ASTANA, November 11, 2015 – The World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Cyril Muller, visited Kazakhstan as part of his first trip to Central Asia since becoming regional Vice President in July this year.
During the visit, Cyril Muller met with the Prime-Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, Minister of National Economy and Kazakhstan’s Governor for the World Bank Group, Yerbolat Dossayev, and other members of the Cabinet. The Parties discussed the World Bank’s country program and the ongoing cooperation under the Partnership Framework Arrangement signed in 2014 to support the Government’s efforts in ensuring sustainable development and inclusive growth.
The Vice President commended the Government of Kazakhstan for embarking on ambitious reforms aiming to diversify the economy and to adjust to the new reality of low oil prices.
“I am impressed with the pace of implementation of the “100 Steps” and “Nurly Zhol” Programs – which underscore the importance of institutional reforms and infrastructure development to help boost productivity and competitiveness and lead to a more sustainable and diversified economy,” said Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “We also know that the adjustments carried out to fiscal and monetary policies are not easy, but these are necessary to address the imbalances.”
Further discussions focused on challenges of creating productive and quality jobs in the country given the outlook for a much less favorable environment in the coming years. Cyril Muller congratulated the Prime Minister for the progress Kazakhstan made in advancing its Doing Business reforms by implementing the largest number of reforms in the world last year, which secured a spot among the top ten reformers in the World and the 41st place globally.
The discussion continued at the meeting with students and faculty of the Nazarbayev University. In his speech Mr. Muller spoke about the need for Kazakhstan to adjust to the “new normal” of lower oil prices with exchange rate flexibility and an agile business climate.
“This period presents an opportunity for Kazakhstan to put a stronger focus on economic diversification to support the creation of quality jobs. Achieving this will require continued reforms and a jobs strategy with a focus on private sector growth. Targeting directly the challenges facing rural areas by promoting connectivity, strengthening local economies, and integrating rural and urban value chains will also be key,” highlighted Cyril Muller when addressing the audience.
During the visit, Cyril Muller also observed the operation of the Republican Center for Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, established in 2012 under the World Bank-supported Health Sector Technology Transfer and Institutional Reform Project. This innovative Center employs the best international practice in development and implementation of a new model of competence assessment of health specialists and graduates of medical schools to improve quality of health services.
Since 2013, the Center is the member of specialized international organizations - the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) and the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM). Today, the Center conducts comprehensive testing of internship graduates of eight medical institutions in the country by 7 internship and 45 residence specialties. The Vice President commended the project achievements and reiterated the Bank’s readiness to continue supporting Kazakhstan in its efforts through knowledge programs and investments.
Kazakhstan joined the World Bank Group in 1992. Since then, the World Bank has become a major development partner with total commitments of US$6.9 billion for 44 projects.