Kazakhstan’s initiatives in world economy
The III Astana Economic Forum, dedicated to ensuring sustainable economic growth in the post-crisis period, was held in Kazakhstan on July 1-2.
The annual forum was first held in June 2008, when around 370 participants from 45 countries visited the Kazakh capital to discuss various aspects of the global economy: integration, competitiveness and macroeconomic regulation. To some extent, the idea of creating a platform for sharing ideas and experiences was brought about as a consequence of the global liquidity crisis in 2007.
As a pioneer of the global integration process among post-Soviet countries, Kazakhstan was the first country to experience the negative consequences of being deeply intertwined with the global economy. The most obvious response to this situation would be the adoption of policy of economic isolationism aimed at lowering dependence on unpredictable global markets. However, in this case the simplest solution was not the best one. Despite the possible risks, global integration allows for more rapid economic development and taking advantage of mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries. The young Central Asian state has experienced the positive impacts of integration, demonstrating impressive growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) in the pre-crisis years – an average of 26 percent from 2000 to 2007. Despite the existence of several Eurasian platforms for high-level discussions on global economic issues, there was still something lacking that could provide an opportunity for professional economists, financiers and politicians to share their views and experiences, as well as join efforts to find solutions to the most problematic issues.
Participants from 29 organizations
Filling the communication void, the forum brought together over 1,200 participants and representatives from 29 international organizations in 2009. Discussion of recommendations for furthering economic development under the conditions of the global crisis was put on the agenda. International economic gurus, such as Nobel laureate Robert Mundell and Edmund Phelps, showed their interest in the discussion. The event was covered by world-famous TV and print media outlets, such as the BBC, the Financial Times, and in the French media. This year’s forum brought together more than 2,000 representatives of political and business leaders from more than 50 countries, as well as leading scientists, public and media representatives. “Stars” from the world of economic theory were present, including Norwegian economist Finn E. Kydland who attended the forum for the second time.
The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, dedicated his opening ceremony speech to the problems of post-crisis development, integration and the global financial system.
The Kazakh president emphasized the importance of post-crisis development for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member states.
“Many states, participating in different forums, such as the G-8, G-20, [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] SCO, [Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia] CICA and the World Islamic Economic Forum, are actively discussing the issues of post-crisis development and have place them at the top of their agenda, whereas, specifically within the OSCE, crisis and anti-crisis measures have not been discussed even at the administrative level. I, therefore, propose the introduction of a new instrument which can conventionally be called the ‘Maastricht plus’,” said Nazarbayev. The president proposed to discuss the document at the OSCE summit, which is expected to be held in Astana at the end of this year. OSCE Secretary-General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, who also spoke at the first plenary session of the forum, supported the president’s initiative. The executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Jan Kubis, has also expressed his endorsement of the initiative and his hope that “the idea is raised and worked out.”
Nazarbayev also announced another Kazakh initiative – the integration of Eurasia. “Today I come forward with a new Kazakh initiative for a real and meaningful completion of the OSCE. I believe that this particular organization is able to implement the idea of full-scale Eurasian integration,” asserted the head of state. He also outlined seven ways through which integration can be achieved, including the development of fair trade, transport and communications infrastructure, alternative energy, human resources, promotion of mutual investment and integration of financial markets in Europe and Asia.
Nazarbayev proposed that the idea of a single global currency be at the top the agenda of the III Astana Economic Forum. “I continue to insist that the new global economy needs a new global currency. I think that this is still relevant. [When] speaking about the crisis we never raise the root of the problem – deficiency of the global currency, which is not being monitored,” explained Mr. Nazarbayev.
The need to influence the inevitable process of globalization poses new challenges and provides new opportunities for the international community. The positive results that can be achieved in overcoming economic crises and remaining open to the global economy is something that, as seen in the last forum, Kazakhstan could share with the international community.
*Dr. Giray Saynur Bozkurt is an instructor at
Sakarya University’s department of economics and administrative science and the deputy dean of the international relations department.
08 July 2010, Thursday