Publication: South Caucasus and Central Asia - The Belt and Road Initiative: Kazakhstan Country Case Study

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Kazakhstan is an upper-middle income, resource rich country. Its ascent to upper-middle income status was propelled by rising oil production and booming oil prices which pushed the average annual rate to above 7 percent during 2000-2013. The halving of world oil prices and lower export demand since resulted in a sharp slowdown with an average annual GDP growth rate of 2.2 percent in 2014-17. Growth picked up modestly recently but remains a far cry from the levels seen in early 2000s. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic and the slump in commodity prices further dents the growth outlook. This note assesses the potential impact of BRI over connectivity and the Kazakh economy. It looks at how, if fully implemented globally, the BRI is expected to achieve better transport connections and greater economic integration of participating BRI countries, discusses improvements in Kazakhstan’s cross-border transport, electricity and ICT infrastructure to-date, and the potential impact of the completion of BRI transport projects on lowering Kazakh shipment time. It further looks at the likely economic impact of BRI reductions in shipment time on exports, FDI and GDP, the within country regional distribution of that impact and how complementary polices can enhance the positive impact and reduce regional inequity. Finally, it also examines the fiscal risk of scaling-up investment in BRI projects in the coming years without undermining medium-term debt sustainability.
World Bank. 2020. South Caucasus and Central Asia - The Belt and Road Initiative: Kazakhstan Country Case Study. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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