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President Nazarbayev opens Astana EXPO-2017 World Fair, and other news from Kazakhstan

12 Jun 2017 11:49 AM | Anonymous


President Nazarbayev opens Astana EXPO-2017 World Fair, 9 June 2017

Speaking at the ceremony, the Head of the State congratulated everyone on the opening of EXPO-2017 international specialized exhibition in Astana.


The President of Kazakhstan has noted that Kazakhstan is the first CIS and Eastern European country to hold an exhibition of EXPO with participation of 115 states and 22 international organizations. "I would like to express my gratitude to all countries for accepting our application and the proposed theme. The exhibition on this scale is not only the efforts of one state; it is the work of the international community, representing its achievements here. The international exhibition of EXPO in Astana is a new peak in the promotion of our country and national brand "Kazakhstan" in the global space. Declaring theme "Future Energy", we intend to be in the very core of scientific progress", Nursultan Nazarbayev said. The Head of the State underlined that for a century and a half since the first world exhibition in London, humanity had experienced tremendous technological changes, and today it is on the threshold of new discoveries in the field of effective and safe energy. The President of Kazakhstan expressed his confidence that EXPO-2017 will make its unique contribution to this global process.

"Planned activities with participation of masterminds of modern times will specify new ways of human development. Millions of Kazakhstanis and hundreds of thousands of guests from all corners of the world will get acquainted with the outstanding achievements of world scientific and engineering thought. The EXPO program includes 6 thousand different events. They will promote the development of mutual understanding between countries, productive interaction between science, business and society, as well as acquaintance with Kazakhstan’s culture. We also invite to visit other parts of our country to get acquainted with the unique nature and historical heritage", Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

The Head of the State paid special attention to the urgency of EXPO-2017 theme for our country, underscoring the importance of environmentally balanced and sustainable development of the world as well. "Kazakhstan, despite its huge hydrocarbon reserves, will actively switch to renewable energy sources. This goal is set in our Strategy-2050 and the Concept of changing for a "green economy". By 2050, Kazakhstan can produce half of the total electricity through renewable sources. At the same time, the economy’s energy intensity will be reduced", the President of Kazakhstan said.

In addition, Nursultan Nazarbayev spoke about the designation of objects and international pavilions of Astana EXPO-2017 exhibition complex. "Attention of all visitors will be presented to the main object - "Nur Alem" Sphere, personifying the planet. Each level is devoted to a certain type of energy. Our National Pavilion is at the base of the sphere. It includes the Zone of Acquaintance with Kazakhstan and the Zone of Creative Energy, where the best projects of Kazakhstan’s scientists are displayed. At the Expo there are over 130 expositions of countries and international organizations. In two thematic pavilions, the evolution of energy, its problems in the 21st century and technological breakthroughs in this sphere will be shown", the Head of State said.

The President of Kazakhstan dwelled on the exhibition’s business program, within the framework of which a number of major international events are scheduled, such as the Astana Economic Forum, the Council of Foreign Investors and the Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The Head of the State expressed his confidence that the exhibition would give a new significant impetus to international cooperation and contribute to the development of science and modernization of the country's economy.

Nursultan Nazarbayev also spoke about the further use of EXPO-2017 infrastructure after the completion of its work. "The International Financial Center Astana will launch its activities here. The International Center for Development of Green Technologies and Investments will be established. The International Technology Park of IT start-ups will open. Thus, the EXPO’s "pulse of innovation" will keep on beating for the benefit of the country, the region and the world", the President of Kazakhstan said.

At the end of the speech, the Head of the State expressed his gratitude to all the participants in the process of preparing the EXPO-2017, and also thanked all citizens of Kazakhstan for their sincere support and assistance in implementing the idea of the exhibition. "I express special gratitude to our high guests - the heads of state and government, who found an opportunity to personally attend the opening ceremony of EXPO-2017 in Astana, Nursultan Nazarbayev concluded.

With World Expo 2017, Kazakhstan Takes Another Step Onto the Global Stage, 09.06.2017

This weekend's launch of Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan is this former Soviet state’s big moment. Kazakhstan is cementing its role on the world stage and out of Russia's shadow. "Due to their presence in the global market, they are certainly the most-followed country within the ‘Stans’ region," says Dmitry Gladkov, global head of financing at Renaissance Capital, a Moscow-based investment bank.

