It is important to consolidate our relationships in diversification – the Ambassador of Italy in Kazakhstan Stefano Ravagnan


It is important to consolidate our relationships in diversification - the Ambassador of Italy in Kazakhstan Stefano RavagnanItalian Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Stefano Ravagnan told about his first impressions of Kazakhstan, perspective ideas, and President’s Address to the Nation “Nurly Zhol – The Path to the Future” in an exclusive interview with Kazinform Agency.

– Mr. Ravagnan, as we know you have been appointed to Kazakhstan recently. Please share your first impression of our country with us.

– I arrived in the end of August. After 5 years at our Embassy in Moscow, I have a certain knowledge of the Russian language and of the political and economic dynamics in the CIS region which are quite useful to me. My first impressions are absolutely positive, and the first thing I noticed is the number of Italian businessmen, which have interest in this country or are already working in Kazakhstan. I started traveling around the country to visit places where our companies have investments like Atyrau and Almaty and plan to visit all the other regions soon.

Second element I really appreciate is the intensity and openness of the dialogue with the Kazakh authorities, both at the bilateral level and in the framework of events organized by the relevant administrations to inform foreign partners on projects and reforms. I am looking forward to having constant dialogue and fruitful cooperation with Kazakhstani authorities.

– How do you assess the Kazakh-Italian relationships?

– We enjoy very good relations since 1990s. Now it is important to consolidate this trend in diversification; not only in the oil & gas and energy sector, but in all different sectors of economic activity in Kazakhstan. I think there are many chances for this to happen. Our business community is very interested in EXPO-2017 that will be held in Astana and also in that perspective we’re going to reinforce our presence in the capital with a stronger trade office.

– Please tell us about the plans of Italian companies to participate in the EXPO-2017 event?

– Two weeks ago we had a big business delegation of our enterprises accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Economic Development. Mr.Calenda, and some of them were interested in EXPO-2017 “Renewable energy”. There are many requests from our companies that would like to learn about the content of EXPO-2017 and possibilities there. Italy also has the privilege of organizing EXPO 2015 in Milan which will be held from May to October and we can share our experience with Kazakhstan on issues such as logistics and communications, how to welcome millions of people, how to engage visitors outside of Expo halls, etc.

– What are the future plans of the Italian Embassy in Kazakhstan? What spheres in your opinion need your attention?

– Firstly, attention should be drawn to expanding our capacity in economic and trade promotion. So, we plan to reinforce the trade office in Astana in addition to the one we already have in Almaty. I think it will be possible within first quarter of next year. Secondly, exchange of cultures and education experiences. My intention is to concentrate resources on organizing few big events for promotion of Italian culture and popularization of Italian language in Kazakhstan. I have already started a series of meetings with rectors of universities, such as Nazarbayev and Gumilyov Universities in Astana and Kazakh Ablai Khan University in Almaty also with the goal to promote stronger links between Italian and Kazakhstani universities. At the same time we intend to promote a better knowledge of Kazakh culture in Italy, promoting some events as soon as possible. For example, I recently visited the National Museum of Kazakhstan and enjoyed an interesting exhibition which I’m sure would be of great interest for the Italian public.

– As you may know recently our President delivered his Address to the Nation “Nurly Zhol – The Path to the Future”. What are the most interesting ideas outlined in this address?

– President Nazarbayev’s plan of infrastructure development is of great interest and we’ll follow its implementation with attention. A vast country like Kazakhstan located at the centre of the Eurasia has a huge transit potential whose exploitation needs further investments in railways, roads, air and sea links. Italian enterprises have been working for many years in the road construction sector in Kazakhstan, for example on the “West China – West Europe” [international corridor]. We also realize the importance of air links and will consider making regular direct flights between Kazakhstan and Italy.