Social modernization of Kazakhstan: vector of stability and progress

Sept 15. Kazpravda

By the Expert Council of public consent and social modernization

Social modernization of Kazakhstan: vector of stability and progressKazakhstan’s rapid leap from 72nd to 51st place in the annual ranking of the world economies’ competitiveness is logical and, experts say, predictable.

This progress, as noted by the world’s leading economists is a natural consequence of the improvement of Kazakhstan in several areas. The main advantage of our country, according to the World Economic Forum, which ranks the countries’ competitiveness, is macro-economic stability.

Speaking on 3 September at the opening of II session of Parliament of fifth convocation, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said: “The people of Kazakhstan are encouraged by the set task of social modernization. Our society has found a clear target for social development. This is the society of universal labor.” Clear guidelines for the further development of the social sphere are indicated in the state-of the nation address of 2012.

The logical result of this approach was successful and dynamic socio-economic development of independent Kazakhstan. World experience shows that social optimism is the energy of the modernizing society. High rates of development of our country, the improvement of practically all spheres of state and society only confirms this conclusion.

Today, Kazakhstan is a good example of the country of social optimism. The growth rates of the country’s achievements in economy, education, health, social welfare for more than two decades, eloquent, and not just for experts and specialists. Today, experts are debating the issue of transition from “welfare state” to a “state of the real possibilities.” Kazakhstan is implementing its model of social and economic modernization, which combines the advantages of the East and West, the pursuit of broader macro-regional and global cooperation. At present, taking into account the current trends in the world economy as well as economically strong and socially mature states, all progressive international community is committed to the progressive development of the social state of the XXI century.

Recently the Expert Council of public consent and social modernization chaired by Deputy Head of RK Presidential Administration Baghlan Mailybayev, which includes well-known experts, community leaders and representatives of government agencies, conducted a comparative analysis of social indicators in Kazakhstan, CIS and other countries. This approach clearly defined the place of Kazakhstan as a social state in the Eurasian region and the world.

The experts examined a number of different thematic blocks:

? Economic growth: the dynamics of GDP;

? Participation in international rankings;

? Development of agriculture;

? Dynamic construction;

? Reduction of poverty and unemployment;

? Increase in wages;

? Development of the education system;

? Development of the pension system;

Economic growth in Kazakhstan: dynamics of GDP

GDP growth in 10 years

Critical for evaluating of the country’s success is the dynamics of the gross domestic product. Over the last decade the economy and at the same time the well-being of the population of Kazakhstan grew by more than twice. If in 2000 the country’s GDP was 2,600 billion tenge, by 2011, it increased by 138%, up to KZT 6,200 billion (in prices of 2000).

GDP growth in Kazakhstan is ahead of such countries as Ukraine, where for ten years, the growth was only 60%, Russia – 66%, Uzbekistan – 111%.

GDP in Kazakhstan and CIS countries in 2011

The dynamics of post-crisis development of Kazakhstan is especially impressive. Overcoming the crisis, Kazakhstan took the ascending line. In 2011, Kazakhstan’s GDP was 186.1 billion dollars. Compared with 2010 the increase was 7.5%. In terms of GDP, Kazakhstan is ahead of such CIS countries as Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, etc. It is noteworthy that the volume of Kazakhstan’s GDP exceeded the GDP of Ukraine (165 billion), while the population of Ukraine is almost by 2.7 times more than in Kazakhstan – 45.5 million.

Growth of GDP per capita

One of the key figures in the statistics is the GDP per capita. According to this indicator, Kazakhstan is confidently ahead of all CIS countries (excluding Russia). In 2011, GDP per capita in Kazakhstan amounted to USD 11.2 thousand (compared with 2010, the growth of 25%).

Kazakhstan’s GDP per capita is by 3.2 times higher than in Ukraine, and by 7.4 times more than in Uzbekistan. While the gap between Kazakhstan and the average CIS index is increasing.

Development of agriculture

Agrarian breakthrough

Speaking of the production progress we should mark first of all the agriculture. In 2011, Kazakhstan produced agricultural output at 2.26 trillion tenge; it is by 26.7% more than in 2010.

Among the CIS countries our republic was first in the growth of agricultural production. In Russia in 2011 the increase was 22%, in Belarus and Uzbekistan – only 6.6%, in Moldova – 4.6%.

Taking into account the huge potential of the agricultural sector in Kazakhstan this branch is expected to continue expanding domestic production of quality agricultural products.

Development of pension system

Pensions in Kazakhstan and CIS:

Being a socially-oriented state, Kazakhstan has been taking active and effective measures for provision of pensions.

