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.
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