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Zhazira Dyussembekova

Astana, Kazakhstan
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About Zhazira
Zhazira Dyussembekova is a fixer/translator/journalist based in Astana, Kazakhstan.
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Astana Toastmasters Club helps improve public speaking, communication and leadership skills

04 Apr 2024  |  astanatimes.com
The Astana Toastmasters Club, founded in 2010 by Samat Panov and Asem Panova, is the first registered Toastmasters Club in Central Asia, located in Astana, Kazakhstan. It aims to enhance public speaking, leadership skills, and personal growth. The club has around 40 active members and holds regular meetings at the American Corner and PwC office. It targets recent graduates, young professionals, and older individuals with proficient English. The club has facilitated the creation of other clubs in Kazakhstan but does not directly open new ones. President Kanat Bazaraly shared his personal growth through the club and outlined plans to establish a district club for better management and participation in global competitions.

Young Tattoo Artists Bring New Ink to Kazakhstan

Medet Chotabayev becomes Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy

26 Mar 2018  |  The Astana Times
Astana Opera principal soloist Medet Chotabayev was awarded the title Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy for his efforts in strengthening cultural ties between Italy and Kazakhstan and promoting the Italian language. Chotabayev, who frequently performs in Italy and has studied at the Accademia Internazionale di Canto, expressed his joy at receiving the award. The Order of the Star is conferred by the President of Italy to individuals for their contributions to fostering friendly relations and cooperation between Italy and other countries. Other recipients this year include Italian language teacher Lucia Beltrami and entrepreneur Giancarlo Olivieri.

Kazakh government passes draft national anti-corruption report

13 Mar 2018  |  The Astana Times
The Kazakh government adopted a draft National Report on Combating Corruption, presented by Sayan Akhmetzhanov, which outlines the country's anti-corruption efforts, achievements, and future strategies. Kazakhstan improved its ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index, moving out of the most corrupted countries category. The report emphasizes legislative support, new institutions, and international standards as key factors in combating corruption. It also includes recommendations for state bodies and the quasi-public sector to enhance anti-corruption measures and align with OECD standards.

Band brings American Bluegrass music to the Kazakh steppe

02 Mar 2018  |  The Astana Times
The Astana Times features an interview with Candice Miracle, the bass player of Astana Bluegrass Survivors, a band composed of U.S. musicians based in Kazakhstan's capital. The band plays bluegrass, an American roots music genre, and has been active since 2016, performing at various venues including the U.S. Embassy and QSI International School of Astana. The members, some of whom are professional musicians, have adapted to their new environment by bringing a piece of American culture to Eurasia. Despite their full-time jobs, they perform several times a month and plan to reunite annually for performances even as some members depart Kazakhstan. The band's future gigs can be followed on their Instagram or Facebook page (@bluegrass.survivors).

Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan to have media platform

01 Mar 2018  |  The Astana Times
The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan has launched a new multimedia portal to serve as a platform for ethnic media, enhancing accessibility for younger audiences while continuing traditional print for older generations. The initiative, supported by the Assembly's Secretariat head Leonid Prokopenko, aims to integrate ethnic media into the national information space. The Assembly is also preparing for a major meeting and discussing a new draft law in Parliament. The initiative has received positive feedback from various ethno-cultural centers and leaders, including Uighur National Cultural Centre Honorary Chairperson Akhmetzhan Shardinov, who praised President Nursultan Nazarbayev's strategic decisions and social initiatives.

Former expat shares Kazakh experience in ‘Vagabond Chronicles’

01 Mar 2018  |  The Astana Times
French writer Aude Ceccarelli's book 'Vagabond Chronicles' offers a personal and intimate glimpse into everyday life in Kazakhstan, based on her three-year experience in Almaty. The book, structured as an alphabet of 26 stories, covers diverse aspects of Kazakh culture, history, and society through personal anecdotes and discoveries. Ceccarelli aims to fill the gap in available literature about Kazakhstan by presenting a 'slice of life' rather than a travel guide or economic essay. The narrative includes both light-hearted and tragic elements, such as the Soviet space program and nuclear tests, and emphasizes the cultural richness and diversity of Kazakhstan. The book also addresses the challenges and rewards of expatriate life, highlighting the mix of Kazakh and Russian cultures and the difficulties of navigating a new environment.