In 2011, the minimum pension (in dollars) in Kazakhstan was -163, and the average pension – $ 244. And it’s leading position in the CIS. For comparison: minimum pension in Azerbaijan is USD 108, average – 184; in Belarus – $ 64 and $ 132, in Uzbekistan – USD 32 and $ 82.

And if we follow the dynamics of social provision in Kazakhstan for several years, we should note a constant steady growth. Over the period of 2007-2011, the dynamics of minimum pension payments in Kazakhstan is as follows: 2007 – USD 85, 2008 – USD 106, 2009 – USD 140, 2011 – USD 163.

Such dynamics of pension payments allowed Kazakhstan to take a leading position in the CIS. For example, in Russia in 2007, the minimum pension (in dollars) was 64, and in 2009 – 94. In Belarus in the crisis years there was even the reduction of the minimum pension: in 2007 – USD 72, and in 2011 – USD 64. Low minimum pension for all these years remained in Tajikistan – in $ 6 in 2007 and $ 17 in 2011.

Development of social infrastructure

Construction of schools and kindergartens

The construction of social facilities is one of the most important and promising areas of social policy in Kazakhstan. And practically each President’s address is oriented to that area.

In 2011, schools with 25.4 thousand places were commissioned in Kazakhstan. This is 2.6 times more than in 2000.

On this indicator (commissioning of new schools) our republic is ahead of all CIS countries. Comparatively in Azerbaijan in 2011 schools for 12.6 thousand pupils were put into operation, in Belarus – 3.6 thousand, Armenia – for 0.4 thousand students.

Kazakhstan has made a huge step in the construction of kindergartens. Last year, preschool objects for 17.9 thousand places were commissioned in RK (in Belarus – 1, 3 thousand, in Azerbaijan – 0.3 thousand children).

Over the past 10 years the number of pre-schools organizations in Kazakhstan increased by more than 4 times. While in 2000 the number of regular preschools was only 1089, in 2011 the figure increased to 6 133.

In the CIS countries during this period, the number of kindergartens grew on average by only 2 times.

Construction of new hospitals and clinics

High rates are observed in the construction of modern hospitals and clinics.

In 2011, new hospitals for 2.6 thousand beds were commissioned. Each year, the network of outpatient clinics is growing. Only in 2011, there was an increase of 6.8 thousand visits per shift in them.

Compared with 2000 in 2011 by 20 times more hospital beds and by 18.5 times more outpatient clinics (visits per shift) were commissioned in Kazakhstan.

The indicators of the CIS countries on these parameters are ten times lower than in Kazakhstan. Thus in 2011, only 0.7 thousand beds were put into operation in Belarus, even less in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan – 0.3 thousand and 0.2 thousand respectively. Thus, in the construction and commissioning of social facilities Kazakhstan is far ahead of all CIS countries.

Development of education

One of the most important indicators of social development is the education system. The level of education in Kazakhstan is among the world leaders.

The UNDP report of 2011“Sustainable development and equity of opportunities: better future for all” states that the adult literacy rate in Kazakhstan is 99.7%. This has allowed our country to take leading positions among 187 states.

Close to Kazakhstan is the level of adult literacy in Russia – 99.6%, Italy – 98.9% and lower rates are in Singapore – 94.7% and Turkey – 90.8%.

Kazakhstan occupies high position in the ranking of the Human Development Index of 187 countries on such indicator as the inclusion of children and young people in primary and secondary education.

The level of primary education in Kazakhstan is 108.8. In this case Kazakhstan is close to the group of such developed countries as France – 108 Australia – 106, Korea – 104, Germany – 103. Lower rates are in Turkey – 99, Saudi Arabia – 98, U.S. – 98, Ukraine – 97, Russia – 96.

The coverage of secondary education in Kazakhstan is 98.5. This is a significantly higher rate compared even to such countries as Korea, with the index of 97, Switzerland – 96, Czech Republic – 95, Ukraine – 94. Still below is the average coverage of secondary education in Georgia – 87, Turkey – 82and China – 78.

These figures are additional confirmation of the successful and effective development in Kazakhstan of primary and secondary education.


Salaries in the context of CIS

The evidence of the successful economic growth and welfare of people is a steady increase in wages.

In Kazakhstan, for the last decade from 2000 to 2011, the average monthly wage increased by 6.3 times. If in 2000 the average monthly nominal wage was 14,374 tenge, in 2011 – 90,028 tenge.

