On September 1, 2023, the Head of State, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, delivered his annual Address to the people of Kazakhstan and announced numerous changes in the country. To learn more about how the composition of key government agencies has changed and what experts think about it, read the material from the analytical observer of the Kazinform News Agency.
Presidential Assistants and Other Appointments in the Presidential Administration:
- Ruslan Zheldibay (born in 1989) was appointed as the Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan for Domestic Policy and Communications. Previously, he held the position of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration and Press Secretary to the Head of State.
- Erzhan Kazyhan (born in 1964) assumed the role of Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan for International Affairs. Previously, he held the position of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration and Special Representative of the President of Kazakhstan for International Cooperation.
- Erzhan Zhiyenbayev (born in 1981) took the position of Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan for Legal Affairs. Previously, he held the position of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration.
- Asset Irgaliev (born in 1986) was appointed as the Assistant to the President of Kazakhstan for Economic Affairs. Previously, he held the position of Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms.
For more details on personnel changes in the Presidential Administration, you can refer to the provided link.
- Gizat Nurdauletov (born in 1964) assumed the position of Secretary of the Security Council of Kazakhstan. Murat Baymukashev (born in 1967) was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council.
- Ernar Baspaev (born in 1979) became an Advisor to the President of Kazakhstan.
- Kanat Bozumbaev, formerly known as the ex-Minister of Energy (2016-2019), now holds the position of Advisor to the President’s Advisor.
New Deputy Prime Ministers:
- Serik Zhumangarin (born in 1969) was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister. Previously, he headed the Ministry of Trade and Integration and simultaneously served as Vice Prime Minister. Arman Shakkaliev (born in 1977) was appointed as the new Minister of Trade.
- Tamara Duisenova (born in 1965) also assumed the position of Deputy Prime Minister. Previously, Tamara Duisenova served as the Minister of Labor and Social Protection for many years and held the post of Minister of Health from 2014 to 2017.
- Svetlana Zhakupova (born in 1968) was appointed as the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. She previously served as the Deputy Minister of this department in the years 2013-2014 and from 2017 to 2019.
New Leaders in National Bank, Kazatomprom, and National Oncology Center:
- Timur Suleimenov (born in 1978) was appointed as the new head of the National Bank. His candidacy for the position of the head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan was proposed in the Senate.
- Galymzhan Pirmatov (born in 1972) was relieved of his position as Chairman of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The President thanked him for his work. Immediately after this, the Head of State appointed a new head of the National Bank and outlined several important tasks related to reducing inflation, developing financial technologies and innovations, and fully launching the national payment system in the coming year.
- Sultan Temirbayev (born in 1972) assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer for Economics and Finance at JSC “National Atomic Company “Kazatomprom.” Previously, he served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Economics and Finance at LLP “SP” Inca”, a joint venture of “Kazatomprom” and “Cameco” Corporation.
- Sanzhar Shalekenov (born in 1982) took the helm of the National Scientific Oncology Center LLP. From March to August 2023, he served as the Acting Chairman of the Board of LLP “National Scientific Oncology Center.
“Five New Ministries Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a decree establishing five new ministries in the country:
- Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- Ministry of Industry and Construction of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has been reorganized by separating the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation from it. The Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development has been divided into the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Industry. The Ministry of Information and Public Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been transformed into the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan. And the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan has been transformed into the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
New Ministers Nurzhan Nurzhigitov (born in 1967) was appointed as the head of the new Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation by the President’s decree. He previously held the position of deputy akim of Zhambyl region.
Erlan Nysanbaev (born in 1961) has become the new Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. He served as the deputy minister of the department from July 2019 to May 2021 and had previously held the position of deputy minister of agriculture for over five years (2014-2019). Zulfia Suleimenova was accordingly relieved of her position as Minister of Natural Resources.
Marat Karabaev (born in 1987) has been appointed as the head of the newly created Ministry of Transport. He previously held the position of Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development.
The reorganized Ministry of Tourism and Sports is now headed by Ermek Marzhikpaev (born in 1969). He previously served as the akim of Akmola region.
Aida Balaeva (born in 1974) has been appointed as the head of the new Ministry of Culture and Information. She previously held the position of deputy head of the Presidential Administration (PA).
Kanat Sharlapaev (born in 1981) has become the Minister of the new Ministry of Industry and Construction. He previously held the position of Chairman of the Board and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Managing Holding Baiterek. Among his other positions were Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Housing Construction Savings Bank “Otbas Bank” and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Industrial Development Fund.
Other Appointments in the Government and Regions Erzhan Sadenov (born in 1968) has become the new Minister of Internal Affairs. He previously served as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. Consequently, Marat Akhmetzhanov (born in 1964) was relieved of this position and appointed as the akim of Akmola region.
Aidarbek Saparov (born in 1966) has been appointed as the new head of the Ministry of Agriculture. He previously held the position of the first deputy minister of agriculture from 2019 to 2022 and was subsequently appointed as the akim of North Kazakhstan region (NKR) starting from December 1, 2022.
