Remarks by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev At the meeting with Foreign Diplomatic Corps
Feb 06. MFA
Heads of International Organizations and Missions!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I welcome you all to our annual meeting!
Kazakhstan is strengthening friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with all of the countries that you represent.
Last year, a third of the diplomatic corps accredited in Kazakhstan were renewed.
I would like to welcome and congratulate the new ambassadors who have just started their duties.
There is a good saying in Kazakh “The Ambassador is the one who brings together countries.”
I hope you, together with your long-serving colleagues in Astana, will bring fresh impetus to our relations and further strengthen the high level of cooperation.
We, from our side, endeavor to provide the most favorable environment for you to carry out your job.
I would like to express my deep gratitude for your distinguished and valuable work in Kazakhstan.
We gather on the eve of a worldwide event – the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
They are being held on the CIS territory for the first time.
I wish the host country, our strategic partner – the Russian Federation, every success in their Olympic mission.
I would also like to wish all of your respective National teams stunning sports victories and achievements!
At the same time, we hope to get your support for Almaty’s bid to host 24th Winter Olympics in 2022.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We hold our meeting at an important moment for Kazakhstan. We have embarked on a new stage of national development – the next step in our journey of independence.
In my recent Address to the Nation, I set out the major directions and concrete tasks needed to achieve Kazakhstan’s ambition of joining the world’s top 30 economies.
We are determined to reach this goal in the first half of the 21st century.
Our Strategy – 2050 envisions a wide-ranging dialogue and mutual cooperation with all countries interested in friendship with Kazakhstan, particularly in the fields of investment, technology, innovation and expertise, and in growing the exports of Kazakhstan.
I encourage foreign entrepreneurs to actively invest in Kazakhstan, to establish production facilities, and build successful, mutually beneficial businesses, not only in the sector of natural resources and advanced processing, but also in infrastructure, agriculture and many more. Within the framework of its industrial policy, Kazakhstan will continue to provide all necessary conditions for businesses to gain profit for their own good and for the good of our country. We hope for understanding and support from your governments and seek a constructive relationship across these areas.
I would like to emphasize that the ambition to become one of the world’s top 30 most developed nations is a seminal goal for our people.
First, Kazakhstan wants to learn from the experience and practices of other leading nations.
In between 2000 – 2013, Kazakh people made around 61 million trips for business and tourism around the world.
Tens of thousands of our young citizens have been educated or continue education in developed countries.
This has inspired our nation and created a determination to raise the quality of life, education, health and social services, and professional employment in our country.
We are now committed to the principles and standards which govern development set out by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Second, we see the dynamic development of our economy as a firm guarantee of our independence in the 21st century.
This is the vision behind our national idea – an “Eternal Nation” with a blessed, unified and amiable multiethnic people.
Today, this idea unifies all Kazakhstan people, regardless of their ethnic and religious affinity.
The idea gives us drive and ambition and strengthens the faith of our people in great opportunities and a prosperous future.
Third, we see the next 15-17 years as a “window of opportunity” for the large-scale breakthrough of Kazakhstan.
Our experience and knowledge of strategic planning suggests there will be a relatively favorable geopolitical and geo-economic environment.
At the same time, we are under no illusions of the significant challenges facing the world and each country in this century.
That is why it is our responsibility to utilize and strengthen our regional competitive advantages, and turn them into a stimulus for our ongoing development.
Fourth, Kazakhstan sees itself maintaining an active and constructive role in the international community.
To be a top 30 economy, Kazakhstan must take an active role in all issues of regional and global development.
This idea lies at the heart of G-GLOBAL, which Kazakhstan initiated in 2012.
The concept proposed enlarging the global dialogue to create a new, more constructive multipolar world for the 21st century, based on five clear and unifying principles.
Such acknowledgement of Kazakhstan’s role is an important part of our national idea ‘Eternal Nation’.
Fifth, we have travelled a challenging but productive path of reform.
We have created a dynamic and promising new country.
Today, our country serves as an example for many developing markets, both in Eurasia and the wider world.
Even in the most challenging times of the global financial crisis, our economy managed to maintain a positive trajectory.
Last year, our country was ranked 50th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. The World Bank’s Doing Business Index ranked us at 49.
The figures for 2013 showed Kazakhstan’s GDP reached six per cent, while unemployment was around five per cent. The gross international reserves of the country reached about US$ 100 billion.
In Kazakhstan, there are clear modernization goals that have been set and are being implemented.
This is, first and foremost, the accelerated industrialization of the economy. As part of the corresponding state program, 780 new enterprises have been established and 160,000 new workplaces have been created within four years.
In total, the program will provide for creation of 950 enterprises with 250,000 new workplaces valued at US$ 70 billion in total. The plan is being effectively implemented; it is supplied with required finance and resources. As an outcome, Kazakhstan will produce more than 250 new types of products.
Today Kazakhstan’s produce is exported to 111 countries.
We have launched hundreds of new facilities as part of our annual initiatives to improve electrical power, energy-saving and green technologies.
Kazakhstan became the first country in the CIS to adopt a strategy to develop a green economy!
Innovation clusters with advanced refining, manufacturing, electronic, chemical, agriculture, automobile and aircraft industries – among many others – have been established.
Kazakhstan today possesses the most powerful economic potential in Central Asia. It exceeds twofold the economies of our regional neighbors combined.
We are revitalizing the Silk Road.
By 2015, Kazakhstan’s section of the “Western Europe – Western China” transit corridor will be completed.
And over the last few years, we have worked with our neighbors to construct new railways, greatly improving access to China and South-East Asia, Iran and the countries of the Persian Gulf.
Rapid changes have occurred in our education, transforming Kazakhstan into one of the centers of learning in Eurasia.
In healthcare, cardiac and other organ transplantations, stem cell research and treatment are now a reality in Kazakhstan’s modern medical sector. Kazakhstan joined the group of 20 countries that are able to provide this kind of medical treatment.
All of this demonstrates our commitment and progress towards joining the group of leading nations.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Our concept of becoming one of the 30 most developed countries is grounded in the delivery of specific tasks.
First of all, the industrialization process will be adjusted and strengthened.
We will plan our industrial development in five-year periods.
By the end of each five-year plan, new knowledge-based industries will be created – electronics, laser technology, communications and medical equipment, genetic engineering, the search for and discovery of new energy sources and others.
We also plan to encourage more innovation in traditional extracting sectors and, most importantly, oil and gas, mining and agriculture.
I have set a task to enter the world markets in the field of exploration.
Secondly, in the agricultural sector we plan to improve labor productivity.
Our goal is to turn Kazakhstan into a strong and reliable regional center for the export of food, including meat and dairy products, grain, flour and pastry products.
Advanced agro-innovation clusters will be created.
Thirdly, as part of our drive towards a knowledge-based economy, we will increase science funding to the level of 3 percent of GDP.
We will create most favorable conditions to attract foreign investment, which will help bring new technologies and innovations.
I encourage your businesses and leading multinational companies to build factories and develop the service sector in our country. Further development of infrastructure and streamlining of the tax regime – these are the goals we will consistently work on.
Fourth, our plans for the dynamic development of national infrastructure involve a number of important tasks.
We are planning to create large agglomerations in Astana, Almaty, and then Shymkent and Aktobe.
They will become urban centers of economic, social and cultural growth.
The modernization and construction of our highways will continue, both at national and international level.
Kazakhstan is also interested in building logistics centers in those countries that will ensure our products’ access to global markets.
We will develop the energy sector with the creation of a fully-fledged nuclear power industry. Our traditional energy sector is based on our coal, oil and gas reserves.
In terms of nuclear energy, Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of uranium ore, it processes partial enrichment and currently considers implementing a full cycle of nuclear fuel production. In the future, we plan constructing a nuclear power plant.
We are also planning to build a new oil refinery.
These all present good opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation with your countries.
We will also be hosting a global event – EXPO 2017 international exhibition in Astana.
I invite all interested countries to participate in the construction and organization of the national pavilions and the event’s other facilities.
Fifth, the development of small and medium-sized businesses will be a key element.
Their share of the national economy must reach 50 percent.
Sixth, the development of our human capital is also an important priority.
Our plan is to establish a unique advanced education system that will be able to compete at a regional level.
We have also identified measures to develop our national healthcare system and increase the life expectancy of our citizens.
For the first time, we have put forward a broad range of actions to improve conditions for people with disabilities.
State benefits for people with disabilities will be increased by a quarter.
We will also develop a program to encourage employment and greater social inclusion, in which all recipients of state aid will be involved.
We are planning to develop a long-term concept for our cultural policy and expand international awareness of our cultural heritage.
Seventh, we are introducing a number of measures to create an environment of fair competition, justice and rule of law.
Reforms of our judicial system will continue.
I have also initiated the development of a new anti-corruption strategy and public authorities are committed to working with the non-government sector.
We will proceed with our administrative reforms with the aim of increasing the power of local authorities and strengthening their accountability to the public.
Those are our goals in brief.
In line with the long-term objectives of Strategy-2050 and based on the principle of openness and transparency, we have adopted a new Concept for the Foreign Policy of Kazakhstan until 2020.
It takes into account global trends and is aimed at ensuring effective cooperation with our partners around the world.
We see some positive shifts in the global economic situation.
The majority of assessments forecast stronger growth.
However, my political experience points to at least two important considerations.
First, one should never forget the cyclical nature of the global economy.
After this period of growth, we could once again witness a decline. It has happened many times before, both in this century and the last.
And the world must be prepared for any changes in the global economy and, consequently, in global politics.
Second, in times of growth, security issues are increasingly important.
