Kazakhstan’s Economics Affect ALL Disciplines

Following in the footsteps of their highly effective national leader, Nursultan Nazarbaev, many Kazakhstan students from almost all disciplines had something to write about economics.  Economics touches every aspect of Kazakhstan. According to a very articulate Muskie candidate in Public Administration, he wrote that President Nazarbaev recently addressed the Kazakhstan nation highlighting “issues of organizations’ leadership and the necessity of implementation of global standards of corporate social responsibility and raised the role of organizations that serve public interests.”   

I have a strong hope for Kazakhstan to accomplish their goals after we interviewed a fluent 26 year old woman in Public Policy.  She wrote the following about surveying citizens in Taraz in 2006:  “We discovered that 87% of people don’t have any mental picture about civic society and NGO sector.  Most of them don’t want to understand the role of the political institutes of executive and representative powers.  That is why our Kazakhstan people are passive and indifferent to politics. Why I decided to devote my life to politics?  This is my calling.  The fundamental sense of calling I took from Max Weber’s great philosophy in The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  The great quotation of Max Weber:  “Basically three qualities are deciding for the scientist.  They are passion, feeling of responsibility and knowledge.” I seek the best methods of management with my resources; these are the time, the knowledge, the information and the people.  I make SWOT analysis every day.  The motto of my life is “burst out my weakness.” 

A 25 year old woman in business admitted that her country is classified as an emerging market…Kazakhstan has been a part of the world economic community for just 17 years so the knowledge in the sphere of investments in our country is rather poor.” However, if all of the Muskie candidates have a passion to succeed and make a regular SWOT analysis, the country of Kazakhstan will eventually succeed economically.   

Several successful Muskie applicants in International Affairs and Business, noted that Kazakhstan has a goal to be ranked in the top “50 most competitive economies of the world by 2012.”  Also, as Kyrgyzstan has already done, to join the WTO.  To help diversify the economy and reach this goal of being one of the 50 most developed countries in the world, Kazakhstan plans “to organize a Regional Financial Center of Almaty (RFCA) which will help bring a lot of foreign investments to the republic and support its involvement in the international integration processes.” 

These economic goals can be reached by energetic young people in environmental studies as this 23 year old wrote:  “I will do all my best to lead Kazakhstan on the way of sustainable development which is urgently required according to our President [Nazarbaev’s] words.  I want to help my native republic to join the 50 most competitive countries of the world.  Nowadays, economical growth of our republic is supported by price increase in the World Markets and increased use of considerable volume of natural resources.  GDP is accompanied by high emissions to environment.  Existent assessment shows that about 75% of country’s territory is exposed to abnormally high risk of ecological destabilization.” 

However, according to a more mature, 29 year old male with valuable insight into his field of environment, he wrote what obstacles he thought need to be surmounted:  “Working in the projects with Kazakhstani specialists of different backgrounds who in the end came into environment, I was a witness of their improper decisions taken for certain problem solving.  Some of them were economists without knowledge of chemistry, while others were chemists but had no concern about the economical component of the problem.  They considered the problem only from their professional point of view.  I realized they are short of knowledge on complex approach of problem solving and they missed the basic knowledge in environment management.” 

Despite the mismatch with professionals not knowing the complexities of all the problems, according to a young lawyer, “the World Bank included Kazakhstan in the top 20 of the most attractive countries of the world for capital investment.  Due to Kazakhstan’s establishment of proper commercial infrastructures is recognized as the regional economic leader.  These are mainly results of the Oil and Gas industry.” 

A 29 year old woman in business proudly admitted she works “for the National Atomic Company “Kazatomprom” (in the Head office) whose main activity is uranium mining.  Today, the company is the third largest uranium producer in the world.  Kazatomprom has more than 20 subsidiaries and affiliates and realizes uranium mining projects with Canadian, French, Japanese, Chinese and Russian partners.” 

A young, ambitious lawyer at the age of 23 wrote the following related to WTO and the importance of dispute resolution.  “Today most of the trade and commercial transactions take place inside such an institute as the World Trade Organization.  The WTO is the main organization regulating commercial relationships between the country-members within the WTO.  Presently, there are more than 150 countries in the WTO, or 75% of the total number of countries in the world, 135 of which are trade partners with Kazakhstan. This is why we will and must settle our trade relations with those countries under acceptable and favorable terms and conditions…Dispute resolution is an important aspect of the WTO’s work.” 

Naturally the actual Economic applicants for the Muskie grant had much more to weigh in on because of what they witnessed up close and personal as Kazakhstan’s real problems such as the crisis of liquidity in their own banks in August of 2007.  One 27 year old male wrote there was an acute felt need for “specialists with mathematical background.  They told me that their attempts of the creating of market of derivatives failed due to absence of people who know how to model prices of options.  There are not even trade of derivatives on Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, although at this time during Sept. 2007, the number of the traded contracts of stock options on Frankfurt Stock Exchange is 21.460.196.  The crisis of liquidity in banks in Kazakhstan in Aug. 2007 is the result of the absence of good risk managers; investment funds don’t have specialists to calculate risk of losses.  The conclusion of all is that Kazakhstan has need for professionals of risk management and mathematical option pricing. 

A 23 year old female in economics added one of the causes for the liquidity crisis “was sub prime crisis in the US, but if our banking system were to predict and take measures, it would be less harmful.”  A 25 year old female wrote what she understood the problem to be from a business point of view: “Because of the high level of foreign borrowings, mostly in the US dollars, Kazakhstan became dependent upon the economic situation in the US.  The collapse of the mortgage bonds market in the US led in short to the liquidity problems within the Kazakhstan national banking system, which in its turn negatively reflected on the economic situation of the country.” 

A young man of 24 years who was one of the top candidates we interviewed among the lawyers wrote the following concerning laws and financial markets:  “Well known and outstanding Law “on securitization” based on which couple of Kazakhstan banks closed a great deals, was adopted by Parliament of Kazakhstan within six months after our officials first heard about securitization on the conference in Vienna in 2005.  All Kazakhstani banks and financial organizations should have to pay big amounts of money to foreign consultants in order to understand the laws which have been already adopted in Kazakhstan.  Isn’t this absurd?  Frankly speaking, there is not any strangeness.  If you look through our laws related to financial markets and financial organizations, you will see the key points and ideas which were stipulated in relevant laws of the US in early 1970 and ‘80s.  The first securitization transaction in the World was closed in the US in 1970.  The first Kazakhstan transaction was closed in 2005.” 

Finally, the 29 year old environmental specialist further explained his concerns about the vast natural resources Kazakhstan has been blessed with and how that will ultimately impact the economy positively but possibly harm the environment if precautions are not taken.  He wrote:  “It would be very good also to take part in the activities related to Kyoto Agreement signing in Kazakhstan managers of big industrial enterprises should realize the inevitability of CO2 emissions reduction and the old technologies replacement.  However, one should transform economy into “transparent” form which is a difficult task so far….In terms of high growth of Kazakhstan economy and GDP which is closely connected with natural resources intensive use and consumption, specialists in the field of Environmental Management will be valued a lot.  Those who justified diplomas abroad will be in great demand among big industrial companies.” 

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