Kazakhstan unites Asia and Europe

May 23. Kazpravda

By Yekaterina SOROKINA

Kazakhstan unites Asia and EuropeA separate panel of the VII Astana Economic Forum was devoted to the theme “Eurasian transport system in the face of global competition.” This fact underlines the importance of transit and logistics for the economic success of Kazakhstan. Located between the main world markets, the country increases the capacity of its transport corridors, railways, the port of Aktau thereby speeding up the delivery of goods in transit towards Europe – Asia. The main role in coordinating logistics of Kazakhstan belongs to the company Kazakhstan Temir Joly and Transport Union KAZLOGISTICS.

The JSC NC Kazakhstan Temir Joly and the Union of Transport presented at the forum the opportunities for transit through Kazakhstan. During the panel session “Eurasian transport system in the face of global competition” the talk was on transport corridors of Kazakhstan.

– Taking into account trends of the global economy, we launched the project “Kazakhstan – New Silk Road”, which determines priority directions of transit potential, increases logistics competence, the formation of the national transport and logistics infrastructure and its global integration – said, speaking at the session, president of NC KTZ Askar Mamin. – We believe that the improvement of logistics climate in Kazakhstan is one of the basic conditions of Kazakhstan’s joining the 30 most developed countries by 2050.

Kazakhstan is implementing a number of major infrastructure projects to increase its stability in a competitive transportation environment.

In 2012, the republic completed and opened the second border passage with China -Altynkol – Khorgos and the passing capacity of rail joints with China immediately increased to 50 million tons of cargo. Commissioning of the Turkmen- Iranian section Uzen – Gorgan last year raised the potential of the North – South corridor through attracting additional transit cargo from China and Europe to the Persian Gulf. The expected volume by 2020 is 15 million tons.

This year they will put into operation a new 988 km-railway Zhezkazgan – Beyneu which straightens the Trans-Caspian corridor TRACECA through the ports of Aktau and Baku to Turkey and the Balkans, and which integrates with the new branch of Akhalkalaki (Georgia) – Kars (Turkey) and tunnel Marmara through the Bosporus Strait. By 2020, the volume of traffic on the new line will reach 17 million tons.

Such companies as Hewlett-Packard and DHL have already appreciated the benefits of their goods’ transit by land and redirected a significant portion of their supplies to Kazakhstan.

The panel session was attended by all leading partners of the KTZ in the development of logistics: General Group’s leader of DP WORLD Mohammed Sharaf, associate partner for CIS, of Lufthansa Consulting Thomas Niehaus, Executive Director of JSC KTZ Express Darrel Hedevey, Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group Andrey Timofeev, head of transport and infrastructure department of the Eurasian Economic Commission Erjan Nurakhmetov, vice president of the Union of Transport of Russia Yevgeni Kazantsev and others.

The participants of the session highlighted the importance of construction of the Kazakh- Chinese logistics terminal in the seaport of Lianyungang in China for the development of transcontinental transportation in the East – West and relevance of integration within the EEC.

– In the conditions of globalization of the world economy, our common integration processes in the field of transport and infrastructure should become a key driver of economic growth of the countries – partners in the alliance – said Nurakhmetov.

The accent of transport service in Kazakhstan is steadily shifting towards combined carriages with the involvement of different types of transport, through terminals and hubs. And a single national logistics operator that provides the desired service is working on the basis of KTZ.


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Trade without barriers

May 23. Kazpravda


Topical issues of reducing the costs on movement of goods and services in trade, the impact of business environment and legal system on opportunities of international trade and the introduction of best trade practices in developing countries were discussed at the VII AEF panel session “Barriers to international trade: assistance to small and medium enterprises”, organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The ITC is the agency to promote the access of small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries to international markets. The access of SMEs to the international level through reducing the cost on movement of goods and services across borders is especially important for business community of landlocked countries, said moderator of the session, Executive Director of ITC Arancha González opening the event.

Speaking about the measures taken in this direction in Kazakhstan, Minister for Economic Integration Zhanar Aytzhanova noted the important role of SMEs in the national economy. This is evidenced by the following data. Today 800 thousand SMEs subjects in the form of individual entrepreneurs and partnerships are actively working in Kazakhstan, mainly in such areas as trade, services and agriculture. The number of actively involved population in this sector is 2.6 million people, the volume of goods and services in 2013 exceeded 9 trillion tenge.

