Kazakhstan is the top performer in terms of improving its global competitiveness

Special Issue No. 98, Sep 7, 2012

The World Economic Forum’s 2012-2013 Global Competiveness Report has demonstrated that Kazakhstan has made the most significant leap forward in terms of its global competitiveness among all countries covered by the report.

The World Economic Forum’s 2012-2013 Global Competiveness Report has demonstrated that Kazakhstan has made the most significant leap forward in terms of its global competitiveness among all countries covered by the report. The country jumped up 21 levels to settle at the 51st position (it ranked 72nd in 2011) outperforming its closest peer, Turkey, which moved up 16 notches this year.

Kazakhstan has shown substantial improvements in a number of areas, but most importantly in macroeconomic stability, where the country ranks 16th, and labor market efficiency, where it holds the 19th position. The country has also improved its positions in technological readiness (55th), market size (55th) and higher education and training (58th). Despite the progress achieved, important challenges related to health and primary education (92nd) and business sophistication (99th) remain.

According to the WEF’s report, Kazakhstan today is in transition mode, moving from an efficiency driven economy to innovation driven one. Other countries making a similar transition include Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Turkey etc. For these countries, the WEF places increasingly more weight on those areas that are becoming more important for the countries competitiveness as they develop, ensuring “penalization” for those countries that are not preparing for the next stage.

In the first half of 2012, Kazakhstan's economy, the largest in former Soviet Central Asia, grew by 5.6 percent (year-on-year), according to the latest official statistics. Since 2002 the country’s economy expanded 7 times or 1.2-1.3 times each year. According to the International Monetary Fund, Kazakhstan was ranked 53rd among 182 countries in terms of GDP production in 2011. With its current 11 thousand dollars GDP per capita, the country’s economy is expected to grow in 2012 by 6%, while the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific forecasts the country's economic growth to be at 6.2 percent.

During his speech at the Atlantic Council Conference on Twenty Years of Kazakhstan’s Independence and U.S.-Diplomatic Relations, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake highlighted the significant economic progress Kazakhstan has achieved since the country became independent in 1991. “For 20 years, Kazakhstan has attracted considerable international investment that has created jobs and prosperity. Kazakhstan stands out in the region for substantially reducing poverty and laying a solid foundation for the creation of a real middle class,” he said.

It is expected that with its forthcoming accession to the World Trade Organization and participation in the OECD, Kazakhstan will make the further structural changes necessary for it to take advantage of regional and global integration efforts, and to spur its economic diversification, domestic output and exports.

The WEF’s Global Competiveness Report is the most high-profile publication the organization publishes. It ranked 144 economies, the largest group of countries the WEF has ranked to date. The rankings are based on an index created by the WEF’s experts that incorporates a series of metrics, including 12 “pillars of competitiveness”.