Regional Integration Seen as Economic Priority

BAKU – Kazakhstan’s first deputy prime minister and minister for regional development Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, attended the World Economic Forum Strategic Dialogue on the Future of the South Caucasus and Central Asia on April 7-8 to discuss the future of the region with the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, as well as 300 senior government and business leaders from Europe, the South Caucasus, Central Asia and China.

“Kazakhstan is going to become one of the 30 most developed countries by 2050. Our country has begun work on the modernisation and transformation of the economy of Kazakhstan to the standards of international best practices,” Sagintayev told the forum.

As noted at the opening session by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, which is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, “No country in the region can achieve its full potential alone. Countries can best take advantage of their natural resources, human potential, geographic position and innovative spirit by working together. Our goal is to work with a broad set of stakeholders across the region to think creatively about the prospects for regional integration.”

In his speech in Baku, Sagintayev outlined the main prospective directions for Kazakhstan’s cooperation with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus: the development of transport infrastructure and the agriculture, trade and energy sectors.

The main themes at the forum were focused on opportunities and challenges within broad topics such as “energy and natural resources,” “entrepreneurship and human capital” and “finance and long-term investing.” Many of the same themes are touched on in President Nazarbayev’s strategy Kazakhstan 2050.

Noting the importance and relevance of the problems discussed in Baku for the Central Asian region, Sagintayev invited participants of the forum to the World Anti-Crisis conference under the UN auspices, which will be held in Astana in May of this year within the framework of the Sixth Astana Economic Forum.

During his visit to Azerbaijan, Sagintayev met President Ilham Aliyev, as well as Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius of Lithuania and Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz. The official delegation met briefly with Global Shapers Community representatives from Astana. The Global Shapers Community is one of several multi-stakeholder communities at the World Economic Forum.

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