Since 1992, when it started working in the country, USAID has helped Kazakhstan restructure a number of institutions and pieces of legislation key to the country’s transition to a market economy. These reforms included privatization and pension reform, as well as numerous other laws governing Kazakhstan’s economy. Since 2006, USAID’s economic growth programs have been co-funded by the Government of Kazakhstan under the bilateral Program for Economic Development, demonstrating the country’s continued interest in USAID’s expertise and support.
USAID helps Kazakhstan’s government with reforms measured by the World Bank Doing Business report, which evaluates 183 countries on the ease of doing business. In 2010, Kazakhstan was recognized as the top reformer in the world, moving up 15 points to 59th place. This was achieved by improving conditions for starting a business, obtaining construction permits, protecting investors, and trading across borders. All of these reforms were conducted with USAID’s assistance.
USAID’s assistance to government working groups, business associations, and line ministries has helped enhance investor protections, streamline processes for trade, and reduce the number of permits required to open, operate, and liquidate a business. Such reforms are estimated to save Kazakhstan’s businesses at least $530 million a year by removing excessive requirements on business operations.
USAID helps Kazakhstan improve policies related to cross-border trade, small- and medium-size enterprises, and financial sector stability. To help the country attract foreign investment, USAID introduced an accounting training program based on international standards for financial reporting. A regional customs training center was opened to serve as a World Customs Organization Regional Customs Training Center for Central Asia and the broader region. Programs also provided assistance to Kazakhstan’s banking regulator to exercise prudential regulation and safeguard against financial sector collapse.
Investing in People: Quality Health Care
USAID was the first and primary donor to assist Kazakhstan with the challenge of making the health system financially viable and able to provide quality health care to the population. USAID helped introduce the country’s first family medicine centers and supported retraining of doctors to provide evidence-based and patient-oriented services. USAID provided more than 1.5 million people with improved child care information and helped introduce a number of international practices that are improving maternal, child and reproductive health services.
USAID helps Kazakhstan control infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB, including multi-drug-resistant TB. These efforts have helped reduce TB rates from 167 per 100,000 population in 2000 to 105 per 100,000 population in 2009, saving more than 30,000 lives. USAID works closely with other partners, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to improve coordination and implementation of HIV and TB prevention, care, and treatment activities in Kazakhstan.
Governing Justly and Democratically
With USAID’s support, Kazakhstan has developed a robust network of nongovernmental organizations that provides services and advocacy. To enhance access to information, USAID supports the efforts of Kazakhstan’s media outlets to produce and air social, political and economic information relevant to Central Asian audiences. To improve transparency and public trust in the court system, USAID helped the Supreme Court install video systems to record court proceedings and is working to strengthen the Court’s ability to adjudicate financial and commercial law cases. USAID also is working with local governments to improve service delivery and strengthen citizen participation in decision-making processes at the local level.
USAID in Central Asia