• KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09388 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Kazakhstan Improves Its Water Infrastructure

The government of Kazakhstan has approved the development of a water resources management system for 2024-2030.  Speaking at a meeting on January 30th, the minister for water resources and irrigation, Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, said that his department plans to build 20 new and reconstruct 15 existing reservoirs, as well as modernize over 14,000km of irrigation canals and hydraulic structures. Mr Nurzhigitov added that irrigation water losses during transportation should be reduced from the current 50% to 25%, which will make it possible to increase the area of irrigated land in the country to 2.5 million hectares by 2030. To encourage farmers to use water-saving technologies, subsidies for creating irrigation systems and buying drip and sprinkler irrigation equipment will be increased from 50% to 80% of their costs respectively.  Prime minister Alikhan Smailov, who chaired the meeting, emphasized the importance of the rational use of water. He pointed out that the Big Almaty Canal, for instance, had not been repaired in the 40 years of its existence. In the country’s Turkestan, Kyzylorda and Zhambyl regions most of the main and inter-farm canals are in a worn-out condition, with water losses reaching 40%. Mr Smailov also pointed out that water-saving systems in the country are currently being introduced only slowly. Drip irrigation is currently used on as little as 84,000 hectares out of the planned 312,000.  Kazakhstan, especially its dry southern and eastern regions, is largely dependent on irrigation water coming from its upstream neighbors, Kyrgyzstan and China. 

Why Do People in Kyrgyzstan Refuse Seasonal Vaccinations?

In Kyrgyzstan more than 22,000 refusals of seasonal vaccinations were registered last year, according to the director of the Republican Center for Immunoprophylaxis, Gulbara Ishenapysova. She told journalists at a press conference that 40% of those who refuse doubt that vaccines against flu, measles and other seasonal diseases are of good quality -- while almost half do not want to be vaccinated for religious reasons. The Ministry of Health fears that an influx of infections from abroad could occur at any moment. For example, diphtheria cases are now being registered in Europe, and polio has not yet been defeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Doctors in Kyrgyzstan, said Ishenasypova, must be prepared for these diseases. Last year, nine children died of complications from measles in the Republic. Doctors emphasize that all of them had not been vaccinated. Meanwhile, parents refusal to vaccinate their children is punishable. Unvaccinated children may not be admitted to kindergarten or school. Furthermore, an article enshrined in the constitution assigns criminal liability to parents who deliberately fail to seek medical help in cases where a disease harmed a child. "In 2022, we lost a child to tetanus, and in 2023, we lost nine children to measles. If an unjustified refusal led to a fatal outcome, then it is intentional harm to the child's health, and liability under the law is provided for," the Republican Center for Immunoprophylaxis stressed. The rate of refusal of seasonal vaccinations has decreased over the past five years. The Center cited statistics which indicate that the largest group to refuse vaccinations -- those who do so for religious reasons -- is decreasing. Seven or eight years ago, 78% of the total number to refuse did so on religious grounds; today, that figure is down to 48%. "The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan urges parents not to refuse vaccination for allegedly religious reasons. The question of benefits and harms of vaccination belongs to medicine. Therefore, in this situation, the decision on Shariah will be made taking into account the opinion of medicine. Islam is not against vaccinations if there is a conclusion from the Ministry of Health on the safety of the drug," said the head of the information department of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan.

