Kazakhstan needs to intensify efforts to diversify economy - ADB

Kazakhstan needs to intensify efforts to diversify economy - ADB

Astana, Kazakhstan, Sept. 12

By Daniar Mukhtarov - Trend:

Kazakhstan needs to intensify efforts to diversify economy and develop innovations if it wants to achieve its goal of joining the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050, according to a message from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB message cited its new report the 'Innovative Asia: Advancing the Knowledge-based Economy'.

"The main challenge for growth and development in Kazakhstan is a need to expand the economy in order to overcome the current dependence on natural resources and improvement of its competitiveness," the message cited Bindu N. Lohani, the ADB's vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.

"Now Kazakhstan is taking steps in the right direction, but a more integrated approach is needed to achieve the goals ahead," Lohani said.

"Over the last decade, Kazakhstan experienced a sharp economic boost thanks to the extraction of mineral resources, but this natural advantage also blunted the sense of urgency of the need to invest in innovation and education," the ADB said.

The report included the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) of the World Bank (WB) for evaluation of countries for four indicators related to knowledge.

Kazakhstan ranked 73rd out of 145 in 2012, according to the rating.

Under the report, the challenges faced by Kazakhstan in the knowledge oriented economic development include the level of development of small private businesses, corruption, poor development of entrepreneurship, low quality and relevance of education, especially higher and vocational education, the market needs, as well as low level of spending on research and development.

Meanwhile, the low level of using the Internet, the availability and using of mobile communication in rural areas caused the "digital inequality" between the city and the village.

It is necessary to modernize the technical and vocational education, to increase public spending on technological innovations and to develop the venture financing of the science-intensive start-up projects to overcome these difficulties, the report said.

Despite the country achieved significant progress in the development of information and communication technologies and prepared a new strategy to increase the use of communication and Internet in rural areas, there are also opportunities for further liberalization of the market to promote the competition in the telecommunication sector.

The Kazakh government has recently implemented a number of initiatives to stimulate the development of innovations, but a more coordinated approach to the issue is required, according to the report.

This approach may include the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Council at a high level, which will oversee the implementation of the policy. The adaptation of some most successful policies and programs of the developed countries of East Asia may also be appropriate for Kazakhstan, the ADB document says.

ADB was established in 1966 and has 67 members. The company's headquarters is located in Manila, Philippines. ADB's portfolio amounted to $21 billion, including co-financing worth $6.6 billion, in 2013.

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