Unresolved social problems in countries of both the Old and New Worlds still threaten to escalate into internal conflicts.
See for yourself. Whatever the experts are saying about what is currently happening in Ukraine, the root causes of the deteriorating situation lie in social issues.
We are also facing some bleak forecasts related to certain regional economies.
The geopolitical situation remains difficult.
When it comes to Central Asia, its regional security challenges are related to the fact that the nature of political settlement in Afghanistan is not irreversible yet.
This year will be crucial for Afghanistan – the next presidential election will be held, and the coalition forces will be withdrawn.
International troops have played a historic role in the stabilization of not only Afghanistan, but also throughout Central Asia.
For this, we greatly appreciate the contribution of the United States, Germany, United Kingdom and many other countries.
I believe a period of economic renaissance has begun for Afghanistan. I think we all are interested in a peaceful, stable and developing Afghanistan, and we are ready to continue working with the global community to stabilize the situation in the country. Kazakhstan will actively participate in the process. This will help maintain stability in the region.
Kazakhstan welcomes the start of the Geneva talks on a political settlement for Syria and hopes for their success.
Our country hosted two rounds of multilateral negotiations in Almaty on the settlement of the Iran nuclear program.
That was our contribution to the «Geneva breakthrough», which we definitely welcome and support.
My participation in the inauguration of the new Iranian President and the negotiations held there were also aimed at contributing to peaceful solution of the problem.
Kazakhstan has voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons and gained international recognition, thereby becoming a positive example and a sort of a “beacon” for such countries as Iran.
These negotiations between P5+1 and Iran have been an important experience as we work with the United Nations on turning Almaty into a UN Regional hub. We will continue these efforts.
It is essential that all geopolitical centers understand that security requires significantly more resources in the ХХI century.
Here we are talking about financing, human resources, and new response mechanisms, including those on a collective international basis.
This tremendously reinforces the relevance of Kazakhstan’s initiative to adopt a Global anti-crisis strategy.
We remain faithful to our underlying foreign policy principles of pragmatism, consistency and balance.
We continue to expand our country’s involvement in international affairs.
In recent years, Kazakhstan has increased its cooperation with other countries and in multilateral format.
Last year alone, the leaders of Russia, China, the European Commission, the UK, Indonesia, Spain, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Finland and Latvia visited our country.
One of the areas of collaboration with the Caspian states is around defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Kazakhstan has hosted the World anti-crisis conference, which was supported by the United Nations and held as part of the Astana Economic Forum.
An important task is also the development of friendship and cooperation with the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, the neighboring states of Central Asia, the United States, and the European Union.
In 2013, Kazakhstan has also expanded its cooperation with countries of the Western Hemisphere, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Kazakhstan embassies have been established in Vietnam and South Africa.
This year embassies will be opened in Ethiopia, Mexico and Kuwait.
Kazakhstan has intensified its engagement in multilateral efforts to strengthen global peace and security.
Upon the approval of our Parliament, 20 Kazakh military observers are to be sent to UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti, Western Sahara, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.
Kazakhstan has always been at the forefront of global efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
Here, our position remains unchanged: we stand for a nuclear-weapon-free world!
Kazakhstan will take part in the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
As you know, Kazakhstan officially launched its election campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2017-2018.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you and your governments for your support.
For us, as a state in the center of Eurasia, our engagement in integration processes is vital.
This year marks twenty years since I initially proposed the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union.
This year, symbolically, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus are expected to sign an agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union.
Several other states have also expressed interest in joining this process.
The Eurasian Economic Union is a common market. It will be a fundamentally new relationship for the 21st century, working on the principles of equality, mutual benefits and the interests of all participants.
It is estimated that through the Customs Union, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus will achieve additional GDP growth of 25 percent, or more than 600 hundred billion dollars, by 2030.
Participants of the Eurasian Economic Union will not be shut off from the world, and will continue to actively cooperate with all partners.
We support the proposal of the Russian President regarding the future establishment of a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union.
We hear various expert opinions on the Eurasian Economic Union. I believe everyone should understand that it is not a political organization. Today, it is purely about economic cooperation, which is determined by the needs of our countries.
I strongly believe that it is an absolute must to shift from criticism and distrust to examining the Union in detail in order to understand its essence, as well as to looking for ways of developing cooperation.
Kazakhstan believes that regional integration is critical to the successful development of the entire Central Asia.
Our country also attaches great importance to the cultural and humanitarian dimensions of foreign policy. This includes our cooperation in official development assistance.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Diplomacy has always been and remains a highly patriotic art.
I extend my great appreciation to all ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations for your dedicated and noble mission in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
For our part, we will try to provide you with a comfortable environment for your work, life and leisure. We will adopt the experience of other countries for the benefit of our further growth in economy, politics and other areas.
I wish every success in your work, as well as happiness and prosperity to your families!