Kazakhstan Becomes Most Attractive Country for Migrants From Uzbekistan

According to the Statistics Agency under the President of Uzbekistan, 17,336 people emigrated from the country by the end of 2023, with women making up 52.3% of the total. Over 80% of those who left were of working age. This figure almost doubled compared to 2022, when 8,790 people left the country. The most popular destination for migrants from Uzbekistan in 2023 was Kazakhstan, with 81.1% (14,000) choosing this neighboring country. Russia (15.4% or 2,600 people) and South Korea (0.6% or 107 people) were the second and third most popular choices, respectively. In contrast, Uzbekistan saw an influx of 2,955 immigrants in 2023, mostly from Russia (39.8%) and Kazakhstan (24.6%). Others moved from Tajikistan (9.7%), Kyrgyzstan (5.1%), Turkmenistan (2.1%), and other countries (18.7%). Labor migrants constituted the majority of those leaving Uzbekistan. The Agency for External Labor Migration of Uzbekistan reported a sharp increase in the number of citizens employed through organized recruitment in other countries, totaling 38,400 in 2023. Russia was the leading destination for Uzbek workers (29,200), followed by South Korea (4,900), Great Britain (1,900), Kazakhstan (1,300), Germany (477), and Turkey (277). A small number of Uzbeks also found employment in Romania, Bulgaria, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, the UAE, and Latvia. However, these official statistics do not account for the significant number of Uzbeks working abroad illegally. Specialized Uzbek agencies estimate that over 2 million Uzbeks live and work abroad permanently, with over 60% working in the Russian Federation.

EU To Simplify Visa Regime For Kazakhstanis

Citizens of Kazakhstan can currently travel to 34 countries without requiring a visa, and it seems the power of the Kazakhstani passport may be set to increase further still. At the end of last week Kazakhstan's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Alibek Bakayev, held a second round of talks with the head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan, Kestutis Jankauskas, on the issue of EU visas. The introduction of a visa-free regime with the EU is not currently being discussed. However, the EU Schengen-area visa regime is being improved in the following areas: - introduction of a single list of documents required for a visa application; - a reduction in consular fees; - a shortening of the waiting period for applications; - increasing the validity period for multiple-entry visas. In 2024 citizens of Kazakhstan can visit 34 countries without obtaining a visa from a foreign consulate. These are: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, the Republic of Georgia, Haiti, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Oman, UAE, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Serbia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. There are also several states where one can get a "visa upon arrival" stamp immediately upon entry. These states are Zambia, Indonesia (for 30 days), Mauritius, Namibia, and the Seychelles. However, that list will shrink in the spring of 2024: Kazakhstan's temporary visa-free regime with Thailand end on February 29. According to the Global Passport Power Ranking 2024 by Passport Index, Kazakhstan's passport ranks 56th in the world in terms of freedom of movement bestowed upon its holder.

€10bn To Be Invested In Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor

The two-day Global Gateway Investors Forum for EU-Central Asia Transport Connectivity opened on January 29th in Brussels, Belgium. The event brings together high-level representatives from the European Commission, countries of the EU, Central Asia and Caucasus, as well as Turkey. At the forum, the European Commission’s executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis announced that European and international financial institutions will commit €10bn ($10.8bn) in support and investments towards sustainable transport connectivity in Central Asia. The forum’s agenda includes discussions of the required investments to transform the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor into a cutting-edge, multimodal, and efficient route, connecting Europe and Central Asia within 15 days. The European Commission said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has underlined the urgency to find alternative reliable efficient trade routes between Europe and Asia. The development of transport connectivity is also a means to strengthen regional integration and economic development in Central Asia.  The €10bn commitment is a mixture of ongoing and planned investments which the European Commission foresees to be mobilized for sustainable transport development in Central Asia in the short term. In concrete terms, several significant commitments are being made on the first day of the forum as part of the overall €10bn. The European Investment Bank (EIB), represented by its vice-president Teresa Czerwińska, signed memoranda of understanding totaling €1.47bn ($1.6bn) with the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as with the Development Bank of Kazakhstan. These loans will be made possible by guarantees provided by the European Commission. 

German Company To Help Create Medical Cluster In Turkmen City Of Arkadag

On January 27th Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the chairman of the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan, met with the managing director of the German consulting company Goetzpartners Emerging Markets GmbH, Vladimir Mathias. Goetzpartners won an international tender to consult on the creation of a medical cluster in the Turkmen city of Arkadag, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry has reported. Germany is one of Turkmenistan’s key European partners. Several German companies are involved in large-scale projects in the fields of transport, communications and logistics in the country. At the meeting Mr Mathias explained to Mr Berdimuhamedov that the planned medical cluster in Arkadag is designed to produce various types of medical products not only for the domestic market, but also for export.  The city of Arkadag was unveiled on June 29th, 2023. The “smart” city, designed to be home for 70,000 people and costing billions of dollars to construct, is located 30km south of the capital, Ashgabat.