Research: Poverty and National Human Development Essay

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Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Abteilung

Regional Development in Kazakhstan
Kseniia URSULENKO* This paper presents an overview of Kazakhstan’s regional development based on a description of principal economic and social indicators. The focus is on administratively defined regions (oblasts) of Kazakhstan. The main goal pursued in this report is to examine specific features of socio-economic development in particular regions of the country nues (Statistical yearbook of Kazakhstan, pp. 209, 295). Kazakhstan has increased and diversified its hydrocarbon transit and export capacity over the last years by enlargement of connections with Turkmenistan, Russia, China and Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, the economic and financial crisis of the last years has caused tangible damage to the national economy and highlighted serious banking system weaknesses (see Transition report, 2009). Nowadays Kazakhstan stands out against the background of other Central Asian post-soviet republics as the most prosperous economy. However, there are considerable differences in economic growth, income distribution, unemployment rates and poverty levels within the country. Since independence, intra-republic differences appear to have widened (see Anderson, 2002). Recent research provides exhaustive evidence on existence of spatial inequality in Kazakhstan.

Study of regional disparities in Kazakhstan is decisive for elaboration of regional development programmes that pursue such objectives as, for example, reducing regional discrepancies in living standards and stimulating economic development of the regions (oblasts, see map in the annex). Variations in basic social and economic indicators among oblasts allow forming a general view on trends of important divergence processes taking place in local economies of Kazakhstan. This report aims at specifying and describing the main differences in regional socioeconomic development in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan emerged as a new independent state at the end of 1991 and, as it was typical of post-soviet republics, had gone through a severe transitional crisis in 1990s. After implementation of market oriented reforms, such as price and trade liberalization, privatization, sound macroeconomic policy, and the promotion of entrepreneurship (see Wandel, Kazbogarova, 2009, p. 1), intended for enhancement of transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, the country experienced a rapid economic growth in the period of 2000-2007. Economic success in this period was also stimulated by rising oil prices. According to the statistical yearbook of Kazakhstan (2007) the extraction of crude oil and natural gas in 2006 made up 52% of the country’s total industrial output and about 70% of export reve-

* The author is a graduate student at the University of Konstanz. This research note was produced while working as an intern for the VW project ‘Migration and Remittances in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan’ at OEI Regensburg. I am grateful to Barbara Dietz for many helpful discussions and guidance on this note

Kurzanalysen und Informationen

Nr. 47 Juni 2010


Regional economic development
According to the National Human Development report (2009) real Gross Regional Products (GRPs) per capita in Kazakhstan significantly differ across the regions. The highest economic output is observed in two oblasts on the shore of the Caspian Sea, where the major portion of Kazakh crude oil is extracted – Atyrau and Mangistau – as well as in two big commercial centers, Astana city (capital) and Almaty city (former capital of Kazakhstan). Trends in GRP per capita are presented in figure 1. Dynamics in GRP per capita show that after 1998 the value of all final