Economic Developments - August 2017

Moody has raised Kazakhstan’s sovereign rating to Baa3 and improved its prognosis from negative to stable. It cited the economy’s increasing adaptiveness to low oil prices as a decisive factor for the decision. Kazakhstan has used funds to help lenders with huge bad debt portfolios address their liabilities before international creditors. The country’s low debt burden and accumulation of financial reserves has permitted the government to apply effective measures to stimulate the national economy and thereby avoid a recession. Moody believes that Kazakhstan will be able to stabilize the assets of National Fund at around $60 billion, provided oil remains within the $40-60 corridor.

The EXPO 2017 exhibition site in Astana will be transformed into Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) by the end of the year. At the core of the AIFC will be a stock exchange and a finance hub for companies doing business under an independent court system based on English common law. Businesses that relocate to AIFC will pay lower rents and be exempt from income tax for 50 years. Several analysts are skeptical of AIFC's chances of success pointing out that infrastructure is just a part of what is needed to create a global financial center. There will be questions about corporate governance and safety of foreign investments.

Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 7% in first half of this year from 7.8% rise in same period a year ago. International Monetary Fund has forecast Uzbekistan’s GDP growth at 6% in 2017-2018.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has decided to set up a University of Central Asia Pakistan (UCAP) to provide higher education to students of Central Asian states. Classes are scheduled to begin from September 2018. The varsity would be temporarily housed in the building of Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSAT) Institute established in Pakistan in 1994.

 

August 17, 2017

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About the Author

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; President, Institute of Global Studies and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar belongs to the Indian Foreign Service and has acquitted his responsibilities in the diplomatic service for 34 years. He was Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and has worked in senior diplomatic positions in Indian Embassies/Missions in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, Tehran, Dhaka and Bangkok and also at Headquarters in India. He negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in negotiations for India-EU, India-ASEAN and India-Thailand Free Trade Agreements.

He contributed significantly to strengthening strategic ties and promoting cultural cooperation between India and USA, EU, Russia and other countries.Ambassador Sajjanhar worked as head of National Foundation for Communal Harmony to promote amity and understanding between different religions, faiths and beliefs. Ambassador Sajjanhar has been decorated by Governments of Kazakhstan and Latvia with their National Awards and by Universal Peace Federation with Title of ''Ambassador of Peace.'' Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is President of Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi. He writes, travels and speaks extensively on issues relating to international relations, foreign policy and themes of contemporary relevance and significance. He appears widely on TV panel discussions. Ambassador Sajjanhar is interested in reading, music and travelling. His wife Madhu is an economist and an educationist. They have a son and a daughter both of who are accomplished singers. Their son passed out of Yale University and their daughter is pursuing her PhD at University of Minnesota.