http://gdb.rferl.org/0CC64C28-3F20-42EB-8E92-648415F4917E_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/0CC64C28-3F20-42EB-8E92-648415F4917E_mw800_mh600.jpg
Nursultan Nazarbaev (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
February 28, 2007 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has underscored the need for a strategy that will help make the energy-rich country's economy globally competitive.
Nazarbaev, in his annual address to parliament today, said the target of doubling Kazakhstan's 2000 GDP by 2008 is "quite attainable."
He called for the demonopolization of the economy -- in particular the oil and gas, railway, and electricity sectors.
Nazarbaev also said Kazakhstan's economic integration within regional groupings such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) remains a priority.
The president said Kazakhstan will pursue its "own Kazakh way" of political reforms, implementing them gradually.
Nazarbaev said he has ordered the construction of 100 schools and 100 hospitals over the next three years, and he encouraged the nation of 15 million people to have more children.
Unusually, Nazarbaev's annual address to both houses of parliament was not shown live on television. It was broadcast nationwide a short time later.
(Interfax-Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS, Reuters)