The Joint Economic Research Program (JERP) is the cornerstone of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Kazakhstan. The JERP provides policy analysis, strategic planning expertise, and good practice options to assist the Kazakhstan’s Government develop economic and social development reform agenda.
Kazakhstan has been a pioneer in drawing on the Bank’s pool of knowledge under the JERP and serves as an example to other countries now. In 10 years since its launch, the JERP grew several-fold and has proven an innovative instrument, promoting the use of strong analytical tools in policy-decision making as well as ownership at high levels of the Government.
The Program works on a cost-sharing arrangement between the Bank and the Government to ensure relevance and ownership on both sides of the table. The areas of focus and scope of the economic research program are determined by the Government in consultation with the World Bank.
The high-level brainstorming sessions, co-chaired by the Prime Minister, became a highlight of the JERP. Since 2003, 16 brainstorming sessions provided direct input to the Government’s ambitious reform agenda. These forums make use of Bank's technical expertise and international experience to build capacity in reform formulation and implementation.
In the past years, the JERP analytical work and policy dialogue focused on the areas of public resource management, education, health, agriculture, and private sector development; and - more recently - on poverty, social protection, and social sector expenditures.
In order to keep the programmatic work on track and achieve greater impact, the JERP design incorporated more intensive interaction with counterparts. The programmatic approach introduced in 2012 with a 3-year-program-budget will help increase strategic focus of the program, intensify sector dialogue, and generate more impact.
The technical assistance and analytical work under the JERP for 2012 is focused on:
- mitigating macroeconomic and fiscal risks,
- enhancing competitiveness of the economy,
- strengthening public finance management and public administration, and
- improving human development outcomes.
Among the key JERP supported results are:
- Review of Kazakhstan’s tax policy and administrative framework was utilized in the development of a new Tax Code based on JERP recommendations;
- Advisory support on public resources management led to improvements in public investment planning, and a full assessment of the budget and financial management systems resulted in a new Budget Code and multi-year budget preparation system, an effective treasury system, and efficiency-improving measures;
- The recommendations of JERP’s Higher Education Report (joint with OECD) provided the basis of the Ministry of Education and Science’s efforts to formulate its sector-reform strategy;
- Analytical work on health sector reform has evolved into a comprehensive joint project to more efficiently use public resources directed to the health sector;
- In the social protection area, JERP policy advisory support contributed to the introduction of a new employment program that aims to improve the balance between protection and promotion objectives of the government’s social safety net polices;
- On the private sector development agenda, JERP support for business enabling environment resulted in a rapid and steady improvement in business entry and exit conditions, payment of taxes and investor protection, licensing regimes as well as improvements in insolvency procedures.
- Advisory services helped the Government avoid fiscally risky general bailout strategies in the wake of the financial sector crisis. Continuous support to maintain prudent management of oil revenues helps balance macroeconomic and monetary stability with sustainable growth objectives.
- The Bank’s analytical work has also contributed to trade policy agenda and formulation of a national strategy for embracing the benefits of regional and global integration.
- The Bank also provided advisory assistance through the JERP towards establishment of a Committee for Financial Monitoring under the Ministry of Finance to lead efforts in Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF).
- To strengthen national statistics, the JERP analytical works supported development of the National Strategy and preparation of the Statistical Master Plan, which is now being implemented through the KAZSTAT project.
- The Technical Note on The Fiscal Management of Natural Resource Revenues in a Developing Country Setting proposes options for formula-based approaches to spending oil revenue and applies them to the fiscal framework of Kazakhstan.
- The study on Improvement of Industrial Competitiveness through the Potential of Cleaner and Greener Production allowed to assess economic costs of air pollution and inform of interventions to control pollution that could result in significant health cost savings.