What is the situation on this indicator in the CIS then? Among the states of the Commonwealth Kazakhstan again has been steadily ahead of most countries in terms of wages since 2005. In particular, in 2010, nominal salary (in dollars) in Azerbaijan was – 414; Belarus – 406, Ukraine – 282, Tajikistan – 80.

Reduction of poverty and unemployment

Fight against poverty in the world today

It should be noted that in 2011 compared to all CIS countries the minimum share of the population with incomes below subsistence minimum was registered in Kazakhstan. And it’s one of the main achievements of Kazakhstan’s social policy.

The poverty level in our republic is much lower than in such developed countries as the U.S. – by 2.8 times and Japan – by 3-fold.

Reducing unemployment

Statistics on employment confirms the positive trend in the dynamic development of the social sphere in Kazakhstan. Over the last decade, the unemployment rate in Kazakhstan fell by more than twice. If in 2000 the unemployment rate in the country was 12.8%, in 2011 it dropped to 5.4%, which is 2.4 times.

For comparison, the largest unemployment in the CIS was recorded in Tajikistan – 11%, Kyrgyzstan – about 9%, and in Ukraine – 8%.

Kazakhstan’s indicators (and their dynamics) on the unemployment are positive also in comparison with developed countries. For example in the Eurozone the average unemployment rate is 10%, in particular, in Spain – 21%, France – 9.7%, Italy – 8.4%, and in the U.S. – 8.9%.


The following conclusions can be drawn from the comparative analysis and statistics of development of social sphere in the Republic of Kazakhstan and other countries of Eurasian region

First of all the targeted social policy is implemented in Kazakhstan to address social issues.

At that it should be noted that the starting conditions of Kazakhstan in the early 90’s, as known, were much more difficult than in many other countries of the CIS. Today, however, Kazakhstan is a leader of sustainable socio-economic development.

Secondly, the active social policy, initiated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has provided leading positions of Kazakhstan in the CIS in such indicators as the number of pre-schools, reduction of poverty and unemployment, the level of agricultural production.

It will also allowed Kazakhstan to join the leading group in terms of GDP per capita, increased student places and the number of hospital beds, the growth of wages and the minimum and average pensions. This leadership is held in the last decade.

At that the progress made by Kazakhstan is determined not only by the quantitative indicators but by steady growth.

Third, in a number of indicators Kazakhstan is among the most developed countries of Europe and the world. This relates primarily to the GDP growth, high level of adult literacy, enrollment in primary and secondary education, as well as the number of students and trainees. And last but not least, in contrast to many countries the trend of reducing poverty and unemployment in Kazakhstan continues.

Practically in all international ratings of social direction, such as the human development index and international index of happiness, Kazakhstan demonstrates positive trends.

In particular, in the Human Development Index Kazakhstan is in the leading group. According to the International Index of Happiness Kazakhstan also outstrips many CIS countries.

Fourth, Kazakhstan retained the positive dynamics in the social sphere in the years of crisis and post-crisis period. The “factor of safety”, accumulated in 2007-2008, allowed the republic to fulfill all social obligations. Moreover, in the conditions of the global financial crisis, Kazakhstan was perhaps, the only country to raise pensions, scholarships, salaries of public sector employees, social benefits, maternity allowances and others, while their reduction was observed in almost all countries of the world.

And, according to experts, in the global crisis in many countries there was the rapid splitting of resource confidence by the negative emotions, economic stress and increasing pessimism.

Against this background, the confidence in the future of Kazakhstan supported by practical and effective mechanisms for management of the economy and social sphere, is the basis of energy breaking through the thorns of the global crisis.

Fifth, Kazakhstan maintains the balance of active social policy and economic development, i.e., we do not allow the overloading of economy.

Sixth, in the years of independence Kazakhstani people learned to look beyond the boundaries of their life and see the bar of the life of other people. This encourages healthy social ambitions and allows us to be in line with global trends.

As confirmed by the studies, Kazakhstan favorably differs from other post-Soviet countries by its social optimism widely rooted in social psychology.

Seventh, political stability, economic growth and social optimism allowed us to implement the policy of social modernization on the new stage of development.

The core of this course is the concept of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Society of Universal Labor, which allows us to stimulate potential of the Kazakh society and prevent passive dependency.

Eighth, the existing economic resource, social, intellectual potential of the country and its social successes are long term phenomena, which provide in the future its leading position in the CIS in the social sphere.

Thus, the comparative analysis suggests that the policy of social modernization initiated by the Leader of the Nation, successfully implemented in Kazakhstan, is a visible result of 20 years of independence and an optimistic guidance for the future.

The achieved level of social development is a solid foundation for strengthening the values and realities of the Society of Universal Labor.