Lagarde cautiously optimistic towards Central Asia and Kazakhstan
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    Lagarde cautiously optimistic towards Central Asia and Kazakhstan

    Lagarde speaking at the IMF regional conference in Astana, May 24 2016

    Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan last week, told press that while challenges for economic growth in Kazakhstan remain with oil prices still low, the country is well positioned to recover thanks to “appropriate measures” taken by the government.

    Expressing cautious optimism, Lagarde said she expects it may take time for economic growth to return, but emphasised that allowing the Kazakh currency Tenge float freely, had been a good move that has created opportunities for produces and exporters of goods and services in the country.

    “With stronger policy frameworks, more transparent institutions, greater openness, and more inclusive policies, Kazakhstan can set in motion a virtuous circle of policies to achieve growth that is sustainable, diversified, and inclusive,” Lagarde said.

    Lagarde visited Astana Kazakhstan last week to attend the IMF Regional Conference, a platform for Central Asian countries to debate current economic challenges and solutions for growth in the region.

    The visit also coincided with the opening of the yearly Astana Economic Forum, where she was one of the keynote speakers.

    During a press conference, Lagarde described Kazakhstan as a country with a “promising future” strategically situated between Europe and China, and a strong global player in oil production and export.

    “Some would say that Central Asia faces a predicament because it is landlocked. I would say it is blessed with systemic and dynamic neighbors on all sides: China and Russia on one side, Europe, India and South Asia on the other,” Lagarde said.

    “We know that there is considerable interest in Kazakhstan as a bridge between Europe and Asia,” she concluded.

    The Brussels Times