompt their development in Kazakhstan.

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Solar resources map introduced in Kazakhstan

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:28

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

ASTANA – Atlassolar.kz, an interactive solar resources atlas providing free access to information to implement solar power ideas in Kazakhstan, was launched in late May in the capital, according to the joint statement released by the Ministry of Energy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The web-based resource contains open data of solar resources space distribution. It allows receiving information on the introduction and use of solar energy in the country and makes effective decisions to develop solar energy in various geographic locations.

The atlas data reflect the constantly updated international climate bases. It also provides users with tools for analysis and calculations to increase the validity of management decisions on installing solar power plants (photovoltaic stations).

“The solar energy sector is growing 50 percent annually in the world. Despite the fact that the share of solar energy is relatively low, it will turn into the major source of energy on the planet in the near future. It is attractive because it is inexhaustible, independent of energy prices on world markets, ecologically clean and safe. The use of solar energy does not cause any greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere that will contribute to stopping climate change,” said UNDP Kazakhstan Sustainable Development and Urbanisation Unit head Rassul Rakhimov.

Photo credit: kz.undp.org

The atlas will become one of the tools for attracting investors in the solar energy field and serve as a technical tool for energy-generating organisations, design stations and energy supply systems and companies engaged in selling and installing photovoltaic plants and solar water heating plants.

“The potential is varied according to the conditions and the intensity of solar radiation can be monitored,” he added.

The data will also provide great benefits to solar energy and installation users and scientific organisations. Graduate students can integrate the available information into studies to optimise managing solar power plants or develop new types of solar cells that can use less radiation to produce electricity.

“Investors can learn where and in what area, in what region it is expedient to put their own solar stations according to their economic plan. The website will be of interest to government agencies including regional akimats (local executive bodies) and the Ministry of Energy,” said Rakhimov.

The project was developed by Sapa Pro&Tech, a company composed of scientists, satellite meteorology and energy experts, geoinformation system specialists and web application developers.

The atlas was created under a project of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy and UNDP “providing assistance to the Kazakh government to implement the Green Economy Transition Concept and institutionalise the Green Bridge Partnership Programme.”

It aims to assist the country in executing the concept for green economy transition by supporting law-making initiatives, technical prospects for developing the solar energy sector, sustainable fish farming and aquaculture and supporting and developing the Green Bridge Partnership Programme.

The UNDP is a long-standing partner of Kazakhstan and carries out a number of projects related to the issues of green economy and climate change.

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International Rotary Club launches in capital

Thu, 2017-06-01 02:10

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

ASTANA – Astana International Rotary Club (AIRS) held its official charter ceremony on May 26. The newly-formed club aims to serve humanity and local society by focusing on different issues, including education and health. On that day, around two dozen new Rotarians made solemn vows to follow the organisation’s motto – Service Above Self.

“Taking charge of the common challenges we are faced with as a society, as humankind, is a proactive and mature way of approaching life. The idea that professional leaders and enthusiasts come together to take action on sustainable projects to improve our world resonates with me. With Rotary, I hope that the club members can jointly create a healthy and safe space where we can engage in addressing societal and common challenges in constructive and meaningful ways,” AIRS Secretary and member Lyazzat Shatayeva told The Astana Times.

“Rotary is an internationally-acclaimed organisation aiming to serve the public,” she added. “So, I see an additional value in opening local Rotary clubs as a way of integrating with the global community through positive change.”

Rotary unites more than 1.2 million individuals around the world and its clubs are present in almost every country, gathering prominent members of local society to coordinate charitable and humanitarian projects. The organisation is also known for the End Polio Now campaign in cooperation with the Gates Foundation, which with only a few countries remaining has almost eradicated the virus worldwide.

The club is not the first in the capital, as Astana’s Rotary Club launched in April 2015, and Kazakhstan’s initial club opened in Almaty in 1995. The focus of the clubs can differ and change with time. The first club in the capital helped children with limited abilities and foster homes, said AIRS President Taylan Karamanli.

“The Almaty Club did a project to help elderly people who lost their houses. In Bishkek, for example, cows were bought in order to help villagers maintain their lives,” he noted.

Karamanli added the new club is planning to start scholarships for smart youth in the city.

“There are so many brilliant children who have no financial access to the best education. We can help them. We can raise funds. For us money is not the issue, because it is not a tool for us. Network and heart are what we are willing to approach,” he said.

Since AIRS was just chartered, the main focus has yet to be defined, said Shatayeva.

“Most of our club members are passionate about empowering young people and creating equal opportunities for youth from underprivileged backgrounds. Thus we will work on creating Rotaract Clubs, bringing together people aged 18-30 to provide them the necessary professional mentorship and exchange ideas with them. Other than that, our target will be increasing our membership. The more people we can involve in our social projects, the bigger impact we can make. This is a very exciting undertaking. Hopefully, in a year’s time, we can have the first results of our joint work,” she said.

The club is invitation-only and has some requirements for its members.

“You don’t need to be rich to be a Rotarian. It is about knowledge and experience. That’s why you have to be a minimum 30 years old with a background in something. You have to be somebody. We are recruiting people like us to attract others. Networking is very important for us. We have lawyers, doctors, businessmen and others,” said Karamanli.

Rotary International was founded more than one hundred years ago and currently has in excess of 500 clubs throughout the world.

“Rotary giving is serving humanity. All of these clubs have different talents, because all members and clubs are different from each other. Each country has different issues, but the main problem is the same everywhere. It is health, education, water and sanitation, peace and conflict resolution. Rotarians are trying to find some ways to solve these problems. All of the members are working on it,” said district 2430 governor Guner Inci, the largest district, who came to the charter ceremony.

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