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Multi-dimensional Review of Kazakhstan

Volume 1. Initial Assessment

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Kazakhstan’s economy and society have undergone deep transformations since the country declared independence in 1991. Kazakhstan’s growth performance since 2000 has been impressive, averaging almost 8% per annum in real terms and leading to job creation and progress in the well-being of its citizens. Extractive industries play an important role in the dynamism of the economy, but sources of growth beyond natural resource sectors remain underexploited. In the social arena, dimensions of well-being beyond incomes and jobs have not kept pace with economic growth.

Kazakhstan has set itself the goal of becoming one of the 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050. To sustain rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth and social progress, Kazakhstan will need to overcome a number of significant challenges. Natural-resource dependency, the concentration of economic clout and a fragile and underdeveloped financial sector limit diversification and economic dynamism. Widespread corruption still affects multiple state functions, undermines the business environment, meritocracy and entrepreneurial spirit. More generally, the state has limited capacity to fulfil some of its functions, which affects the delivery of public services like health and education, as well as the protection of the environment and the generation of skills.

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How's life in Kazakhstan?

OECD Development Centre

Over the last decade, life in Kazakhstan has improved significantly, profiting from robust economic growth. But what exactly does having a good life mean? This chapter uses the OECD well-being framework to assess well-being outcomes in Kazakhstan, in relation to a set of identified benchmark countries.The diagnosis shows that material conditions have improved for Kazakhstanis over the last decade. Income and living standards have increased markedly since the year 2000 as gross national income (GNI) per capita doubled and poverty fell dramatically. These outcomes have been largely driven by growth in market incomes and in particular by the creation of salaried jobs and wage policies. As incomes have grown equitably, outcomes determined by the market are largely positive, with the exception of housing, which remains a significant gap in material well-being.Despite improvements and significant progress in other areas, the performance of Kazakhstan in the dimensions of quality of life remains low relative to comparator countries. Levels of empowerment and participation are still low in the country, potentially hindered by the high prevalence of corruption. Additionally, health outcomes remain a challenge, and may remain so, unless a strong impetus is given by the government to improving environmental conditions and the capacity to deliver higher quality public services. Indeed, all the indicators related to environment are below what could be expected and are not likely to go in the right direction unless decisive action is taken to limit the adverse impact of natural resource-intensive growth and to accelerate structural transformation. In addition, quantitative educational indicators have overall improved but qualitative outcomes are still lagging.

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