As a phenomenon that accompanies every economic system, poverty has always existed in all countries regardless of their level of development. Poverty affects not only the level of people’s lives, but also the social and political spheres of life, becoming the source of rising crime and social conflict in many cases. As a consequence, the world community faces the task of poverty reduction.
Reduction of poverty in the society can be achieved through the creation of conditions for country development as a whole, as well as for the realization of potential opportunities of each person. In other words, in order to overcome the problem of poverty, it is necessary to provide a number of conditions, namely sustainable economic growth, expansion of opportunities for productive employment of population, the effectiveness of social policy, rational state regulation and the development of democratic institutions in society. Developing and implementing national strategies for poverty reduction in Kazakhstan, primarily taking into account the interests of poor people, is an important step in achieving the goal of reducing poverty in the world.
In the broadest sense, poverty is understood as socio-economic status of households or a person, in which their (his/her) relatively low level of cash, property and other resources do not allow to meet their (his/her) natural physiological, physical and spiritual needs.
According to the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, living wage is a necessary minimum cash income per person equal in value to the minimum consumer basket and providing person with satisfaction of minimal needs at the level adopted by the society at this stage.
Processes of transition to the market in the Republic were accompanied by phenomena such as stopping and closing of several state-owned enterprises, and, as a result of this, a serious scale of unemployment. Lack of work was one of the main causes of poverty in Kazakhstan. The problem of unemployment became particularly acute in rural areas.
The social sphere, including health, education, science and culture, has been seriously affected in the last two decades. Socio-economic difficulties of the transition period contributed to the decline of income for most of the population of Kazakhstan. Thus, the average per capita income of more than 62 % of the population in 1997–1998 was below 3,000 tenge per month. During those years, fourth of the population had a per capita income 3,001–6,000 tenge per month (less than $ 70). It is only in 1999 and 2000 that real incomes of the population began to grow on average by 4–5 %.
At the time, the state and society came to the implementation of purposeful activities to combat poverty, and the reduction of unemployment through active employment policy and targeted social assistance to the poor was of the highest priority. Cooperation with international organizations, such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development), the UN (United Nations) and others goes to a new level in the implementation of various social programs, as well as attracting major investors to the country in order to develop the economy sectors. Thus, the level of poverty in Kazakhstan amounted to 3,8 % in 2012 and 2013, versus 5,3 % in 2011.
Definition of specific tasks and policy priorities for the fight against poverty at each stage of the current situation is an important moment in the process of combating poverty. For Kazakhstan, the priority directions of this strategy are the following:
- Ensuring sustainable economic growth. At the same time, macroeconomic policies should be maximally focused on support of the poor, solving the problems of inequality and providing maximum opportunities for the poor.
- Poverty should be considered as a complex multidimensional phenomenon, which will require concerted efforts by all partners working in the field of development (government at central and local levels, business sector, academic and research institutions, NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) and other civil society groups, international organizations, the media and the people themselves).
- The fight against unemployment. In order to increase the effectiveness of measures aimed at reduction of unemployment level, it is necessary to improve the regulatory framework in the field of labor market, take measures to legalize labor relations, stimulate the flow of labor from the scope of «hidden» employment to a fixed labor market, and improve the economic mechanisms for the protection of domestic labor market.
- Development of small business.
- State support for small and medium businesses.
- Development of micro-credit programs.
- Development of regional plans to combat poverty.
- Further democratization of society.
- Development of the Kazakh village.
- Ensuring the accessibility of education, health and environmental concerns.
- Improving the efficiency of funding for programs against poverty.
- Improving the monitoring mechanism for poverty reduction.
The most important element of this strategy is broad-based economic growth that provides new jobs and higher income.
Another component of poverty reduction strategy is the creation of conditions for poor people, which would allow them to take advantage of opportunities for employment and income generation.
The task of reforming the education and health systems is relevant; today’s students would gain skills necessary for the existence under changing demand of the market economy, and the population would be provided with quality health services, financially accessible both to households and the state.
The work was submitted to International Scientific Conference «Problems of international integration of national education standards», France (Paris), March, 14–21, 2014, came to the editorial office оn 07.02.2014.