What to expect in Kazakhstan in 2015?09 january 2015, 15:08
A very eventful year of 2014 has come to an end. The political landscape in the world has changed and the global economic dynamics have seen turbulent fluctuations, all of which could not but affect Kazakhstan.
The Central Asian country is now preparing for economic and geopolitical challenges that might arise in 2015. One can safely say that the coming year will be no less eventful than the year that has passed.
One of the highlights of 2015 is certainly the Eurasian integration. Eurasian Economic Union Treaty has come into force on 1 January, establishing the biggest economic union on the territory of the post soviet space since the fall of the Soviet Union. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia are now being joined by Armenia in the Union, and Kyrgyzstan will follow suit in the coming months.
This year, Kazakhstan will take over the chairmanship of Belarus in the CIS. The Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan Yergali Bulegenov will head the Council of Permanent Representatives of the Commonwealth in 2015.
Kazakhstan is also working to improve relations with countries outside the CIS. Kazakhstan has introduced a 15-day visa-free regime for 10 countries for the period between July 15, 2014 and July 15, 2015. These countries include the UK, Germany, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Malaysia, UAE, USA, France and Japan. During this period, the citizens of these countries, holding valid diplomatic, official or national passports, can enter, exit, re-enter and transit through the territory of Kazakhstan without a visa provided that their stay does not exceed 15 days.
Kazakhstan is also welcoming the new diplomatic missions of Croatia and Mexico in its capital Astana.
This year is also significant for important anniversary dates to be celebrated by Kazakhstanis. President of the country Nursultan Nazarbayev declared 2015 the year of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary. In addition, Kazakhstan’s Constitution will also turn twenty on August 30 this year. A commemorative medal "20 Years of Kazakhstan Constitution" will be released for the occasion.
Another important date to be celebrated this year is the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. During the WWII Kazakhstan mobilized as many as 1.2 million soldiers for the war effort and lost many of its sons and daughters on the battlefields and behind the lines. Celebrations on May 9 will be filled with great emotional and symbolic meaning this year. The government will allocate 5.7 billion tenge for material support and honouring of war veterans.
The year is also the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate. President of Kazakhstan declared that the nation needed to remember its roots and the history of the Kazakh statehood, which started 550 years ago with the establishment of the Kazakh Khanate. Among other events, it is planned to produce a 20-part series dedicated to chronicling the events that led to the creation of the first Kazakh state. The preparations are underway and the shooting of the series is to commence in January 2015.
In the economic sphere, Samruk-Energo is making the People's IPO in 2015. Citizens of Kazakhstan can invest their capital in shares of the company.
As for the industrial development of Kazakhstan, in 2015 the country will start the second five-year program of its intensive industrial-innovative development. During the implementation of the first phase of the state program, Kazakhstan has achieved notable results, such as launching 770 new producing enterprises. The second phase will see the focus shifting from the country's largest cites out to remote regions of the country.
Kazakhstan is starting to produce Euro-5 standard cars in 2015. In Kostanai, production of electric vehicles will be launched. Astana continues to build facilities for EXPO-2017, and the first of them is scheduled to be finished this year.
In addition, the long-awaited state-run housing program will be launched this year, allowing long-term lease with an option to purchase on preferential terms. Nearly 1.5 million square meters of new housing space will be provided.
Of course, these are not all the events that Kazakhstanis might experience in the coming 2015. As Nassim Taleb contends, unpredictable events have the tendency to change individual lives and societies at large. Who knows, maybe some black swan event will make history in 2015?
By Dinara Urazova