Managed urbanization and increase in quality of life of the population: how regions will develop in the light of objectives of President’s Address
� Regional Development Program until 2020 has been implemented for four years. What are the preliminary results of its implementation?
� The regional development program was adopted in 2014 through the integration of several sectoral programs: development programs for single-industry towns, Akbulak, Affordable Housing, and housing and utilities implementation programs. Later, as is known, the Affordable Housing Program was singled out in a separate � Nurly Zher.
The main results of the regional development program over the past three years � from 2015 to 2017: 1 trillion 200 billion tenge were spent. Of these, a large proportion of the national fund, the republican and local budgets. These funds were used to perform certain tasks. There are four target indicators and 12 outcome indicators. They have all been executed. The share of provision with centralized water supply in cities increased by 7% over the years of the program. Also the proportion of wastewater has increased. In addition, the share of provision with centralized water supply in villages has increased. For the amount allocated, in principle, the program has been implemented in all regions. There are also indicators of single-industry towns, the implementation of anchor projects. Within the framework of this program, the project With a Diploma � to the Village and other projects are being implemented.
� Recently, the Ministry of National Economy reformatted the Regional Development Program into a state one, while actualizing its tasks and target indicators. What tasks will it be focused on? Work in which areas will be strengthened?
� Yes, we have updated the program this year. There was a corresponding order of the Government. We reviewed some of the objectives and directions of the program, as well as its target indicators. Since it was adopted in 2014 through the integration of sectoral life-support infrastructure programs, the regional focus somewhat decreased. Therefore, we placed greater emphasis in the actualized program on urbanization.
Now the level of urbanization in Kazakhstan is 57%. Whereas in developed countries, for example, in OECD countries or countries in the top 30 countries with a high level of human development, urbanization is 80-90%. Suppose we take two countries � Australia and Canada. The population density in Australia is three people per square meter, in Canada � four, we have six. That is, they are similar to us in terms of population density. However, in Australia, urbanization is 90%, Canada � 82%, we have 57%. In Europe, North America and other developed countries � 80-90%. That is, we should make a little more emphasis on urbanization. This is the first point.
We calculated the indicator Functional Urban Areas. There is such a concept in the OECD. We have 22 cities from 87 cities in which the population is over 100,000. In these 22 cities, 87% of the total urban population lives. We see that by 2030 the majority of the population will live in these functional areas around these cities. Therefore, we have done more emphasis on this.
In general, we have divided the program into three areas. These are the development of functional urban areas, the development of territories outside these functional urban areas, where a minority will live and where a certain part of small cities located far from the main large cities will go, as well as the development of the infrastructure of housing and utilities. In the latter direction, we have combined the modernization of housing and public utilities and the development of the water supply and wastewater system.
� In the Address New Opportunities Under the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Head of State set the task of introducing changes and additions to the Regional Development Program until 2020, providing for annual allocation of at least 100 billion tenge from all sources to provide rural settlements with high-quality drinking water. How is the work going on in this direction?
� Of course, in the updated program on the instruction of the Head of State, we have taken into account that at least 100 billion should be allocated to rural water supply. In 2018, 86 billion from the republican budget and 14 billion from the local budget were allocated for these purposes. Until this year, this was not the case; it was smaller � about 60-70% were allocated annually for rural water supply. For 2018 and in the draft budget for 2019, which entered the Parliament, 100 billion were pledged for rural water supply. And from year to year this policy will remain.
� Will there be changes to the program, are there plans to extend it?
� Before answering this question, I would like to say why we have actualized it. First, there was an order from the Head of State to provide 100 billion for rural water supply. Also last year a new system of state planning was adopted. In Kazakhstan, there is a state planning system, where a certain hierarchy of state documents is observed. In accordance with this system, the government program for the development of regions was given the status of a state.
The third reason was that at the beginning of this year a strategic plan for the development of Kazakhstan until 2025 was adopted. There is a section on Strong Regions and Urbanization. To bring it in line with this section, we have updated the program of regional development this year.
� In the Address to the people of Kazakhstan Growing Welfare of Kazakh Citizens: Increase in Income and Quality of Life, the Head of State tasked to develop a forecast plan for spatial development of the country until 2030 until September 1, 2019, which will become the New Map of the country’s managed urbanization. To implement practical measures, it was entrusted to prepare a pragmatic Program for the Development of Regions until 2025. Tell us how these tasks of the Head of State will be implemented?
� As one of the mechanisms for implementing the Forecast Scheme of Spatial Development of the country until 2030, under the new Regional Development Program until 2025, it is intended to set the goal of ensuring managed urbanization and improving the quality of life of the population.
At present, there is a tendency of the influx of people to large cities, where economic activity, talents, innovations, and business are concentrated.
The vision of the country’s regional policy focuses on the development of urbanization and the urban environment. Cities are becoming centers of economic growth and prosperity. More than 70% of global GDP is in cities. New jobs are created here and income levels are usually much higher than in rural areas.
Countries with a high share of urbanization are also economically prosperous. The level of urbanization in the top 30 countries on the human development index is 80% or more. In OECD countries, this figure averages 77%.
In general, growth of urbanization is projected in the world until 2050.
In this regard, it is necessary to adopt a set of measures both for accelerated urbanization (70% by 2030) and for the enlargement of the cities of Kazakhstan themselves.
According to the Decree of the Head of State, the city of Shymkent entered the number of cities of republican significance this year. This is the result of the dynamic development of the city, which serves as a center of attraction for the labor-surplus rural population.
It is also necessary to ensure the development of large and medium cities of regional and district values, which are regional growth centers. In order to ensure the flow of population to large cities, it is necessary to create conditions that will include measures for the construction of housing and social facilities and the supply of engineering infrastructure. In recent years, the infrastructure of republican importance has been actively developed.
In general, it should be noted that the stability of the regional economy depends on how well the infrastructure is developed in it and how ready it is for the development of primary production.
In this regard, in the regional development, the priority direction should be the development of local infrastructure: energy supply, water supply and sewage disposal, local roads.
The unsatisfactory state of the production infrastructure is one of the key problems hindering the development of the regions. Particularly acute is also the issue of transport beats.
The development of local infrastructure will entail economic effects:
increase in labor productivity,
creation of new jobs,
improvement of conditions for the development of local entrepreneurship in terms of infrastructure provision,
in general, improving the quality of life of the population in the regions.
Source: The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan