Ai-Gul Seitenowa

Ai-Gul Seitenova is an independent consultant on Economics and Strategic Planning in Kazakhstan. Since receiving her PhD in Economics in 1987 from the Moscow Agricultural Academy, she was employed by the Research Institutes of the State Planning and Statistics Committees of Kazakhstan.

From 1993 to 1998 she headed the Economic Research Division at the National Bank of Kazakhstan. Following that, she worked with the US consultancy IMCC under the USAID and World Bank Pension Reform Projects. Advisory work with Pragma Corporation under the USAID’s Financial Sector Initiative project (2001- 2005) provided her with experience in a wide range of areas, including the assessment potential demand for credit bureau services. In 2006, Ai-Gul won a one-year Fulbright scholarship to conduct research on disability at Duke University (USA). The results of her work co-authored with Duke U. Professor Charles Becker was published as a World Bank working paper "Disability in Kazakhsta: An Evaluation of Official Data". After completion of the Fulbright Program, she was appointed head of the social-demographic sector at the Center for Economic Analysis “Rakurs,” one of Kazakhstan’s first think-tank of Kazakhstan. Since 2009, she took part as research analyst in different projects funded by Kazakhstan’s Government, USAID, the European Union, EBRD and ADB.

Dr. Seitenova’s research interests include wide range of areas, including social policy, pension reforms, industrial and trade policy, and SMEs. She enjoys researching challenging topics in unexplored areas that have received relatively little attention to date due to a lack of information. Her research includes a co-authored book on pension reform published by Palgrave Macmillan, two book chapters (published in Japan by Maruzen Publishers) and several journals in the USA and Japan, including the Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Comparative Economics.

In addition to the research experience, Dr. Seitenova has been engaged in making documentary films, among which the film on actuarial profession in Kazakhstan and film dedicated to ethnographer Zeynolla Kaisenov, author of several books on the Kazakh genealogy and the national liberation movement of 1916 in Kazakhstan.

Research project: Disability trends and patterns in Kazakhstan during the Soviet and independence eras: contrasts and similarity with former communist states of Central Europe, the Baltic states, and Russia.

Among the voluminous disability literature, there is a limited number of papers devoted to disability comparisons across countries. According to the latest World Report on Disability, the reason behind this is that “…the definitions and methodologies used vary so greatly between countries that international comparisons still remain difficult” ( This is especially true when it comes to comparison between countries of former USSR and Western World and when diagnostic trends are compared as well.

Objectives of the Project:
•    To explore why adult disability prevalence rate in Kazakhstan (approx. 4.0% of population) is small compared to selected EU countries and US rates, which vary from 7.4% in Greece and 14.0% in USA and Poland to 26.1% in Finland.
•    To explore whether Kazakhstan’s adult disability population increment and decrement rates correlate with its economic trends through a comparison of quantifiable disability characteristics between the Soviet era, covering both perestroika years and some period beforehand (1980-1990) and (b) the entire post-Independence era (1991-2017).

Dates of stay: 01 October 2019 - 31 July 2020