The loan agreement was signed by Bakhyt Sultanov, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ludmilla Butenko, Country Manager for Kazakhstan, on behalf of the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). The project is the first in a series under the Partnership Framework Arrangement signed in May 2014 between the World Bank and the Government of Kazakhstan.
“Innovation is key to boosting economic development and unleashing the potential of the private sector as Kazakhstan is striving to build a more diversified and competitive economy,” said Ludmilla Butenko, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan. “Building on achievements of the ongoing Technology Commercialization Project and similar World Bank projects implemented worldwide, it is expected that the project will promote industry innovations in line with the plan for the implementation of institutional reforms in Kazakhstan.”
The project will contribute to improving critical areas such as capacity for innovation, quality of scientific research institutes, company spending on research and development, and university-industry collaboration in research and development. The project will introduce bottom-up competitive selection procedures open to all sectors of the Kazakhstan economy that intend to nurture a dynamic productive sector in the country, particularly a segment of private start-ups.
The loan will finance competitive grants to scientist groups developing commercially viable high-quality research and ideas; and to Kazakh research institutes, design bureaus, and engineering laboratories upgrading their test sites as members of productive technology consortia in agriculture, extractive industries, manufacturing, as well as inclusive innovation consortia in the social sector.
The total project cost is US$110 million, including US$88 million financing from the World Bank and US$22 million co-financing from the Government of Kazakhstan. The project will be launched once it is ratified by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.