The Minister noted the relevance of the studies carried out by the ITC and UN Economic Commission for Europe on the assessment of existing non-tariff measures in the subjects of business in the republic. The result of the study was to identify non-tariff regulations which are burden for Kazakhstan’s export and import of products. The problems were grouped in the following areas: first is streamlining of administrative and regulatory procedures, the second is the improvement of customs system and the third is the development of infrastructure.

The country has done much to address these urgent problems. In particular RK Government carried out systematic work to improve the licensing system.

Minister for Economic Integration recalled that the text of the agreement on trade facilitation was adopted during the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. This is the first multilateral agreement adopted from the foundation of the WTO in 1995. It will facilitate the movement, release and clearance of goods, improve cooperation between customs and other government agencies.

– Kazakhstan is a landlocked country, but nevertheless the republic contributes to the establishment of relations with other countries. An illustrative example of this work is the tax reform, – said in his speech UN Deputy Secretary General and High Representative of the UN Secretary General on least developed and landlocked developing countries, Gyan Chandra Acharya . – The Government plays a very important role in the promotion of SMEs, pursuing a consistent policy and providing investments and financial assistance to communications and transportation.


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Great opportunities in the changing world

May 23. Kazpravda


The panel session “South Caucasus and Central Asia: economic opportunities in a changing regional and global world”, organized by the World Economic Forum, discussed the possibilities of regional development as a result of changing global economy, the access to new markets of growth, the role of regional cooperation in diversification and integration in global economy and others.

The participants noted that the specifics of the region of Central Asia and the Caucasus are in the isolation within the continent and remoteness from world markets and the oceans. Enormous transport costs which are necessary to deliver goods to foreign markets are natural barriers to free trade turnover and competitiveness of the region’s economies.

In support of this thesis, Vice Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Timur Zhaksylykov cited data of the Doing Business Ranking, prepared by the World Bank, on such important indicator which shows the involvement of the country in the global division of labor, as international trade. This list is bottomed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The problem is not only in public administration associated with customs clearance, incompleteness of institutional reform of economies, but in the natural geographical remoteness from world markets, -said deputy head of MEBP. – This remoteness from world markets is only one part of the problem. The second part is the fact that the region itself is not a significant and broad market. The small market and vast territory hinder development with reliance on intra resources. For comparison, the population of five post-Soviet Central Asian republics is less than 70 million people, the area – 4 million square kilometers. And 500 million people with a completely different colossal market capacity live in the European Union on the comparable territory of 4.4 million square kilometers.

Nevertheless, the region has all chances for development in such conditions, says Zhaksylykov, because it has significant natural resources. Starting from the 2000s, when prices for natural resources were high, these countries received huge revenues from export flows. Unfortunately they did not properly use the opportunity to improve infrastructure and enhance human capital.

Along with limited access to markets, chief analyst on the country risks of the Import- Export Bank of China Zhao Changhuey sees other serious barriers. Thus, the countries of the region formed after the collapse of the former Soviet Union produce nearly identical products which are not big, because the trade flows are not complementary. Rapidly changing global economy also breaks the development. In this case all major investments and trade flows, concluded the speaker, will go in two directions – Europe and Asia.

The states of Central Asia and the Caucasus have no other choice than integration and modernization. These are key objectives for them, said managing director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Oliver Dekamps.

Kazakhstan will become an engine of reforms in the region, – he said. – And the success of other republics depends on the reforms on diversification and modernization in RK. Even, taking into account the fact that a large proportion of Kazakhstan’s GDP is formed by commodity sectors, now we see that you have a good change and new thinking, thinking of the XXI century.


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Concept of the World anticrisis plan approved in Astana

May 23. Kazpravda


Yesterday the II World Anti-Crisis conference held in the frames of the VII AEF and the 70th anniversary of the Bretton Woods agreements approved the concept of the World anticrisis plan.

Before approval of the concept, outlook for international cooperation in the multipolar world was discussed in a panel, whose moderator – Executive Director of the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee Marc Uzan proposed a number of topics for it: what the dominance of the Chinese economy in the world will lead to, how to deal with political instability in Europe, the influence of “Euro-skeptics” on the future of the Old World and others.

When speaking at the forum PM Karim Massimov cited some Asian viewpoints on the global development. – The world evolves in cycles. According to the Chinese, 2014 is already a new 30-year cycle that will be completely different from what we saw 30 years ago. We are now living in a completely new world, and some of the rules that were widely accepted in the global world in 2013, are no longer working in 2014, – he said.

