In August 2015, the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) adopted the inflation targeting monetary policy regime. Previously, the monetary authority used the fixed exchange rate policy with the national currency, the tenge, pegged to a multicurrency basket with weights 10%, 20% and 70% for the Russian ruble, euro, and the U.S. dollar, respectively.
Many people from Syria, North Africa and elsewhere try their chances to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea in order to escape from conflict and poverty in their countries. In Syria alone, the civil war has created a massive forced migration flow, causing al-most 13 million people to leave their homes during the last six years.
On October 15, 2017, Kyrgyzstan held its second peaceful power transfer leading to delegation of authority between the members of the Social Democratic Party, which continues to be the ruling party holding the most parliamentary seats.
In the Soviet period, Kazakhstan’s uranium industry played an important role as an integral part of the USSR’s nuclear military-industrial complex. When the Soviet Union collapsed, in addition to the nuclear-weapon systems and facilities, the newly independent state inherited a developed civilian uranium mining and processing infrastructure (Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2015).
Belarus as one of developing and transition countries greatly suffered from high inflation rate since its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Moreover, the average inflation rate measured by the Consumer Prices Index has been extremely high in Belarus compared to other former Soviet Union countries.
Since President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in December 2016, significant social and economic reforms have been undertaken in the country. For instance, the government has created new free economic zones (in Urgut, Gijduvan, Qoqand, and Hazarasp, as well as seven free economic zones of the pharmaceutical sector), improved the legal and economic conditions of running business, and initiated reforms in the tax and education systems.
On September 18, 2017, a day before the opening of the 72nd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA), 128 UN member states signed the U.S. drafted political declaration of the 10-point plan for broad reforms of the world body. The document, known as the Political Declaration for UN Reform High Level Event, is intended to demonstrate the member states’ support for the reform initiatives of newly elected UN Secretary-General (SG) Antonio Guterres.
During his working visit to Aktobe city a few days ago, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev familiarized with the work of several industrial enterprises and summed up: “In Aktobe there is a road to China, railway, gas. There are no such conditions in most cities. You are happy people, prosperity to you.” [i]
The downturn of the oil prices in 2014 produced profound negative effects on the economy of Kazakhstan. The GDP growth in 2015 slowed down to 1.2% for the first time since 2009 and it contracted further in 2016 reaching 1%, which had never happened since 1998. The sudden drop of the oil prices produced an immediate and devastating effect on the currency of Kazakhstan (tenge) since over two thirds of its exports consists of oil and gas products.
On October 6, 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Astana to have consultations with his Kazakh counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov. At the joint press conference following the talks, Lavrov stated that the V. Caspian Summit would be hosted by Kazakhstan next year as the heads of states agreed (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, 2017).