Student Stories: Tackling Transportation Infrastructure in Kazakhstan

Yomna Mohei EldinYomna Mohei Eldin is a second-year MPA/ID student at Harvard Kennedy School. Se was accepted into the Growth Lab's 2022 Summer Internship Program and contributed to our policy engagement in Kazakhstan where our research aims to identify and prioritize investment opportunities and policy options to drive sustainable economic growth and diversification.

Why did you apply to be a Growth Lab intern?
I applied to the Growth Lab internship because I believe that it would be an essential cornerstone of my MPA/ID experience and my interest in international finance and trade.

What did you work on this summer?
I worked on researching policy solutions for stagnant corporate credit growth in Kazakhstan and on studying the transportation infrastructure sector. My work also included meeting with businessmen, researchers, and government officials in Kazakhstan to discuss our diagnostics and policy recommendations.

In what ways were you challenged?
This project was my first exposure to the central Asia region; thus, it was challenging and exciting to learn about a new region and a new project within the span of 8 weeks. Given that I had only worked in Egypt before going to HKS, it was a challenge to avoid my unconscious confirmation bias of linking problems in Kazakhstan with those I have seen before in Egypt. However, it was an exciting experience to fight these unconscious biases and focus on the unique economic environment of Kazakhstan.

What was your most exciting/surprising experience?
The most exciting experience was staying in Astana for a month. It was very exciting to see first-hand the unique culture and development efforts of the country.

What advice would you give future Growth Lab interns?
I would advise them to aim for a project in an unfamiliar region.

What’s next for you?
The internship has further increased my interest in international finance and trade, and I hope to continue working on these topics after graduating from the MPA/ID program.