Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev began his working career in 1960 at the Karaganda Metallurgical Industrial Complex. He entered politics in 1969 in the Karaganda region. In 1979 he worked as Secretary for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. In 1984 he then became Chairman of the Ministers Council.Between 1989 and 1991 he served as the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and Chairman of the High Council of Kazakhstan. He has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991.
"Accelerated industrialization is a step forward; one of the main thoroughfares of Kazakhstan’s journey into the 21st century."
TBY talks to Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on economic progress in the country, plans for industrial diversification, and developing vectors within the foreign policy sphere.
TBY Esteemed Mr. President, how would you assess the success of the implementation of Kazakhstan’s accelerated industrial-innovation development plan? What has been achieved and what remains to be done?
NURSULTAN ABISHEVICH NAZARBAYEV Accelerated industrialization is a step forward; one of the main thoroughfares of Kazakhstan’s journey into the 21st century. The whole of Kazakhstan is overlaid with this idea. The industrial might of the country is growing stronger before our eyes. At this moment, in the framework of the Industrialization Map, by 2015 some 469 investment projects worth $56.7 billion are planned. There will be more than 300,000 jobs created. In 2010 we opened 152 facilities worth $5.5 billion, and 23,000 Kazakhstanis found permanent employment. In the first half of 2011, 75 investment projects worth $778 million were implemented. More than 6,000 Kazakhstanis found a stable source of income. By the end of the year, some 130 projects worth $4.2 billion will be completed. We are already observing the positive effects of the measures we have taken. According to the statistics, over the first half of 2011 Kazakhstan’s GDP grew by 7%. Industrial production is up by 5.8%, while growth in the manufacturing industry stood at 8.7%. Unemployment decreased to 5.4%. With the entry of new businesses at full capacity, many more socio-economic indicators will improve.
In your state of the union address at the beginning of 2011 you announced a comprehensive social modernization program. What work is being done in this direction?
The main criterion for assessing the success of a country is the wellbeing of its citizens. Therefore, for us, achieving a European standard of living constitutes the main task of social modernization. We will enhance the quality of the education system, health care, and employment. The living standards for all of Kazakhstan’s citizens will be improved. Over 2011 the pensions, allowances, and salaries of civil servants increased by 30%. Soon we will hold the first “People’s IPO”. The general public of Kazakhstan will be able to purchase shares in national companies and invest in the domestic economy. Social modernization will enable us to significantly improve the quality of our human capital. By 2016, spending on education will reach 5% of GDP. Across the country, we will build 400 new schools. There will be 350 new healthcare facilities. By 2020, the population will be close to 18 million and the life expectancy of Kazakhstanis will increase to 72 years. We will build 6 million square meters of housing each year. Across the entire country, new schools, hospitals, stadiums, and housing facilities are under construction. Since 2010 in Astana, Nazarbayev University has been successfully operating. It is the largest science and education complex in Central Asia.
What is your vision for Kazakhstan’s future?
We are living in exciting times, when the distance between the most audacious ideas and objective reality is shrinking at an incredible speed. It almost seems like yesterday that there was no sovereign Kazakhstan. And yet, in December 2011, the Republic will celebrate 20 years of independence. We started to create a country from scratch, and have never been afraid to set ourselves the most ambitious objectives. Over the years, we have built a prosperous nation and a dynamic economy. Kazakhstan enjoys the respect of the international community. The prosperity of our citizens is growing. Our young capital, Astana, has become one of the most beautiful cities in Eurasia. In 1997, we adopted the Kazakhstan Development Strategy for 2030, and since then we have consistently been achieving the objectives set down in this strategy. Our strategic priority is to diversify the economy. Within five years the share of the manufacturing sector in the structure of the country’s GDP will be no less than 12.5%. The share of non-oil exports will increase to 40%. Labor productivity will increase by a factor of 1.5 in manufacturing, and by a factor of two in agriculture. We will carry out a fundamental modernization of the economy. We have all the necessary natural, infrastructural and, most importantly, human resources to achieve this. In Kazakhstan the new generation born since independence has grown up. Our successes and achievements are helping to raise the self-confidence, desire for change, new victories, and achievements of Kazakhstan’s youth. Our youth are ready to continue the great cause of building a prosperous Kazakhstan.