When Astana launched its sovereign-wealth fund in 2008, authorities asserted that Samruk-Kazyna would modernize Kazakhstan’s economy and help attract foreign investors. Six years later, critics say the fund is bloated and lethargic, and privatization plans are stoking concerns among employees and analysts.
Officials are touting new procedures for selecting judges as a significant step toward increasing transparency and promoting the concept of judicial independence in Kyrgyzstan. But, for some civil society activists, the approach is sowing more doubt than confidence in the system.
Kyrgyzstan is a fiscal train wreck waiting to happen. The Kyrgyz government is spending with abandon, even though it inherited an economy that was already in sorry shape. Foreign donors, meanwhile, are growing increasingly wary, as concerns mount about Bishkek’s reluctance to tackle transparency concerns.
For many in Osh, the anniversary of last year's ethnic violence offers a painful reminder of the severe strains weighing on society. But for Gulmira, an Uzbek, and her husband Saparbek, an ethnic Kyrgyz, the anniversary created an opportunity to promote reconciliation. The couple planned to gather, for the first time since the outbreak of violence, their suspicious Kyrgyz and Uzbek relatives.
In another grim sign for foreign investors in Kyrgyzstan, a parliamentary probe into operations at the Kumtor gold mine has some experts worried that officials are angling to nationalize one of the Central Asian country’s most valuable assets.