Kazakhstan's 25 Years Of Miracle
Astana’s skyline stands testament of Kazakhstan’s sterling achievement in 25 years Photo courtesy of Kazakhstan EmbassyAs Kazakhstan gets ready to celebrate its 25th independence anniversary on Dec 16, it is time for the country and the world to reflect on the former Soviet state’s achievements and its contributions to the world.
By Ravichandran D.J Paul
ASTANA (Kazakhstan), (Bernama) — It takes about 25 years for a new generation to appear but it has taken less than that for Kazakhstan to transform into what it is today.
This is an inspiring narrative on Kazakhstan’s sterling achievements provided by Nurlan Nigmatulin, the Chairman of the Mazhilis, the Parliament’s house of representatives, in his opening remarks at a conference to introspect the country’s achievements in 25 years since independence here recently.
Nurlan elucidated further how the nation’s visionary President Nursultan Nasarbayev transformed the once debt and hyperinflation riddled ex-Soviet state, with its original capital in Almaty, into a successful market based economy and a key player in regional and international diplomacy.
The great reformist, President Nursultan Nasarbayev Photo Courtesy of Kazakhstan Embassy
KAZAKHSTAN HAS TAKEN A LEAP
Since achieving independence in 1991, its GDP had expanded 16-fold, percapita income rose to USD14,000 and foreign direct investment reached more than USD300 billion. With a stable and farsighted government, and vast petroleum and mineral resources, the nation of more than 17 million people is set to progress further.
Kazakhstan became the first country among the former Soviet states to receive an investment grade credit rating from a major international credit rating agency in 2002 and in 2015 it became a member of the World Trade Organisation, a clear testament of its robust economy.
The country has adopted development models of other developing nations including Malaysia. President Nasarbayev has traveled around the world making observations of the developments and policies that could be emulated back home.
The capital Astana draws parallel with Malaysia’s own administrative capital of Putrajaya. The impressive architecture of the Triumph of Astana, the Khan Shatyr shopping and entertainment centre, the Astana Stadium, the Baiterek Tower and the rest of the Astana skyline will awe any onlooker.
It is hard to believe how Astana had transformed from a sleepy hallow of Aqmola into an awesome and prosperous metropolis in less than two decades since it became the new capital in 1997.
Astana’s transformation itself stands testament to Kazakhstan’s many remarkable achievements after gaining independence 25 years ago.
Sultan Akimbekov, the director of Kazakhstan’s Institute of World Economy and Politics, a think thank, noted that much of the success witnessed by the country today is due to the pragmatic and visionary policies of President Nasarbayev.
Even US President-elect Donald Trump in a telephone conversation with Nazarbayev earlier this week, praised the country’s president for the “miracle” achieved during his reign.
A NEW DAWN IN REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Apart from rebuilding and rebranding the country since freeing itself from the shackles of Soviet Communism, Kazakhstan has adopted a multi-vector and balanced foreign policy as the bedrock of its diplomacy.
Like pointed out by the country’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov, the country has been embarking on leadership roles at the regional and international level right from the onset.
The world owes much to Kazakhstan in the closing down of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and leading its neighbours to establish the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.
Kazakhstan itself gave up its 1,400 nuclear warheads, all relics of the Soviet era. In 2012, in joining the nuclear disarmament chorus worldwide, President Nasarbayev launched international education and civic activism ATOM (Abolish Testing Our Mission).
The country also spearheaded efforts to establish the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) forum in promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
The latest feather on its cap is Kazakhstan’s elevation as the non-permanent member of the Security Council for the 2017-2018 term, providing the country greater leverage in contributing towards regional and international security.
With 70 percent of its population being Muslims, Kazakhstan is also striving to build better understanding with the Islamic world itself.
PRAGMATIC AND FAR SIGHTED POLICES
However, the 25 years has not been all plain sailing for Kazakhstan. The were also some rough patches that the country had to endure including the recent economic challenges due to the falling oil prices since 2014 and the poor global economic outlook.
The country’s leadership took cognizance of the current situation and adopted new strategies to counter the shortfalls and ensure there is no disruption on the country’s march forward.
Hence in Nov 2014 President Nasarbayev proclaimed Kazakhstan’s new economic strategy Nyrly Zhol (Path to the Future) that outlined massive infrastructure development to develop the nation and keep the economy rolling.
Six months later, the president further outlined 100 Concrete Steps to effect five institutional reforms to ensure good governance.
Both Nyrly Zhol and the 100 Concrete Steps are the bold steps taken by the government to ensure greater economic progress, a strong rule of law and the creation of an effective and accountable government.
Even before its silver independence anniversary, Kazakhstan has set the goals for the next 25 years – Kazakhstan 2041.
The country also has set the goal to emerge as among the top 30 developing countries in the world by 2050.
GREAT SENSE OF OPTIMISM
There is a great sense of optimism prevailing in its citizens today. Its politicians, media, industries and investors are confident of a great future for the country geographically located between Europe and Asia.
When Gani Kassymov, a prominent politician in the country, was asked whether he was confident that the Kazakstan-2041 goals could be achieved he was obviously taken aback.
He replied through an interpreter that its was a wrong question to ask in the first place.
“There is no way we could fail to meet the goals. Failure is not an option and there is no room for complacency either. We have done meticulous planning and put in place the policies and goals. We have achieved a lot in the last 25 years we are going to achieve more in the next 25 years,” stressed Gani.
Gani, who contested for the president’s post along with incumbent Nasarbayev in the 2011 presidential election, also heaped praises on the president saying he is a great result oriented reformist.
Gani’s reply is a clear reflection of the optimism of the people of Kazakhstan on their country’s future.