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Astana, Kazakhstan • 12 July 2023

Main Takeaways From Tokayev's Speech on Future of Astana's Development

The president emphasized the need for affordable medicine and education services

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photo credit: Maxim Petrichuk
photo credit: Maxim Petrichuk

On July 11, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev chaired the meeting on the development of Astana, QazMonitor reports citing Akorda.

The president emphasized that all residents of Astana should have equal access to comfortable city infrastructure, including educational and healthcare facilities, cultural and sports amenities, parks, and public spaces.

"The current growth in the population of Astana unabated leads to a severe shortage of modern clinics and specialized medical institutions offering high-quality and affordable services. There is also a noticeable shortage of qualified medical staff. People often postpone seeking medical help until the last minute due to long queues in [public] clinics and the high cost of services in private clinics. All of this impacts public health negatively. To address this situation, I believe it is important to support the proposal for constructing a third general hospital in the capital," said Tokayev.

He also noted that the availability of quality educational services is a primary concern for the capital's residents. With the number of students in many schools significantly exceeding the designed capacity, an increasing number of schools operate in three shifts.

Given this situation, the president instructed the city administration to ensure the construction of new educational institutions, prioritizing establishing 15 additional education facilities. However, an increase in the designed capacity will illuminate another problem – a catastrophic shortage of qualified teaching staff. Astana needs approximately 1,000 teachers annually.

"Therefore, I consider it timely to propose the establishment of a pedagogical university in Astana. This will enable us to train a sufficient number of teachers for the upcoming schools," said Tokayev.

The president added that in the context of modern digital civilization and a knowledge-based economy, access to the Internet is one of the critical needs for individuals, especially urban dwellers.

We often promote Astana as a 'smart city' and a regional IT hub, automatically implying high-quality basic digital infrastructure. However, the network stability and cellular communications in the capital leave much to be desired. It causes discomfort for the residents, significantly damages the city's economy, and creates an extremely negative impression on the capital's guests.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan

Furthermore, the current state of affairs of the capital's public transport system and frequent traffic congestion directly affect the quality of life in the city. In this regard, the president raised the example of Almaty, where public transport is operated through a control center and an electronic ticketing system, demonstrating its high efficiency. He instructed the head of the city administration to ensure the implementation and development of a dispatch control system for public transport.

Tokayev also addressed the issues surrounding the Astana LRT project, the infamous light rail rapid transit system, originally planned to be commissioned in December 2019. He noted that although new deadlines and obligations to the residents have been outlined and funds allocated for this purpose, visible work results have yet to be seen.

"Delaying the resolution of transport problems may lead to a systemic crisis, with the city becoming gridlocked in traffic jams. It is necessary to find the most acceptable solution to this issue. Otherwise, it will result in economic losses. People will waste their time in traffic jams, and the city's ecology will suffer. The increase in migration also contributes to the deterioration of the transportation situation," concluded Tokayev.

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