The next session of Kazakhstan’s National Council of Public Trust, established last year as a forum for activists to voice
The next session of Kazakhstan’s National Council of Public Trust, established last year as a forum for activists to voice their demands, will meet remotely today.
Newly appointed Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has made the cultivation of political pluralism and economic diversification the primary objective of the council. Two critical preconditions include the reformation of Kazakhstan’s commodity-dependent economic model and the reduction of state enterprises in competitive markets, both of which will require sustained foreign direct investment (FDI).
The Eurasian Economic Union, in which Kazakhstan holds membership, has recently sought to make economic inroads into ASEAN spheres to counterbalance China’s expanding Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI activity in Kazakhstan—which has pushed for the construction of dozens of Chinese industrial factories—has stoked a certain degree of domestic backlash, manifested in recurring peaceful protests.
Expect the global devaluation of oil due to COVID-19 restrictions to necessitate continued integration with Beijing and other providers of FDI in infrastructure, especially given the Kazakh economy’s severe dependence on oil exports. Toqaev will likely prioritise private sector development—the prerequisite step in attaining many of his human capital goals—over the placation of his domestic critics. Expect scepticism to linger regarding the capacity of the council to affect real change, as similar ad hoc committees have historically been employed to defuse political crises.
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