Frozen funds to help Kazakh youth under new international agreement
WASHINGTON. May 4. KAZINFORM - The World Bank has agreed to assist the governments of Kazakhstan, the United States and Switzerland in setting up an independent foundation in Kazakhstan that will use approximately $84 million in frozen funds for development projects involving poor children and youth in the Central Asian country. The World Bank support is described in an agreement filed earlier today in court in New York under which the three governments agree to a mechanism to release the funds to support activities aimed at improving child and youth welfare, Kazinform has learnt from World Bank press service. The concept and program of the Bota Foundation (meaning young camel in Kazakh) was developed by the World Bank in response to a request from the three governments to develop a transparent mechanism to use the funds for the direct benefit of the people of Kazakhstan, a country of 15 million people with an average per capita income of $3,800. The release of the funds, which are currently held in Switzerland, is subject to US court approval in related proceedings. “It is very gratifying to see that under this agreement the funds will go to support poor Kazakh families and children-at-risk through community-based activities and scholarships,” said Shigeo Katsu, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “This is a very positive step forward for the Kazakh people and government, and the World Bank is pleased to play a role in ensuring that the funds are invested in youth whose development and aspirations are so critical to Kazakhstan’s future.” Under the agreement, the funds are to be directed in the most transparent and efficient manner to the most deserving sections of society where the application of these funds would have lasting developmental impact. It was agreed that the funds should be directed through the Bota Foundation, which will be the first independent philanthropic foundation of its kind in Kazakhstan, and will be managed by a competitively selected international non-governmental organization. Based on its experience in developing and implementing similar initiatives, the World Bank will provide technical assistance to the Foundation and governments, including advice on the institutional arrangement and set-up of the Bota Foundation, training and capacity-building activities, and supervision of the implementation of the activities with respect to objectives set by the Foundation itself.