Development of Astana embodies the dynamics and prospects for Kazakhstan’s sustainable development – MP Tatyana Yakovleva


Development of Astana embodies the dynamics and prospects for Kazakhstan's sustainable development - MP Tatyana YakovlevaAt the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan – Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Almaty to Astana by the resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 6 July 1994. In connection with this historical event the country annually celebrates the Day of the Capital on July 6.

In an interview with Kazinform member of the Majilis of the Kazakh Parliament Tatyana Yakovleva, who worked for many years in the administration of Astana, tells about the formation of the new capital of Kazakhstan and its development prospects.

– What do you remember of the initial period of formation of Astana as the capital of our country?

– First of all, I would like to note that the new capital of Kazakhstan is a good example of successful implementation of a major national project – Astana for a short period of time has become a modern metropolis, emerged as an important center of international and inter-regional cooperation. The city underwent extensive reconstruction; a new administrative center of the left bank of the Ishim River was built. In May 1998 the capital was divided into two administrative districts “Almaty” and “Sary-Arka”, and in July 2008 there was established the third district “Yesil”. The population of the city during this period increased three and a half times, and now is more than 750 thousand people.

In 2001 there was adopted the Master Plan of Astana Development till 2030. Since then, there have been implemented the state program of social and economic development of the capital for the period until 2005 and thereafter – until 2010. Special economic zone “Astana – new city” providing investors with tax incentives and preferences has been operating in Astana since 2001. Since 2006 the special economic zone was extended by the industrial park, which is currently implementing over 50 projects within the Program of Forced Industrial Innovative Development.

It should be noted that the initial period of formation of the new capital was very complicated and very busy, but interesting at the same time. That’s when we tested new approaches to socio-economic planning, comprehensive development of the city in view of creating favorable conditions for attracting investment. In this period we formed the basic priorities of sustainable development.

The result of this work was the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development of the Capital until 2030 in March 2006. This document was prepared at the instruction of the Head of State, which gave new impetus to the formation of new capital Astana as a symbol of prosperity of the independent Kazakhstan.

This strategy became the first policy document prepared at the regional level. I am sure that the experience gained while implementing the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development of Astana is of great practical interest to other regions.

– What are the priorities of the Astana Sustainable Development Strategy?

– One of the main priorities is the expansion of external economic ties and establishment of favorable investment climate in the capital. A good example is the international investment forum “Astana Invest” that has already been held three times. At Astana Invest-2012 the Astana Akimat signed more than 20 memoranda of cooperation with foreign companies on construction of new enterprises and implementation of big infrastructure projects.

As is known, Astana submitted a bid to host international exhibition EXPO – 2017. Two presentations of the Astana’s bid have already been held in Astana and Paris. Among the important advantages of Astana is that it has become a proven venue for many international forums and conferences.

Astana has a great potential in economic development. Over the past 14 years, the gross regional product grew more than 60 times and amounted to KZT 2 trillion 298.3 billion in 2011. And the index of GRP per capita over the past year has increased by 4 thousand U.S. dollars, reaching 21.8 thousand U.S. dollars, well above the national average.

– What caused that growth?

– Of course, large investments. In 2011, KZT 570 billion was invested in the basic capital, or 135.7 percent as against 2010. If compared with 1997, the investment potential of the capital has grown almost 30 times. In 2012, Astana has got Moody’s Baa 3 rating with stable outlook. Rating is characterized by improvements in operating balance and stable low rates of fiscal deficit, debt burden, what is reflecting the dynamism and the opportunity of flexible diversification of the real sector of the city.

Taking into account the beneficial transit position and attraction of foreign and domestic capital, Astana is forming a modern industrial zone, where it is planned to launch 80 new enterprises as part of the program of forced industrial innovative development.

– What is being done to develop infrastructure in the capital?

– In general, we have ensured successful practical implementation of measures to create a modern production, transportation and social service infrastructure within the framework the Strategic Plan. In order to ensure uninterrupted transit of electric energy from external sources there was started a project of building a 220 kV energy ring with three substations, which will increase the transfer capacity of distribution networks up to 1200 kV. 126 kilometers of water supply and sewage networks were constructed and reconstructed under a Japanese project. In addition, the project of light rail tram received investment support from foreign companies.

Thus, the main results of the implementation of the strategic priorities of Astana development show that we have chosen the right path and action plan for using economic and investment potential, financial and human resources to achieve the competitiveness of the new capital.

In conclusion I would like to congratulate the readers of Kazinform, especially my fellow countrymen – Astana residents, on the Day of the Capital. The 14th anniversary of Astana provides an opportunity to sum up the results of the development of the young capital, which embodies the dynamics and prospects for sustainable development of our country.