Almaty’s Development Must Boost, Nazarbayev Urges Gov’t, Citizens
May 13. The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Despite Astana being the national centre since 1998, the old capital of Almaty remains the largest and most developed city of Kazakhstan, and its value and importance in the overall development of the country remains high and relevant.
Recently, the city hosted the Asian Winter Games where over KZT 40 billion has been allocated to build world-class sports facilities. The important tasks of continued use of the constructions, as well as the overall development of the city were discussed at the special sitting held in Almaty on May 12.
President Nazarbayev chaired the meeting, which was attended by senior national and city-level officals, including Presidential Chief of Staff, Deputy Prime Minister, Akims of Almaty city and Almaty Oblast, Ministers of Education and Science, Emergencies, Tourism and Sport, as well as the heads of territorial departments of central executive bodies of the Almaty city and regional divisions.
Almaty produces nearly a fifth of the whole country’s gross domestic product and provides a quarter of its revenues to the state budget, Nazarbayev highlighted. Today, the city has all the main elements of infrastructure to meet the standards of a modern metropolis. In terms of gross regional product, Almaty is above any other Central Asian city, as well as some of the major regions of Russia.
The standard of living of citizens continuously grows and today’s GDP per capita makes USD 19,000, the level of South Korea and of Central Europe states. The average monthly wages of the population over the past 10 years have quintupled, while the average life expectancy has tripled, and the birth rate doubled.
“Implementation of the State Programme for Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development (PAIID) is being actively carried out, under my personal supervision,” President Nazarbayev said at the session. “Thus, the manufacturing of industrial products last year made nearly KZT 370 billion, which is more than in 2009 by a quarter. The growth of the manufacturing sector made over 40 percent, which is very important and can be seen as the evidence that the resources provided show the results,” the President added.
Furthermore, the city accounts for more than a quarter of the whole production of small and medium sized businesses in the country, where the number of employed in this sector has reached over 350,000 people.
More than one million square metres of housing have been commissioned over the past year, President mentioned with approval. Nominal income per capita in February 2011 amounted to KZT 88,000 which is almost 17 percent more than in the corresponding month last year.
Almaty’s Mayor Akhmetzhan Yessimov, in his turn, said the positive trend is observed in all major sectors of the economy. The volume of industrial production in the first quarter of the year grew by 27 percent, investment in fixed capital increased by 21 percent, as well as the volume of housing construction increased by 10 percent compared to the like period of 2010.
The banking sector, one of the key ones in the city’s economy, is reviving. According to Yessimov, for the first time since the beginning of global financial crisis the amount of loans granted by second-tier banks increased by 41.4 percent in the first quarter of the year and exceeded KZT 600 billion. The inflation rate for the period amounted to 3.5 percent which is 0.2 percent less than the average for the country.
Over the past two years 749 kilometres of roads, representing 40 percent of the entire road surface, have been repaired and built in Almaty, as well as five power substations which use energy-saving technologies have been opened within the Map of Industrialisation. Overall 68 projects amounting to KZT 172 billion are to be implemented this year.
In total, Mayor Yessimov identified three priority areas of development of the city, taking into account the specifics of the region and its potential opportunities, the first being the development of an industrial area of ??490 hectares in the city’s less developed north-western sectors. The second is the development of tourism in the Almaty region, and the third is a comprehensive development of the entire city transport system, including the new alternative transport services.
President, in his turn, stressed that Almaty turns into a large transport-logistics centre, where cargo and passenger transportation increases day by day. “As soon as Zhetygen-Khorgos railroad section (significantly cutting distance from the Kazakh-Chinese border) is put into commission and Western China-Western Europe highway is constructed, the traffic flow will increase further,” Nazarbayev emphasised.
Furthermore, the President urged the necessity of completion of construction of the Eastern bypass road and Big Almaty Ring Road (BAKAD), as well the development of high-speed suburban public transport to nearby towns of Almaty, must also be in spotlight. Overall Nazarbayev highlighted several spheres needed to be thoroughly analysed to take the appropriate actions for the development, including a comprehensive plan needed for the development of tourism and the improvement of resort areas, construction of hotels, and camping sites. The city also has to be fully provided with its own food supplies. The President also noted the urgency of the city’s further promotion as the Central Asia’s financial hub. Special attention, surely, has to be paid to the youth, who constitute one third of the population of Almaty. Consequently, the development of small and medium sized enterprises is also among the priorities.
Furthermore, the President highlighted the necessity to revive the city in terms of it being a traditional capital of apples of Kazakhstan, with the world famous Aporto being cultivated and grown in the area.
“This year is special. It is the 20th anniversary of independence of the nation. Almaty has to be particularly active in celebration of this historic date because this city is the cradle of independence. I ask to pay attention to the most basic problems of citizens of Almaty. These are the main tasks I wanted to put before you today,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev concluded.