Kazakhstan as the Great Connector
March 29. MFA. New Delhi, India
By Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan
President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s article “Kazakhstan as the Great Connector” has been published in the inaugural publication of the BRICS summit, which is taking place on March 29, 2012 in New Delhi, India.
Kazakhstan is developing relationships with the BRICS members and exploring the potential for trade partnerships and greater cooperation to achieve common objectives
A decade after its creation, the concept of the BRICS, bringing together Brazil, Russia, India and China – and, since last year, South Africa – has become a reality in world politics and economics.
An optimistic forecast made by Goldman Sachs analysts in 2001 has exceeded all expectations. Over the past 10 years, the BRICS countries’ contribution to world gross domestic product has reached $10 trillion, equivalent to 80 per cent of the G7 economies. According to the World Bank, Brazil, Russia, india and China will be responsible for nearly 30 per cent of world production by 2015.
Today, even in troubling economic times, the BRICS ‘fantastic’ five continue to show impressive growth rates, in contrast to the debt-stricken leading economies of the world. Dynamic developing countries can become a key driver of global growth. By combining efforts, they should make a major contribution to the world economic recovery. I believe that Kazakhstan, as one of the top three rapid-growth economies in the world in 2011, is ready to contribute to this process. Over 20 years of independence, we have built an effective economy that has grown twelvefold. We are one of the few countries able to provide for ourselves and, in equal measure, to develop the export potential of our economy.
Increasing political and trade links
It is noteworthy that Kazakhstan borders two of the main ‘bricks’ of the BRICS group – Russia and China. These two countries are also our key political and trade partners, and we have signed strategic partnership agreements with both of them.
Our trade ties with India and Brazil are also gathering pace. Last year, Kazakhstan’s trading turnover with the five BRICS countries amounted to over $46 billion. In my view, one of the most promising areas for Kazakhstan-BRICS cooperation is the exciting potential to work together on global food and energy security issues.
It is more important than ever that we are pursuing a policy of openness and leveling the different paces of economic growth through mutually beneficial economic integration. As a country, Kazakhstan supports the aspirations of the BRICS members to diversify the global economic system and to build a more transparent, democratic and multipolar world. Unfortunately, the formats of the G20 and the G8 have shown little effectiveness. It is worrying that the international community has yet to start discussions on developing a global anti-crisis plan.
I propose to radically expand the number of participants in search of solutions to the global crisis. I propose that we call the new communications platform the ‘G-Global’ project. At our initiative, a new functioning mechanism for the global financial system and a single world currency are now being developed.
Located in the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan understands and shares its responsibility for the sustainable and progressive development of the entire continent.
From the beginning, Kazakhstan decided to harness its vast natural resources to improve the living standards of all of its citizens. Education and social welfare have always been top priorities for our development. As a result, since 1994, average income per capita has increased twelvefold. The literacy rate in Kazakhstan is 100 percent, while the unemployment rate remains consistently low.
Since ancient times, Kazakhstan has been a crossroads to the world as part of the Great Silk Road. Traders speaking multiple languages traversed our territory for centuries carrying gems, spices and gold from the bazaars of Asia to the marketplaces of Europe. Today, Kazakhstan also enjoys harmonious relations between its more than 130 ethnic groups and 40 religions – a feature based on history, but also a reflection of our commitment to inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations. We have set up the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, an effective institution for the interaction of the various ethnic groups that make up the population of our country. International congresses of the leaders of world and traditional religions are held regularly in the country.
Kazakhstan supports BRICS members’ aspirations to diversify the global economic system and to build a more transparent, democratic and multiple worlds
In 2010 Kazakhstan proudly chaired the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and hosted the group’s first summit in 11 years in our capital, Astana. This year, Kazakhstan is heading the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and is hoping to create better understanding between predominantly Muslim nations and the rest of the world.
Advancing international cooperation
We have developed a carefully balanced foreign policy – open to working with many countries – and have created new organisations to foster cooperation, including the 24-nation Conference on interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.
Thanks to our economic successes, Kazakhstan has transformed itself from an aid-receiving to a donation-providing country, offering assistance to Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Somalia.
International rating agencies have steadily upgraded Kazakhstan. The World Bank ranks us among the top 50 countries in which to do business. Just like the BRICS economies, ours, by careful design, is modernizing and diversifying from its early reliance on oil into agriculture, manufacturing and telecommunications.
As the leader of the country, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of its independence last year, I have always called upon world leaders for an open dialogue and a joint effort to build a fairer global financial architecture and strengthen global peace and security.
President Nazabayev welcomes his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao (left) to Kazakhstan during an official state visit in June last year
Twenty years ago, a far-reaching decision to voluntarily renounce the world’s fourth largest nuclear-missile arsenal and shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site laid the foundations of our success story. We put forward and implemented the idea to establish a nuclear weapons-Free Zone in Central Asia.
Addressing the Global nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010, I once again stressed the importance of using this experience as we seek to expand the number of nuclear weapons free regions in the world.
Moving forward together
I am confident that through strong political will and collective commitment we will find a joint solution to the most pressing issues facing the world today, for the benefit of all humankind.
I am convinced that the recovery of the world economy and its new trajectory of growth will herald a large and systemic transformation. Today, countries with the fastest-growing economies have a real opportunity to become the driving force that pulls the global economy out of the crisis.