Erbol Karashukeev (born in 1976), who held the position of the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, was relieved of his duties and appointed as the akim of Zhambyl region.
A new Chairman of the Committee for Higher and Postgraduate Education of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MSHE) was appointed, and it is Gulzat Kobenova (born in 1978). She has worked in various leadership positions within the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan since 2010. Adlet Toibaev (born in 1982) has been appointed to lead the Committee for Quality Assurance in Science and Higher Education.
Gabit Syzdykbekov (born in 1989) has been appointed as the new akim of Shymkent. From September 2019 to July 14, 2021, he served as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Serbia.
Residents of the North Kazakhstan Region (NKR) are still waiting for their new regional leader.
Expert Opinions According to experts, a significant portion of the new appointments in the country’s government demonstrates a trend towards strengthening it with professionals. This opinion was shared by Kazakhstani political analyst Daniar Ashimbayev.
“58-year-old Akim (Governor) of Akmola Region, Ermek Marzhikpaev, has been appointed to head the new Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Until today, he was the longest-serving akim of the region, known for his good and adequate practices. So far, most of the appointments in the government indicate a trend towards strengthening it with professionals,” noted the political analyst in his Telegram channel.
He added that Svetlana Zhakupova, a 55-year-old who had been appointed as the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, previously held the position of Commissioner for the Rights of Socially Vulnerable Population Categories under the President earlier this year.
According to him, Serik Zhumangarin and Tamara Duisenova were relieved of their positions as deputy prime ministers to focus on coordinating the work of the growing number of ministries.
Aida Balaeva, an experienced practitioner and political heavyweight who previously served as Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, has been appointed to head the new Ministry of Culture and Information—the government’s main ideological agency. According to the expert, this appointment indicates that the President has decided to shift practical work to the government.
“So, Aida Balaeva’s new appointment is not a demotion but effectively just a change in the job title,” the political analyst added.
Daniar Ashimbayev noted that Marat Karabaev, the former head of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development (MIID), now leads the new Ministry of Transport. Arman Shakkaliev, a 43-year-old former first deputy, has been promoted to the position of Minister of Trade and Integration. Before this, he headed the Committee for Technical Regulation and Metrology and was a member of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) board.
The political analyst also shared his opinion on the appointment of the new head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
“The new head of the MIA is 58-year-old Erzhan Sadenov, a native of East Kazakhstan Region (VKO), who rose through the ranks from an investigator to the head of the Ust-Kamenogorsk Internal Affairs Directorate. He was the first deputy of the Department of Internal Affairs of Mangystau Region, headed the Department of Internal Affairs for Transport, the police in Akmola Region, and the capital. For the past one and a half years, he served as the deputy minister,” the expert noted.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has given a series of assignments to the new Minister of Internal Affairs, including continuing the development of a service-oriented model and improving interactions with the public, as well as adjusting the system for protecting the rights of minors.
Overall, according to experts, the track records and experience of the new appointees indicate a societal demand for strong administrators and practitioners.
Regarding the establishment of new government departments, speakers believe that it is a timely decision that addresses current needs and challenges. For example, Kazakhstan has many railways and highways passing through its territory. In the current geopolitical context, many countries, including China, Europe, and others, including Kazakhstan, are seeking alternative routes for transporting their goods. Therefore, the creation of a separate Ministry of Transport will contribute to the country’s economic growth.
According to a geo-ecologist and former deputy of the Parliament of the Seventh Convocation, Aizhan Skakovaya, the functions related to water management were previously dispersed within the government.
“In essence, several ministries dealt with water-related issues. However, considering the current realities, where Central Asia and Kazakhstan, in particular, face water shortages, the issue of managing water resources becomes highly relevant. It should be noted that since 2019, Kazakhstan has ranked near the bottom in global rankings for the efficiency of water resource management. This is, of course, due to the fact that the country is landlocked and receives almost 40-50% of its water resources from neighboring countries. Therefore, given the regional water scarcity threat, water management needs to be taken seriously and treated as a strategic resource,” Aizhan Skakovaya said in an interview with MIA Kazinform.
She added that, with regard to financial and administrative burdens, there should be no problems because these structural units already exist within the government’s framework. And, apparently, this ministry will be created based on the Committee for Water Resources and Basin Inspections, which already exists.
“Plus, water issues are being addressed at the local level by local executive authorities—akimats. And now, I think it is advisable to give more control and emphasize basin inspections because they can solve many issues locally. The focus should be on the integrated water resource management system (IWRM), which is already enshrined in our legislation but will now be strengthened,” Aizhan Skakovaya concluded.
The expert expects that a new, modern, and up-to-date water code that reflects a more practical implementation of IWRM based on international experience will be adopted in the country before the new year.
In general, according to experts, the creation of new departments and the subsequent personnel appointments respond to the current challenges facing the country and the region as a whole.