For much of its modern day existence, Kazakhstan was a frontier of the Russian Empire, and then a Soviet republic, controlled from afar, with nothing going for it but a lot of land. With generally untapped natural resources and whole ethnic groups exiled there, Kazakhstan struggled to develop. Despite its impressive land mass, there are more people living in Shanghai than in all of KZ, as it is known abroad. Over the last decade, this mostly Muslim Central Asian nation has had some spotlights shone on it, but none quite like this one.

Within the former Soviet Central Asia, KZ is the "Best of Show" in terms of forward-thinking, investment friendly, emerging market economics. Their three-months long Expo 2017 (part of the World’s Fair system) gives the Kazakh government a chance to highlight its development-friendly agenda and the advances they've made since leaving Moscow's control. “Kazakhstan’s government is focusing its efforts on transforming the country into a knowledge-based diversified economy driven by the private sector,” says Baljeet Grewal, director for strategy and portfolio investments at Samruk Kazyna, the country’s $67.4 billion sovereign wealth fund. “We hope the Expo will be a turning point for Kazakhstan, which will allow the country to push for the development of the IT, renewable energy and tourism industries."

Some 115 countries and representatives from companies worldwide will be in attendance, including the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China, which considers Kazakhstan an important cornerstone of Beijing’s new Silk Road. Roughly three million visitors are expected, for the equivalent of one million per month in Astana, KZ’s capital and home to the exposition. Astana's population is around one million. "The 'future energy' theme could very easily fall into the category of natural resources and oil in the traditional sense, but the way we are talking about this here from a U.S. point-of-view is that you need to rely more on ingenuity and innovation rather than natural resources and Kazakhstan is really open to that," says Dr. Joshua Walker, CEO of USA Pavillion, the non-profit based in Washington DC that was created to build the Epcot-like American exposition at Astana. Walker was a former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry in the U.S. State Department. "For the U.S., KZ is the most important country in Central Asia, bar none," he says, after listing the firm's sponsors, mostly energy giants like AES, ExxonMobil and Chevron. "These expos are a great place for a country to tell their story. It's all about raising the host country's profile and right now, on the cusp of this event, the city is frenetic. Lots of energy right here, right now," he says during a phone interview from Astana.

Kazakhstan jumps 15 spots on IMD World Competitiveness ranking

Astana Times, 7 June 2017

Kazakhstan climbed from 47th to 32th place in the IMD World Competitiveness ranking, evaluating business efficiency, public finance and domestic economy. The new ranking shows Kazakhstan surpassing states such as Spain, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. “Kazakhstan has demonstrated the greatest progress on public finances and domestic economy indicators. The public finances indicator jumped from 51st place to 4th, the domestic economy improved from 51st to 40th place. The country also significantly increased in the business efficiency category in all positions,” said Alexander Zemlyanichenko, expert of RBK Russian media company. Kazakhstan improved its positions for the year, rising 15 spots with an index of 76 points out of 100. Thirty-second place also was achieved by Kazakhstan in 2014 as reported the IMD World Competitiveness ranking 2014 yearbook, according to

The World Competitiveness ranking evaluates 63 countries. This year Cyprus and Saudi Arabia were evaluated for the first time, according to the IMD Swiss business school’s annual research.

Hong Kong took first place in the ranking for the second year in a row. Switzerland and Singapore are in second and third place. The U.S. fell from third to fourth position, receiving the worst result in the last five years. The Netherlands rose in the latest ranking to fifth place from the eighth. The IMD World Competitiveness Centre has also published a separate report ranking countries’ digital competitiveness for the first time this year. Kazakhstan took 38th place, improving from 43th place last year. The new Digital Competitiveness Ranking introduces several new criteria to measure countries’ ability to adopt and explore digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society.

The World Competitiveness ranking determines how countries, regions and companies manage their competencies to achieve long-term growth, generate jobs and increase welfare. The ranking assesses competitiveness using 20 indicators, divided into four categories. There are economic indicators, infrastructure, government and business efficiency categories. The indexes consist of 323 variables, such as the contribution to world GDP, gasoline prices, tax rates and the state policy transparency.

The IMD World Competitiveness Centre has been a pioneer in the field of the competitiveness of nations and the World Economy Ranking. The IMD Centre has published the rankings every year since 1989.

Source: Embassy of Kazakhstan to Canada Weekly News Review, June 1-10, 2017, Issue No. 222