Astana Economic forum

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Astana Economic forum is a platform to exhibit many economic opportunities. Kazakhstan did put this vision precisely at the centre of its Sustainable Development Strategy. The “Nurly Zhol” Plan, approved in April 2015, set the main goal of achieving the economic integration of the disparate regions of this immensely large country through a modern transport network, linking effectively with neighbouring countries in East-West and North- South directions. From results obtained so far, Kazakhstan is well underway to fully honour its pledge to turn the envisioned transcontinental transport link into a buoying competitive trade and transit route between East Asia and Europe. Kazakhstan authorities had meanwhile also the task to bring infrastructure up to international standards, guaranteeing efficient linkages with the BRI Eurasian corridor partners and ensuring smooth transit and trade flows. Indeed, thanks to the construction of the Belt and Road, from an inland country Kazakhstan has turned into an important transport hub at the heart the Eurasian continent connecting Europe with the Asia-Pacific region. The significant economic reforms undertaken by Kazakhstan have gained international recognition. Kazakhstan set the standards of OECD as benchmarks for its reforms and joined the OECD Investment Committee in 2017.  World Bank Doing Business Report 2019 has put Kazakhstan at the 28th position (ahead of some major EU countries) up from rank 41 in 2015, with similar positive trend noted on World Logistics Indices. EBRD Transition Report 2018 in its PPP Laws Assessment has placed Kazakhstan among the countries highly compliant on account of their sophisticated legal frameworks, transparent procurement practices, easy access to justice (including arbitration), and the fact that a range of security instruments are available, all of which facilitate financing. The achievements accomplished by Kazakhstan to upgrade its national transport network and the connections made to its neighbourhood is also a game changer for the whole region , as the new proximity to markets opens bright new opportunities for exports, diversification of economic activities and employment. Khorgos dry port at the Chinese border is for container cargo only four days away from all China major cities and ten days from European Union principal capitals and industrial centres. However, Kazakhstan’s difficult decade that began in 2009 with the abrupt fall of oil prices later settled as well with a growing industry. Reducing Kazakhstan’s financial dependence on oil is a particularly slow process. The country is still reliant on its oil and gas sector but this reliance has somewhat fallen in recent years. In GDP composition, the share occupied by the energy and mining sector has fallen from its peak of 19.5 percent in 2010 to 13.3 percent in 2017. Growing connectivity across the Eurasian continent may present new opportunities for Kazakhstan. As a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, a key partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and a “good neighbour” in a vast region that encompasses India, Iran, Pakistan, and the Middle East, Kazakhstan has been emphasizing large-scale infrastructural development for the past three years. Infrastructure has been taking off. Nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,865 miles) of road have been laid for Kazakhstan’s section of the International Corridor Western Europe-Western China” highway. More than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) of new railways have been constructed, including the railway corridor “Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran,” which connects the countries of Central Asia with the Persian Gulf and the Bandar-Abbas port in southern Iran. The land port “Khorgos—Eastern Gate” is being actively developed on the border with China, the port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea has been modernized and expanded, and a new port has been established at Kuryk, further to the south. This shows the growing tendency of the country whether its BRI or some other regional development projects. Pakistan also has a keen interest in developing good relations with all the central Asian countries being custodian of the game changer project CPEC.

 

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