EXPO 2017 Looms for Kazakhstan as Astana Officially Unveils Bid in Paris

June 14. MFA

EXPO 2017 Looms for Kazakhstan as Astana Officially Unveils Bid in ParisKazakhstan made a presentation of its capital city’s bid for the right to host a 2017 specialized exposition today at the 149th session of the International Expositions Bureau (BIE) General Assembly in Paris.

In his presenting speech, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to France Nurlan Danenov said Kazakhstan is committed to meet all requirements set by the Bureau and will ensure favourable conditions for a successful hosting of the 2017 World Fair in Astana.

Since now Kazakhstan will go through a campaign to win the votes of the BIE 156 member states, especially those who have less knowledge of the country’s economic progress.

Kazakhstan has proposed to put “Energy of the Future” as the theme for EXPO 2017, a subject highly topical for the world of high prices for oil and other hydrocarbons and of the growing scientific recognition that exploding consumption of such in recent decades has led to global warming. It is also very much in keeping with the reality in Kazakhstan, rich in oil, gas, and uranium but also striving to become a leader in green and alternative energy. Ready to rally support for this project, the Kazakhs perceive the campaign as the national agenda that concerns each and everyone in the capital and the country.

Serik Amirov, Deputy Chairman of the International Economic Cooperation Committee at the Foreign Ministry, believes Expos serve as instruments for forging and strengthening partnerships between the host country and other member states.

As Olzhas Toguzbayev, a member of the Kazakh delegation and Deputy Director of the Consular Service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry put it, if the 2010 OSCE chairmanship has brought enormous political dividends, an international exposition of this scale will undoubtedly generate tremendous economic bonuses to the country and will help establish it as a major hub in Central Asia.

Strategically located in the heart of the Eurasian continent at the main juncture of transcontinental corridors linking Europe and Asia, Astana has indeed decent chances to win the support of BIE member states to host this three-month-long world’s fair that will attract several million visitors.

Aidar Kazybayev, Chairman of the Trade Committee of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, said the timing for such an event could not be better also because the year of 2017 will mark the 20th anniversary of Astana’s establishment as the new capital of an independent Kazakhstan.

If successful, Astana will attract significant investments into construction of exposition venues and the city’s overall infrastructure that will, on its part, generate new jobs, forge development of domestic tourism, and mobilize Kazakhstan’s economic and social resources. Venues to be built for the exposition will later position Kazakhstan and its capital as a large international exposition and information presentation platform.

In an interview with The Astana Times monthly newspaper earlier this month, Juan Correas, the chief adviser to the Kazakh Government on this bid, said: “Kazakhstan has all the resources, experience and international authority necessary to hold such a major international event… EXPO 2017 is a major non-commercial project; it will be a powerful catalyst for the country’s development and the region as a whole. If EXPO 2017 is elevated to the level of the national project, its intellectual heritage will bring Kazakhstan to a new level, to say nothing of the impact on the economy and society from investments in construction, tourism infrastructure, and the hotel business. The beautiful city of Astana will gain momentum for further growth and more ambitious goals. And the people of Kazakhstan will once again have an opportunity to celebrate the abilities and capabilities of their country.”

A decade of fast growth and progressive social policies has brought Kazakhstan a prosperity that is widely shared. The success certainly is partly thanks to booming commodity prices. But it is also the result of sound economic policies. A country once known for its macroeconomic incompetence soon after the demise of the Soviet Union has maintained an enviable stability, deftly navigating the 1998 and the 2008 financial crises.

The session attended by over 150 member states also reviewed the presentation of Astana’s rival, Belgian city of Liege, by the country’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme.