Kazakhstan is a vast country (the ninth largest in the world) that is strategically located in Central Asia. It borders include Russia and China. Along its Western border, where the Caspian Sea meets the dessert, is the small port city of Aktau. This city is the capital of the oil rich region of Mangystau. Like many oil rich countries, the decline in the price of this commodity has resulted in revenue short falls that have impacted economic development and, consequently, employment.
The challenge for the Mangystau Oblast (i.e. regional government), however, is not only the lack of oil revenue but also the broader, longer term challenge of capitalizing on its potential as a gateway for goods transiting via improved national infrastructure (e.g.
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