Nazarbayev talks about development of Almaty
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Almaty city on August 9, shortly after the city's mayor was changed. The met with the local authorities and spoke about the progress and development prospects of the city, Tengrinews reports.
To begin his visit he took part in the meeting of the local Maslikhat (executive authorities) where they discussed the new candidate to the position of the Mayor of Almaty city Baurzhan Baibek and unanimously approved his appointment.
Then he had a meeting with the city administration staff, where he introduced Baurzhan Baibek to his new colleagues.
He pointed out that Almaty was not only the country’s largest city, but also the driver of its economy as well as a research and education center, therefore it required experienced and creative professionals to lead it. “Baurzhan Baibek is a graduate of the Bolashak program (government-sponsored eduction scholarship for talented young people). He is the first Bolashak graduate to be appointed to such a high post. He worked in the Foreign Ministry, the Presidential Administration. He was First Deputy Chairman of Nur Otan party. When working in my team, he saw my work. He traveled around our country and has taken part in serious election campaigns. And we are now preparing for the parliamentary elections, which is not an easy task. I am sure that together with you he will be able to deal with the current tasks the city faces in the context of the programs being implemented in the country,” the Kazakh leader said.
Nazarbayev also spoke about the progress achieved by Akhmetzhan Yessimov, the former Almaty Mayor. The latter took the office of Almaty Mayor in 2008 and only days ago was appointed Chairman of Astana EXPO-2017 National Company, the company steering Kazakhstan's preparations for the EXPO. “During this time, the city achieved serious results. Its image has changed, it has become more dynamic and comfortable. A lot of new residential buildings have been commissioned. Two new districts have been built. The city successfully hosted the Asian Winter Games (in 2011) and is currently preparing for the Universiade (2017). Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have been developing in Almaty like nowhere else. They account for over 30 percent of the city’s GDP and provide two-thirds of its budget revenues. These are very important indicators,” Nazarbayev said.
He explained that Yessimov’s experience was needed for organization of the upcoming EXPO-2017 in Astana. “EXPO-2017 is our future. Construction exhibition venues is just one part of this task. Another part, a more important one, is its content. EXPO-2017 is supposed to boost Kazakhstan’s transition to a new technological level based on alternative energy. The steering company needs an experienced leader capable of working with the government and regional akimats (local authorities) as well as with dozens of countries to attract investments and new technologies,” Nazarbayev said.
As for the city itself, Nazarbayev identified the key areas of Almaty city's further development. First, he called to step up the work to attract investments and create new enterprises, and put the city’s research potential, human resources and investment attractiveness to a good use.
He said that Almaty needed to provide greater support to SMEs: "Almaty has historically been a center of entrepreneurial activities and all kinds of state support should be offered to local businesses, so that amid the harsh times we can avoid a slowdown in the business activities and even boost them.”
He also recommended to improve the city's transport system since it has a direct impact on the environmental situation. “Traffic jams and lack of parking space is still a problem for the city. Construction of the bypass ring road and the subway, and transfer of a significant part of the city's public bus fleet to gas fuel has improved the situation, but we should continue working in this direction," he said.
Another important area that he focused on was the city's crime level. "We intend to develop tourism in Almaty, therefore the city should be a safe and comfortable place for living," Nazarbayev said.
He also stressed the importance of further development of science and education in the city, which has been always an academic center of the region. And as a related issue he mentioned the need to address to problem of employment of young people.
Nursultan Nazarbayev reminded that since the southern city played an important role in Kazakhstan's economy, successful overcoming of the economic slowdown and further progressive development of the country largely depended on Almaty’s successful development.
By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina
- Central Asia
- Nursultan Nazarbayev