– We must remember that the rules of the game have changed, and we should take practical solutions cautiously. In particular, you know that in a week the EEU Treaty will be signed here in Astana and Kazakhstan will be its member, but politically it remains independent. This year we are joining the WTO and seek to sign an agreement on further cooperation with the European Union, to further develop our relations with China. And we want to be part of the EEU concurrently. This is number one priority, – the Kazakh PM said.

– The second point, he went on, is that over the next decade, our strategic partner – Russia – will focus more on cooperation with the East rather than the West .

– Kazakhstan is situated between Russia and China. Therefore, we will see large traffic flows from Russia to China and from China to Russia, and we should take advantage of this geographical location. We need to capitalize on the geopolitical location and attract investment from around the world for more sustainability, the Prime Minister inferred.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, supporting the PM’s opinion, added that along with the changing world, the global governance institutions such as the UN, the UN Security Council must change too. They have to be more efficient and able to respond to major challenges.

The panel discussed the problem of reducing poverty , political instability in Ukraine , affecting the overall economic situation in Europe and other topics.

The upshot of the panel was the adopted concept for World anti-crisis plan for UN member-states.


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Development of healthcare system and human capital among priorities

May 23. Kazpravda


A panel session “Health and human capital’s development” was initiated by the Ministry of Health in the framework of the VII Astana Economic Forum. The agenda included the issues of organization of primary healthcare and e-healthcare.

The discussion platform brought together world experts, representatives of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and other organizations and medical workers. This year among the honored guests were Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry Varshel Arie (2013) and Kurt Wüthrich (2002).

The beginning of the XXI century was marked by serious and profound transformation of the entire architecture of international healthcare, – said in her welcoming speech Minister of Health Salidat Kairbekova. Its most important element is a close inter-sectoral cooperation and active participation of the population in health protection.

Speaking about the prospects of primary healthcare, the Minister recalled that the principles of the Almaty Declaration of WHO adopted 35 years ago formed the basis of health systems of many countries of the world, and its implementation gives billions of people a real opportunity to maintain their health and prolong life. The prospects of PHC are highly estimated today.

Another task of the system is to shift the center of gravity to the PHC, up to 80% of which is economically profitable.

Vice – Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania Gediminas Serniauskas, positively reviewed the achievements of Kazakh colleagues and repeatedly emphasized close relation of the health of the population in the country with its economic success.

The theme of human capital is invariably traced in the computerization of the system. As noted the minister, the central element of e-healthcare is the electronic passport of the citizen’s health. Both the doctor and the patient will be able to obtain from it information about state of health, notification of the need to visit the doctor, to pass screening and so on. According to the World Bank’s consultant Zlatan Sabic, Kazakhstan has a clear understanding of the development of e-health, and this project has good prospects.



UN’s part in the Astana economic forum

May 24. Kazpravda


The United Nations also contributed to the Astana economic forum and the II World Anti-Crisis Conference, addressing which, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the global economy is still recovering after the 2008 financial crisis , but the UN’s economic forecast is basically positive. Nevertheless, there are still many challenges to address. He is particularly concerned about the youth unemployment, urging the governments to take effective measures to create jobs.

The UN Secretary-General outlined three main interrelated priorities. The first one relates to the Millennium Development Goals, the second priority is to shape global agenda for post- 2015 development. The UN member-states generally believe that fighting poverty must be a top priority of the future agenda, whereas sustainable development should serve as a basis for it. The third priority focuses on the adoption of agreements in climate change. September 23 in New York, a summit on climate issues is planned.

In the context of current challenges and changes, the state leaders must work together for the benefit of all people on the Planet to leave a legacy of progress to future generations, Ban Ki-moon concluded .

The President of the UN Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC) Martin Sajdik continued the talk on the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ), fight against poverty , providing the population with food and clean drinking water , medicine, more opportunities for women and praised Astana for development of multilateral relations and trust.

– We all want to see a more prosperous , more equal and more democratic world , but we cannot achieve this goal as long as one billion people live in squalid conditions, hoping for a better life for themselves or at least for their children. We cannot stop the conflicts or defeat extremism, when our young people are out of work, without hope and without education. We are unable to promote democracy and human rights, when poverty and lack of opportunities undermine the rule of law – the president of ECOSOC told the meeting. There are other pressing issues, economic including that have to be addressed.

Our goal is to bring the world to a more sustainable development so that we can overcome the various global challenges that we are facing, and as president of ECOSOC, he said, he supports G-Global idea.