Kazakhstan strengthens its position as a transit hub of Eurasia

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took part in the V Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia.  Photo:

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took part in the V Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia. Photo:

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev I took part at the V Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia, held in the capital of Tajikistan, as well as at the meeting of the Council of Heads of State – founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. In addition to the leaders of the five Central Asian states, the President of Azerbaijan was present at the meeting as an honorary guest.

In his speech, Tokayev noted the expansion of trade and economic cooperation between neighboring countries. “Contacts between businesses have intensified, the number of joint ventures is growing. Large regional projects not only bring tangible mutual benefits, but also change the entire configuration of the Central Asian economy. Over the past five years, intraregional trade turnover has grown by more than 80%,” noted the President of Kazakhstan.

“Create stable trading conditions”

According to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, modern Central Asia is becoming a territory of new economic opportunities in trade, investment, business, science and innovation. In the current situation, the next decade will be decisive for the region, and it depends on its states “how effectively we will use this historic chance.”

As the Kazakh leader believes, the urgent task is to increase trade flows between the countries of Central Asia. “Our countries have a chance in the near future to increase mutual trade turnover to $15 billion (on the eve of the meeting, Kazakh Foreign Minister Murat Nutrleu said that for the current period it has exceeded $10 billion. – Ed.). To do this, it is important to remove existing barriers, move away from excessive protectionism, and create transparent and stable trading conditions,” says Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. In particular, in the field of trade in goods of the agricultural and construction industries, chemical and textile industries. Kazakhstan is ready to increase exports to the countries of the region in 175 non-resource commodity items.

The business community is expected to become the main driver in expanding trade. The President of Kazakhstan proposes to create a unified electronic database of commodity producers in Central Asia and develop a plan for the development of industrial cooperation between states to form a closed production cycle with the prospect of exporting to third-country markets.


“The volume of exports from the Kazakh IT industry has increased 5 times”

The development of trade requires the expansion and modernization of the transport and logistics sector. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke about this in his recent Address to the people of Kazakhstan, and this topic could not help but come up at the meeting in Dushanbe. According to Tokayev, today the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route plays a special role, transportation along which can be increased 5 times. “We intend to systematically increase its capacity by introducing digital solutions and modernizing infrastructure,” the President of Kazakhstan promised.

He informed his colleagues about his country’s key projects in the transport and logistics sector. In particular, it is planned to create a container hub on the basis of the Aktau port with the involvement of the world’s leading operators.

“It is extremely important for us to continue working together with fraternal states on the further development of transport and logistics infrastructure to eliminate the so-called bottlenecks that hinder intraregional trade. Kazakhstan aims to accelerate the implementation of a number of large projects that will contribute to the expansion of economic ties with its closest partners. We are talking about the Dostyk-Moyynty, Bakhty-Ayagoz, Darbaza-Maktaaral railway projects, as well as the Zhanaozen-Turkmenistan border highway. In general, Kazakhstan intends to strengthen its position as a transit hub in Eurasia,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized.

Equally important is expanding the area of ​​application of digital solutions. In Kazakhstan, such solutions are actively being implemented in all spheres of the economy. Thus, the share of non-cash transactions reached 82%, more than 90% of government services are provided electronically.

Tokayev noted that the volume of exports of the Kazakh IT industry increased 5 times last year alone, and by 2026 its figure will be increased to $1 billion. At the same time, Kazakhstan consistently advocates strengthening cooperation with its closest neighbors in this strategically important industry.


“Show the whole world the original culture of our countries”

The President of Kazakhstan expressed support for Tajikistan’s initiative to create a Council of National Coordinators as a first step towards institutionalizing the format. “In the future, we could begin discussing the issue of establishing the Secretariat of Consultative Meetings, as well as the appointment of our special representatives,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

Taking into account the fact that in the context of a rapidly changing world order, interaction between the countries of the region in the field of security is becoming of great importance, Tokayev proposed holding a dialogue on security and cooperation in Central Asia in Kazakhstan next year at the level of secretaries of the Security Councils.

President Tokayev’s speech paid special attention to cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the region, including the development of contacts between universities. These contacts are expanding. In 2022, branches of Kazakh universities were opened in Kyrgyzstan, the creation of joint faculties on the basis of higher educational institutions of Tajikistan, and the “cross-opening” of branches of leading universities of the two countries in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are being discussed. It was symbolic that the 2nd Forum of Rectors and the 1st Forum of Scientists from the Countries of the Region were held on the sidelines of the meeting in Dushanbe.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also proposed holding a forum of historians of Central Asian states for joint research and publication of scientific works. “We have a great opportunity to show the whole world the unique nature and original culture of our countries, jointly promoting the tourism brand “Central Asia,” – said President of Kazakhstan.

Following the results of the V Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia in Dushanbe, interstate documents were signed, including an agreement on the general directions of youth policy, as well as an agreement on strengthening the interconnectedness of land transport in the region. The next Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia will be held in Kazakhstan.

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