The Ministry of Labor of Kazakhstan recently organized a roundtable on philanthropy in the Republic, attended also by representatives of the Tax Commission, the International Red Cross, and a number of social, charity, and religious organizations. The attendees lamented that the activities of the charity sector remain uncoordinated, and are sorely bereft of state financial, legal, or tax incentive support. The result of the meeting was the initiation of two laws concerning "Philanthropic activity in the Republic of Kazakhstan" and "The social responsibilities of the state." (Delovaya nedelya, December 5)
Recent days have witnessed a series of assessments by other external donors. The roundtable was held almost simultaneously with a press conference given by UN voluntary organizations at the Academy of Sciences on December 3. The most vocal participant of that event was the U.S. Peace corps, whose three main areas of activity in Kazakhstan are English language training, the encouragement of private entrepreneurship, and a program dealing with environmental issues. The environmental program is the first of its kind offered by the organization in the newly independent states. (Panorama, December 5)
The European Union’s TACIS program and the World Bank have also reviewed their activities in Kazakhstan. The year 1996 was a watershed for TACIS during which it developed programs for the following three years in three priority sectors: structural and institutional, agricultural and agroindustrial, and basic infrastructure (energy, transport and telecommunications). TACIS has committed ECU 57 million to Kazakhstan over this period; since 1991 it had granted ECU 73.3 million. Meanwhile, the World Bank will continue to provide aid in its two priority areas: private sector development and social protection. The Bank has committed $975 million in aid, to be dispersed over the next three years in three tranches of $425, $240, and $320 million. Of greatest significance is the $120 million allocated to agriculture, a sector often neglected in favor of energy. The largest single amount, however, goes to the Bank’s state sector reform project, to which it has allocated $230 million. (Delovaya nedelya, December 5)
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