Kazakhstan’s first ammunitions plant to launch this year

01 Mar 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Kazakhstan's first ammunition plant, overseen by Kaztechnology under the Ministry of Defence and Aerospace Industry, is set to begin delivering cartridges to the Kazakh Armed Forces this year. The plant, located in the Karaganda region's Saryarka Special Economic Zone, is being completed by Steel Manufacturing and will have a production capacity of 30 million ammunition. It will create approximately 160 new jobs and is expected to have a positive economic and social impact on the region. The project, which faced delays due to groundwater issues, has a cost of over 20 billion tenge and will feature advanced equipment from Canadian company Waterbury Farrel.

North Kazakhstan official reviews region’s work within Digital Kazakhstan

01 Mar 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Madiyar Kozhakhmet, deputy akim of North Kazakhstan, highlighted the region's engagement with the Digital Kazakhstan Programme, including transport and public health initiatives. Petropavlovsk introduced GPS navigators for buses and health apps like AntiInsult and OncoScreen. The region plans to implement 59 projects across eight priority areas, including precision farming and satellite field monitoring. A mobile app guides tourists, and Smart Petropavlovsk will develop smart city elements. An IT-focused school is under construction, aiming to nurture a digital generation.

Locally made electric cars to be available in Kazakhstan this year

01 Mar 2018  |  astanatimes.com
The Kostanai car plant in Kazakhstan has begun serial assembly of the JAC iEV7S electric car, with sales expected in the second half of the year starting at 7.5 million tenge (US$23,300). SaryarkaAvtoProm, a shareholder in the plant, plans to assemble over 1,000 cars in three years for private and taxi use. The JAC iEV7S was chosen for its suitability to Kazakhstan's climate and landscape, and it can be charged using a standard outlet or a special station. The Allure Group, which provided the information, acknowledges the challenges of developing infrastructure and customer acquisition, particularly outside the capital and Almaty. They aim to reduce costs for consumers with preferred car loans and benefits for electric car owners. Other electric models like the KIA Soul EV and Lada Vesta EV were previously made in pilot mode without entering serial production.

China’s Development Bank registers at AIFC

20 Feb 2018  |  astanatimes.com
The Astana International Financial Centre's Financial Services Regulatory Committee has registered the Development Bank of China as its 10th participant, with expectations to reach around 100 by year's end. AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov announced the registration at a government meeting and discussed the official presentation of AIFC on July 5, coinciding with Astana's 20th anniversary as the capital. The AIFC is preparing for the IPOs of national companies and aims to become a regional financial hub, with an International Arbitration Centre and plans for educational events.

Kazakhstan joins Global Happiness Coalition

12 Feb 2018  |  The Astana Times
Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Portugal, Slovenia, and the UAE have formed the Global Happiness Coalition, initiated by the UAE to promote global happiness and well-being. The coalition, announced at the World Government Summit in Dubai, aims to facilitate international dialogue, share knowledge, and implement policies to enhance happiness. UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum emphasized the coalition's role in fostering security, peace, and coexistence. The coalition will meet annually at the WGS to review progress and exchange ideas.

Mangistau eagle hunters to open falconry school

01 Feb 2018  |  The Astana Times
Mangistau region's eagle hunters, led by Mereke Otegali, plan to open a falconry school in Tushybek village to preserve the ancient tradition of hunting with birds. The initiative aims to train new eagle hunters, promote the art among young people, and attract tourists. The school will also offer excursions and historical insights into eagle hunting, which has seen a resurgence in popularity both in Kazakhstan and abroad. The Otpan Historical and Cultural Complex supports the effort to revive this cultural heritage.

Kazakh window factory utilises German technology

01 Feb 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Funke Kunststoffe, a German manufacturer of plastic pipes and engineering systems, transferred its window profiles production plant to Astana, Kazakhstan in March 2012. Now fully Kazakh-owned, the company invested approximately 10.5 million euros in the project with support from Kazakh Invest and Business Road Map 2020. The plant, which uses advanced German technology and materials, aims to adapt its products to the local climate and expand exports to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Company director general Yegor Herlein praised Kazakhstan's investment climate and outlined plans for increasing production and working closely with construction companies.

