The first year of President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been marked by the broadening of the political spectrum, strengthening of human rights and improvement in the quality of life and well-being of the people of Kazakhstan.
The President set out the ambition of a truly modern state which is both accountable and responsive to the needs of the people. It is a state that hears and listens to the people. The National Council of Public Trust was established to facilitate genuine dialogue on reforms in many areas.
Further political development and new reforms
The Law «On the Procedure for Organizing and Conducting Peaceful Assemblies in the Republic of Kazakhstan» was adopted. It introduced notification principle for holding peaceful assemblies. It is now necessary to give a five-day notice to local authorities without asking permission.
There were also amendments to the laws on elections and political parties. Establishment of a party was simplified by reducing the registration threshold from 40000 to 20000 members.
Additionally, the new measures promote the participation of women and youth in politics and lead to consolidation of the institution of parliamentary opposition. A chairperson of a permanent committee and deputy chairs of two permanent committees in the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament will now be elected from among the members of the opposition.
The image of the country's police force has been gradually changing to a body that provides services to the citizens to ensure their safety.
This is taking place alongside major structural reforms of law enforcement, which include salary increase and family support. Creation of police front offices in the regions will also lead to improved police work with the population.
The fight against corruption is one of the priorities of Kazakhstan’s strategic development. Tо prevent and combat corruption digital public services will be expanded, public oversight will be strengthened.
Earlier this year Kazakhstan joined the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe.
On July 14, 2020, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed the Decree on Kazakhstan's signature of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty. Kazakhstan has maintained a moratorium on capital punishment since December 2003. The latest measure became an essential part of the ongoing re-forms to strengthen fundamental human rights.
Investing in education, science and progress
Kazakhstan has been developing school infrastructure, raising teachers’ salaries, narrowing the gap between urban and rural schools. By 2025 funding of science will grow to 1% of GDP.
The new Law «On the Status of the Teacher» was recently adopted to raise the prestige of the profession and provide teachers in Kazakhstan with additional social and working guarantees.
Double degree programs, various forms of academic mobility for students and professors are being developed. Centres of Academic Excellency and branches of the leading foreign universities are going to be opened in 10 of the country's institutions.
Today, there is an increased focus on promoting biomedical research, agro-industrial science, green technologies, artificial intelligence and energy efficiency in Kazakhstan.
An important step for the country will be to link technology platforms, large scale domestic enterprises and companies with universities and research centres.
Economic stability and well-being of the nation
Kazakhstan has been taking many bold steps to diversify its economy further and advance sustainable development.
The country has been continuously pursuing economic reforms aimed at improving its fiscal and monetary policy and increasing the efficiency of public spending.
Transition to a digital state implies a comprehensive transformation of Kazakhstan's society and economy. It is becoming more prominent in education, healthcare and agriculture. The Law «On Digitalization of Land Relations» is now being developed in the country.
A government-for-business service will support business and simplify the procedures it needs to receive services and consultation from the state.
Today, Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) provides a wide array of services for registered companies and individuals doing business in the country, including green finance.
Operating under English common law in Kazakhstan, the AIFC plans to develop several legislative initiatives including green financing instruments and venture financing.
Public-private partnerships will be further developed as part of the nation's plan to promote economic growth. The legislation in this sector will be amended to include measures that will enhance social and economic impact.
Much work is being done to protect the environment, including plans to introduce environmental education in schools.
Kazakhstan is working to develop a legislative framework and favourable investment conditions for the implementation of «Waste to Energy» technology. Overall, the energy sector is expected to undergo significant reforms.
To ensure economic stability, Kazakhstan has been focusing on increasing salaries, pensions, allowances and scholarships, supporting small and medium-sized businesses, creating new jobs and affordable housing.
Facing the unprecedented challenge
Kazakhstan was among the first to take the necessary steps to prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.
The first case of coronavirus was registered on March 13, three days after Kazakhstan introduced the state of emergency that lasted up to May 11. From early July to mid August a quarantine was imposed to further curb the infection.
The work to identify coronavirus is being done transparently and openly in close cooperation with international organizations.
Testing for coronavirus has been substantially increased in Kazakhstan. Symptomatic and asymptomatic cases have been tested and reported if positive.
Three hospitals focusing on infectious diseases were built quickly in Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent. Clinics in other regions were provided with the necessary equipment.
In order to stabilize and prepare for the possible next wave of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan increased bed capacity and created units of mobile teams at primary health care level in order to provide timely medical care at home.
The Government extended additional measures of support to those who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic in Kazakhstan. Health care workers' salaries will increase by 2.5 times over the average wage in the country by 2023.
Over 4.5 million people in Kazakhstan have received financial aid during the pandemic. The tax burden for more than 700 000 companies and entrepreneurs has been reduced, thus ensuring significant savings for businesses in Kazakhstan.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the Government and the National Bank of Kazakhstan to develop a package of additional support measures. The result of this work will help restart Kazakhstan's economic growth.
Coordinated action enabled Kazakhstan to overcome the epidemiological crisis and take health care under control. The current situation in the country can be characterized as fighting ahead of the curve.