The Republic of Kazakhstan celebrated its 27th independence anniversary on December 16th. This past year has brought a number of signiﬁcant foreign policy-related successes for the Central Asian state. Hence, it is mandatory for those of us that work on international affairs to monitor Astana in 2019 as it approaches three decades of independence.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Kazakh government has carried out an ambitious policy not only to promote internal development and expand its international presence. Astana’s modus operandi is to achieve short-term goals and also carry out long-term strategies; this way of thinking has, without a doubt, helped the country gain a prominent status as a Central Asian regional power and an actor in its own right in global affairs.
The country is also seeking to attract more extra-regional investors via the partial privatization of some of its more valuable state-run enterprises. . For example, in mid-November, as many as 15 percent of shares belonging to Kazatom prom, the world’s biggest producer of uranium, were open for trade at the London Stock Exchange and the Astana International Financial Centre’s Astana Stock Exchange.
Finally, it is worth noting that Kazakhstan is the ﬁrst ever Central Asian
state to hold a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council (2017-
2018) and was the rotating
president in January 2018.
HOW WILL KAZAKHSTAN’S FOREIGN POLICY LOOK AT 28?
As the Central Asian state begins its journey towards turning 28 years of age, there are a few initiatives to look forward to. One important development is that Kazakhstan has deployed 120 peacekeepers to the UN mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL), after receiving training via the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative(GPOI).
Additionally, while this is still a couple of years away, Kazakhstan will host the WTO’s Ministerial Conference from 8-11 June 2020.
Given all these issues, the 2020 WTO meeting in Astana will be a forum where changing global trade will be discussed.
EDUCATION: ALWAYS A PILLAR FOR DEVELOPMENT
As mentioned in this author’s 8 October commentary, “Reforming Kazakhstan’s Education System and its Foreign Policy Implications,” the October 5th speech by President Nursultan Nazarbayev is a milestone in Kazakhstan’s educational sector. During his re-marks, the Kazakh lead-er proclaimed that the Central Asian nation’s education system will be reformed, and “expenditures on education, science and healthcare