Kazakh, French cooperation produces successful cement plant in Zhambyl region

01 Feb 2018  |  astanatimes.com
The Jambyl Cement plant in the Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan, managed by Vicat Group, is a significant facility producing 1.4 million tonnes of cement annually, covering 15 percent of domestic demand and exporting to neighboring countries. Utilizing the dry method for production, the plant is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Since its inception, it has created numerous jobs and invested in local specialist training. Vicat Group aims to establish a long-lasting company contributing to Kazakhstan's national development and infrastructure.

Kazakhstan’s foreign aid systems are maturing, integrating with foreign policy, says official

01 Feb 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Kazakhstan has been providing foreign aid for two decades and has recently established an official development assistance (ODA) system, launching two pilot projects with international partners. The first project, in partnership with Israel's Mashav, focused on agricultural knowledge transfer to Central Asian countries. The second, co-financed by the UNDP and JICA, aims to enhance the economic potential of Afghan women. Kazakhstan's ODA system was formalized with a presidential decree in 2013 and a law in 2014, emphasizing flexibility and alignment with foreign policy priorities. The country has identified Central Asia and Afghanistan as geographic priorities for aid and is working to create a national ODA operator, KazAID, to improve coordination and effectiveness.

Atlantic Council panel discusses Kazakh President’s visit to the United States

26 Jan 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to the United States and its implications for bilateral relations and regional issues were discussed at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. The panel highlighted Kazakhstan's commitment to global peace, nuclear non-proliferation, and regional integration in Central Asia. Agreements worth over $7 billion were signed between U.S. and Kazakh companies. The discussion also touched on Kazakhstan's support for the U.S. South Asia strategy and its contributions to stabilizing Afghanistan. Former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Dr. Ariel Cohen praised Kazakhstan's international initiatives and its role as a secular, majority Muslim country.

Forum discusses Astana's 20-year history, future development

25 Jan 2018  |  The Astana Times
Astana's 20-year history and its future development were the focus of a forum titled 'Astana – 20 years of development and innovation'. The forum highlighted the city's achievements, its transformation into a national brand, and its role in attracting foreign investment. The Nur Otan Party's First Deputy Chairman, Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed, emphasized the city's innovative spirit, evidenced by EXPO 2017 and the introduction of Smart City technology. Astana Mayor Aset Issekeshev detailed the city's economic growth, with a 190-fold increase in gross regional product over 20 years, and outlined the strategy to transform Astana into a global, smart, sustainable city aligned with United Nations principles. The city's development strategy includes a focus on social development, ecology, and the integration of digital technologies across municipal services.

Kazakh racers finish in the top 10 in two Dakar 2018 categories

20 Jan 2018  |  The Astana Times
The 40th Dakar Rally concluded in South America with Kazakh racers achieving top 10 finishes in two categories. Artur Ardavichus led his crew to fourth place in the trucks category, while newcomer Dmitry Shilov secured sixth place in the overall ATV rating. The rally, which spanned Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, was noted for its challenging stages and diverse conditions. Despite setbacks, the Astana team demonstrated resilience and strong performance. The event saw Eduard Nikolayev of the Kamaz-Master team win the trucks category, with other notable winners including Ignacio Casale in the ATV category and Matthias Walkner in the moto category.

Kazakh privatisation set to complete by end of year

16 Jan 2018  |  The Astana Times
Kazakhstan's second wave of privatisation is 71 percent complete, with plans to finish by the end of 2018 as directed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The privatisation plan includes 904 facilities, with significant progress reported by Finance Minister Bakhyt Sultanov. The process has seen increased public interest and higher sale prices. Key national companies like Air Astana, KazMunayGas, and Kazatomprom are expected to be privatised this year. The Ministry of Economy is working on updating the list of objects for privatisation under the president's instructions.

From ruling party to beekeeping, a story of one of the 100 New Faces of Kazakhstan

01 Jan 2018  |  astanatimes.com
Anatoly Dobrovolski, a former political careerist in Astana, returned to his birthplace in the Arshaly district to pursue beekeeping, producing three and a half tonnes of honey last year. A member of the Zhas Otan youth wing of the Nur Otan party until 2012, Dobrovolski transitioned from politics to entrepreneurship, expanding his apiary to 150 beehives. He collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture and leads the district's chamber of entrepreneurs, aiming to improve his honey products. Dobrovolski shared his success story with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, highlighting the economic potential of beekeeping in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan’s new tax code provides simplified regime for SMEs, new principles in administration

01 Jan 2018  |  The Astana Times
Kazakhstan's new Tax Code, effective from January 1, introduces a simplified tax regime for SMEs, reduces the number of reasons for tax inspections, lowers the tax rate for individual entrepreneurs, and makes changes in various sectors including agriculture and finance. The social tax rate has been decreased, inefficient benefits have been eliminated, and tax privileges that conflict with WTO requirements have been cancelled. The code also establishes new principles for tax administration, aiming to support SMEs and ensure clear rules for interaction between state revenue bodies and taxpayers.

