Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, with a population of only 18 million. It is the leading economy in Central Asia, generating 60% of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry. While vast mineral and hydrocarbon resources have been driving its economy, Kazakhstan has now embarked on a transition to green energy.
EU-Kazakhstan relations have been governed by a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) since 1994. An Enhanced PCA (EPCA) ratified in 2016 will soon enter into force, bringing relations between the EU and Kazakhstan to a new level, with reinforced political dialogue in nearly thirty sectors.
Prison population rate reduced from 231 in 2015 to 194 in 2018 (per 100,000 citizens)Kazakhstan’s judiciary system has become more efficient thanks to an EU flagship programme supporting criminal justice reforms in the country. This programme led to a reduction in the prison population rate (per 100,000 citizens) from 231 in 2015 to 194 in 2018. It also helped to develop and adopt the Probation Law in December 2016. As a result the number of convicts on probation increased from 41,000 in 2015 to 53,000 in 2018.
Clean energy supplied to local communities and boosted agricultureThrough a €7 million EU flagship programme promoting Kazakhstan’s transition to green economy, a hybrid solar and wind power plants were installed a Kyzylorda region. This generated energy to supply water for local farmers, cattle-breeding, and drinking. This also contributed to revamping agriculture in dry, salinized land.
EU helped Kazakhstan to start formal process to join the UN Protocol on Water and HealthThrough a €7 million EU flagship programme promoting Kazakhstan’s Transition to Green Economy, Kazakhstan initiated the procedures to access the UN Protocol on Water and Health. The EU supported Kazakhstan to establish a National working group, develop a baseline study, target indicators and action plan.
As an upper-middle income country, Kazakhstan no longer receives bilateral allocations from the Development and Cooperation Instrument (DCI). However, the country benefits from regional and thematic programmes promoting regional cooperation, peace, stability and security in the region.
EU bilateral support to Kazakhstan is phasing out. The last two EU bilateral projects that supported Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy and judicial reforms successfully closed in 2018.
However, the EU continues to support the development of Kazakhstan as a secular democratic state, and provides support via regional and thematic programmes. The EU allocated €454.2 million to the Central Asia region via the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for the period 2014-2020. Ongoing regional programmes benefitting Kazakhstan cover areas ranging from integrated border management, trade and education, to water and climate change.
Development cooperation with Kazakhstan will increasingly focus on investments as a means to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Through the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA), the EU promotes investment in renewable energy, solid waste management and SME development, in cooperation with European Financial Institutions.
The EU supports Kazakhstan’s efforts towards intra-regional cooperation. For example, the EU promotes the economic empowerment of Afghan women through education and training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.