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How payments drive growth in Kazakhstan

 

Kazakhstan is one of the world economy’s growth stories, with the Asian Development Bank’s latest assessment from April 2024 forecasting GDP growth of 3.8% in 2024 and 5.3% in 2025, far outstripping growth rates seen in advanced economies.

When people think about the causes of economic growth, they often default to thinking about major events and windfalls, such as demographic growth, technological breakthroughs or the liberalisation of trade with major partners.

These have absolutely all played a role in Kazakhstan’s economic growth to date, and will continue to do so, but what’s often overlooked in helping create the conditions for economic growth is an efficient and reliable payments infrastructure.

Accelerating growth

Research by consultancy EY into the economic impact of card payments across the OECD countries found that for every 1% increase in card penetration, GDP per capita increases by 0.12%.

This is due to a number of beneficial factors for both consumers and businesses – for businesses, they have to deal with less cash inventory, improve the security of their payments, and can exploit the payments and purchasing data provided by a more digitized payments system. They can therefore focus more of their time on optimizing their business model and gain access to broader pools of customers.

For consumers, their own cash management is made much simpler, they get a more secure log of their own spending activity and data, and their transactions are made safer. They are therefore encouraged to make a greater volume of transactions, and are more confident in their ability to spend

Put together, this means increased business productivity and increased consumption, all of which drives greater economic growth.

There’s rapid update of digital payments and banking services in Kazakhstan. Since the data was first collected in 2017, the percentage of people in the country who had made a payment online increased from 54% to 78% in 2021, and the volume of non-cash transactions grew 2,900% from US$5bn to over US$150bn during the same time frame.

Financial inclusion

A better payments infrastructure increases financial inclusion, bringing greater access to necessary financial infrastructure to more of those who need it. This is particularly important in a nation like Kazakhstan, which has a large proportion of its population living in remote areas a long way from traditional banking and payments services.  

Combining the growth and financial inclusion agenda is a major driver of our approach at Jusan, where our teams work to develop a financial super app for both consumers and businesses in order to help them achieve their financial and personal goals.

 

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