MBionics creates Kazakhstan’s first bionic prosthesis

01 Dec 2017  |  The Astana Times
MBionics, founded by Maulen Bekturganov, has developed Kazakhstan's first bionic prosthetic hands, significantly aiding disabled individuals. The prosthesis, which incorporates advanced technology and 3D printing, allows users to perform everyday tasks and even engage in sports. The company emphasizes reliability and customization, using certified materials and innovative software. Despite financial challenges, MBionics plans to expand as sales increase, continuing to innovate in the field of bionic prosthetics.

We are only at the beginning, says Latvian ambassador of relations with Kazakhstan

01 Dec 2017  |  The Astana Times
Latvian Ambassador Jurijs Pogrebņaks discusses the 25-year diplomatic relationship between Kazakhstan and Latvia, highlighting the mutual visits by heads of state, the establishment of intergovernmental commissions, and the cooperation in various sectors including business, culture, and education. Latvia, as a member of the EU and OECD, supports Kazakhstan's integration into these organizations and fosters connections between Asia and Europe. The countries are also collaborating in the green economy, IT, and space industries, with Latvia offering expertise in niche areas. The ambassador emphasizes the importance of cultural exchange and mentions upcoming events to celebrate the anniversary of their diplomatic relations.

Genome – Kazakhstan’s first domestically-manufactured cosmetics brand

01 Dec 2017  |  astanatimes.com
Genome Cosmetics, Kazakhstan's first high-tech cosmetics manufacturing plant, was opened in Stepnogorsk, Akmola region. The brand uses a unique technology developed by Kazakh and German scientists, featuring the ReH Bio-nucleotide complex. The enterprise head, Zhanibek Kenzhebayev, highlighted the potential economic impact and competitiveness of the products. The company sells its products online and aims to produce millions of units annually. The World Bank invested $1 million in the project, and the production facility meets ISO and GMP standards. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has shown support for the initiative.

More than 700,000 people to get vocational education by 2021

07 Nov 2017  |  astanatimes.com
By 2021, more than 720,000 Kazakh citizens will receive free vocational education, as announced at a government meeting. The initiative is part of the Free Vocational and Technical Education for Everyone project, which includes 817 colleges. The State Programme for the Development of Education and Science for 2016-2019 also supports the construction of educational facilities. Kazakh Minister of Education and Science Yerlan Sagadiyev and Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population Tamara Duissenova outlined the progress and goals of the programs, with Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev emphasizing employment provision and increased loans.

EBRD expands Women in Business programme in Kazakhstan

01 Nov 2017  |  The Astana Times
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is expanding its Women in Business programme in Kazakhstan by allocating an additional $42 million credit line to local banks for lending to women-owned SMEs. The programme, which includes technical assistance and risk mitigation measures, aims to support over 1,000 female entrepreneurs through training and mentoring. The Kazakh Ministry of National Economy will also contribute $8.7 million to the initiative, reflecting the government's commitment to business support and deregulation. The programme's first phase has already provided significant financial and non-financial support to female entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan.

China Studies Centre opens in Astana

24 Oct 2017  |  astanatimes.com
The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences opened a China Studies Centre in the Library of the First President of Kazakhstan to promote the One Belt One Road initiative, conduct joint research, and facilitate understanding between Kazakhstan and China. The centre will also organize visits by researchers and lectures on Chinese studies. The first seminar discussed the current state and future of the Chinese economy and its implications for Central Asia.

Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs tests electronic investigation, needs funds

16 Oct 2017  |  The Astana Times
The Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs requires 11 billion tenge (US$32.9 million) to implement electronic criminal case investigations, currently being tested in Taraz and Astana. Deputy Minister Rashid Zhakupov highlighted the need for substantial funding and technical upgrades, noting that the pilot program aims to identify and resolve procedural and technical issues. The ministry plans to roll out the program where technically feasible, emphasizing the importance of information security and readiness.

Work continues on bill to cut business regulations, costs

03 Oct 2017  |  astanatimes.com
Kazakhstan is progressing with a draft law aimed at improving the regulation of entrepreneurial activity by introducing preventive control over legal violations, reducing redundant control mechanisms, and cutting business costs. The bill, which includes about 1,000 amendments to various codes and laws, is part of the country's efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship and improve its World Bank Doing Business rating. The Ministry of National Economy and the Prime Minister's Office have been instructed to submit the bill to the Mazhilis by the end of October. The legislation is expected to reduce information requirements for businesses by 30 percent and continue optimizing the licensing system.

Qazaqstan TV starts broadcast of Silk Way Star contest

01 Oct 2017  |  The Astana Times
The national TV channel Qazaqstan has begun broadcasting the international music television show Silk Way Star, featuring artists from nine countries competing over 12 weeks. The show emphasizes modern Kazakh art and includes performances in various languages. The project, financed by Qazaqstan Radio and Television Corporation, aims to promote the culture and traditions of Turkic-speaking countries. The competition will culminate in a gala concert, with the winner's title awarded to the most talented performer and their country. Key figures involved include Yerlan Karin, Aikyn Tolepbergen, and Dinara Adam.

Astana tests Finnish environmental monitoring system

01 Oct 2017  |  The Astana Times
Kazhydromet is testing an innovative environmental monitoring system from Finland, presented at EXPO 2017. The Vaisala sensor, installed in July, aims to improve air quality monitoring in Astana with high accuracy and low power consumption. Despite some shortcomings, such as the lack of sensors for hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen oxide, the tests will continue until mid-2018 to adapt the technology to local conditions and compare it with existing Russian-made instruments.

American student finds family in Kazakhstan

19 Sep 2017  |  The Astana Times
Vera Swanson, a student ambassador at the United States Pavilion during EXPO 2017, discovered her family roots in Kazakhstan, the birthplace of her grandfather. While studying Russian and environmental science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Kazakhstan, where she connected with her relatives in Taraz. Her mother, a virologist at the Mayo Clinic, had not visited Kazakhstan for 40 years. Swanson's experiences in Kazakhstan included living with local families, learning the culture, and working at the expo to provide a real-life perspective of the United States to the Kazakh people. She hopes to raise awareness about Kazakhstan in the States and cherishes the warm connections she has made in the country.

S&P upgrades Kazakhstan’s outlook to stable

08 Sep 2017  |  astanatimes.com
S&P Global Ratings revised Kazakhstan's outlook from negative to stable while affirming the BBB- long-term and A-3 short-term sovereign ratings. The stable outlook is based on the expectation of robust economic activity through 2020 and the incorporation of fiscal costs from banking sector recapitalization. Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov welcomed the upgrade, citing positive economic trends and effective monetary policy. S&P noted improved economic growth forecasts, a decline in foreign currency deposits, and contained balance-of-payments pressures. The agency also anticipates a new tax code to increase revenues and support fiscal consolidation. Despite potential balance of payments pressures from foreign liabilities, S&P does not foresee accelerated repatriation of profits and equity, citing the long-term commitment of investors in strategic sectors.

Citi expert talks OBOR, Kazakhstan’s opportunities for growth

06 Sep 2017  |  The Astana Times
The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is set to enhance economic integration and cultural understanding, with Kazakhstan playing a crucial role. Li-Gang Liu, Chief Economist at Citi, emphasizes Kazakhstan's strategic importance in the OBOR program and its potential for growth through leveraging China's infrastructure expertise and increasing energy consumption. He highlights Kazakhstan's successful resource management and economic policies, which have transformed Astana into a thriving metropolis. The global economic shift towards the east, including China, South Korea, Japan, and ASEAN economies, presents significant growth opportunities for Kazakhstan in the coming years.

Italy celebrates national day at EXPO 2017

04 Sep 2017  |  The Astana Times
Italy celebrated its National Day at EXPO 2017 in Astana with performances by the Nello Salza Ensemble and remarks from key officials. The event underscored the strong economic and trade relations between Italy and Kazakhstan, with significant increases in trade and cooperation in renewable energy. Italian companies showcased their achievements in green energy, and a memorandum was signed to construct a plant in Kazakhstan. The celebration was well-received, with over 400 attendees.

Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture develops map of agro processing enterprise locations

25 Aug 2017  |  astanatimes.com
The Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Askar Myrzakhmetov, has created a map of agro processing enterprise locations to promote sector growth and increase import substitution. The initiative, part of the third modernisation of the economy, aims to achieve a 5.3 percent average annual gross output growth rate. It identifies nine priority processing types across 435 enterprises, with plans to construct new enterprises in regions with raw material potential. The project, requiring 112.1 billion tenge (US$343.1 million) over four years, will be supported by state subsidies and is expected to increase processed product output and create 7,000 jobs.

EXPO 2017 welcomes three-millionth visitor

25 Aug 2017  |  The Astana Times
EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, celebrated its three-millionth visitor, Yuri Shurygin from Moscow, on August 25. The event has significantly boosted tourism and local businesses, with 15% of visitors being foreigners, primarily from Russia. Chairperson Akhmetzhan Yessimov highlighted the economic benefits, including increased job creation and higher incomes. The exhibition's facilities will be repurposed post-event into the Astana International Financial Center, a green technology transfer center, and an international IT start-up hub, as approved by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

UNICEF hosts hackathon, talks at EXPO 2017

18 Aug 2017  |  The Astana Times
Team Insaai from Kokshetau won first place at UNICEF's 'Innovating for Children in the Urban World' hackathon with their ethno-style mobile gaming app. The event, held in collaboration with International IT University, aimed to promote children's rights through innovative urban solutions. Participants developed apps and games addressing challenges like air pollution and safety. UNICEF plans to continue supporting all teams through its Innovation Laboratory and Global Innovation Fund. The hackathon highlighted the potential of young programmers to create impactful solutions for vulnerable children.

What to see in Kazakh National Museum during EXPO 2017

10 Aug 2017  |  astanatimes.com
The National Museum of Kazakhstan is featuring several exhibitions as part of the EXPO 2017 cultural programme, including the Terracotta Army, Sultan Baybars and His Epoch, East and West: Old Weapons from the State Hermitage, Scythian gold artefacts, Masterpieces of Russian Art from U.S. collections, and works from the Nicholas Roerich Museum New York. These exhibits showcase a range of historical and cultural artifacts from various regions and time periods, with some displays lasting until September 10, 2017.

WIP Astana – city’s new type of public space

01 Aug 2017  |  The Astana Times
WIP Astana, a new type of public space, was introduced in Astana next to the Keruen Shopping Mall during the Capital Day celebrations on July 6. It is a free, multifunctional area for non-commercial events, designed to identify the needs of urban communities and to define the characteristics of successful public spaces. The space has hosted various events, including master classes, TED talks, and film screenings, and will remain open until the end of October. The project was designed by the Urban Centre and supported by the Yessil district administration and Astana Art Fest.

Morocco’s first Ambassador to Kazakhstan discusses bilateral cooperation and priorities

25 Jul 2017  |  The Astana Times
Morocco's first Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Abdeljalil Saubry, in an interview with The Astana Times, discussed the opening of Morocco's first embassy in Kazakhstan, highlighting the potential for bilateral cooperation. Saubry emphasized the importance of enhancing political dialogue, economic cooperation, and cultural ties. He noted the modest trade turnover between the two countries and expressed hope for improvement. Morocco imports cereals, cotton, and hydrocarbons from Kazakhstan and exports citrus fruits and seafood. Saubry also mentioned the significance of agriculture, energy, mining, university cooperation, and tourism as areas of joint interest. He praised Kazakhstan's hosting of EXPO 2017 and its efforts in promoting dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution, as exemplified by the Astana Process for Syria and Kazakhstan's role in the UN Security Council. Lastly, Saubry highlighted Morocco's strategic position as a gateway to Africa, offering potential for tripartite cooperation with Kazakhstan.

EXPO 2017 reaches halfway point, welcomes one and half millionth visitor

24 Jul 2017  |  The Astana Times
EXPO 2017 in Astana has reached its halfway point, welcoming one and a half million visitors. The exhibition, which runs from June 10 to September 10, 2017, features 115 countries and 22 international organizations showcasing their achievements under the theme 'Future Energy.' The most visited pavilions include those of Plaza Africa, Egypt, India, and Russia, while key facilities like Nur Alem and Shell’s Children’s Lab attract significant daily visitors. The event also celebrates national days and cultural events, contributing to its diverse and engaging atmosphere.

Switzerland shares financial experience with Kazakhstan

11 Jul 2017  |  astanatimes.com
Swiss Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, during his visit to Kazakhstan, expressed Switzerland's readiness to share its financial sector and budget management experience. The visit also focused on the One Belt, One Road initiative and the Astana International Financial Centre. Swiss State Secretary Jörg Gasser highlighted the global significance of the initiative and Switzerland's interest in Central Asian countries' handling of it. The Swiss delegation, marking the 25th anniversary of the Swiss Constituency in the IMF and World Bank, met with Kazakh financial leaders. Maurer praised Switzerland's 'debt brake' as a model for budget control and expressed optimism about Kazakhstan's new financial management strategies. The delegation also visited EXPO 2017, with Maurer commending the Kazakh pavilion.

Al Hilal Bank expands services in Kazakhstan

01 Jul 2017  |  The Astana Times
Abu Dhabi-based Al Hilal Bank is expanding its services in Kazakhstan by launching Islamic banking products for individual customers. Al Hilal Bank Kazakhstan CEO Gordon Haskins sees potential in the retail market and aims to establish high standards of Islamic banking in the country. Kazakhstan has been improving its regulatory framework for Islamic finance since 2008. Al Hilal, the first Islamic bank in Kazakhstan and the CIS, offers investment deposits and plans to finance the retail sector. The bank operates under Sharia principles and its activities are overseen by a Sharia Council. The Astana International Financial Centre views Islamic finance as a core pillar and anticipates investment from the Islamic Development Bank.

Kazakhstan and Malaysia ink memorandum of understanding to attract more investments

01 Jul 2017  |  The Astana Times
The Mangystau region Akimat signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian company Reach Energy during the Kazakhstan-Malaysia business forum. The agreement aims to attract Malaysian investments for various infrastructure projects in the Mangystau region, targeting $500 million-$1 billion over three years. The memorandum, signed by Mangystau Akim Yeraly Togzhanov and Reach Energy CEO Shahul Hamid Mohd Ismail, will facilitate information exchange and investment opportunities. Malaysian trade with Kazakhstan saw a significant increase in 2016, and the agreement is expected to further strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

Kazakhstan, World Bank are strong partners, says WB official

15 Jun 2017  |  astanatimes.com
The World Bank and Kazakhstan are marking 25 years of partnership, with the bank funding 45 projects totaling $8 billion. A new partnership strategy for 2018-2022 is being prepared, focusing on economic management, private sector role, economic integration, and human capital. Cyril Muller, WB’s Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, praised the strong partnership and Kazakhstan's development since independence. He emphasized the importance of investing in human capital and integrating Kazakhstan into global trade and supply chains.

Kazakh Ministry for Investments and Development recaps foreign investments, new subsoil code, improving transport potential

12 Jun 2017  |  The Astana Times
Kazakh Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kassymbek presented a recap of the previous year's achievements, including a 40% increase in foreign investments, the drafting of a new subsoil code, and improvements in transport and logistics. The ministry is working on a national strategy for attracting investments with the World Bank's assistance. The subsoil code aims to align with international standards and boost geological exploration. Transport and logistics saw significant growth, with increased container shipments and new infrastructure projects. Air transit and road construction also showed substantial progress, with plans for further expansion.

Quality, Reputation, Hospitality Draws Indian Students to Karaganda

10 Dec 2015  |  The Astana Times
Karaganda State Medical University (KSMU) in Kazakhstan has become a popular institution for South Asian students, particularly from India, with around 700 foreign students enrolled. The university's reputation, recognition of its diplomas in India, and the English language instruction are key factors attracting students. Vice dean Vilen Molotov-Luchanski highlighted the university's educational standards, clinical base, and the absence of specific scholarships for Indian students. Student Shreshtha Purohit from India appreciates the patriotic culture, responsible citizens, and the quality of education at KSMU. Despite initial challenges with language and climate, foreign students have adapted well to life in Karaganda. The university fosters a multicultural environment with various activities and celebrates diversity, aiming to produce skilled medical professionals.

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