AEF Seeks Int’l Economic Solutions

ASTANA – The Sixth Astana Economic Forum (AEF), which began May 22 in Astana, has become a unique platform for international dialogue on pressing modern issues facing the world. Experts in various sectors come to the forum to share their knowledge and hear the opinions of others on recent world developments.

This year’s forum started with panel discussions concerning the transition to a green civilization, the role of institutional investors in promoting green growth and sustainable development, sustainable development of tourism and the development of infrastructure.

The press conference “Will Future Energy Fundamentally Change Our Lives,” organized by the National Company Astana EXPO2017 was also a part of the discussion on green energy. The main questions of the conference included the challenges and opportunities arising from a transition towards a sustainable energy future, the availability of infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution, environmental aspects of renewable energy sources, particularly green energy’s potential effects on society and the transition towards a green economy.

Other discussions at this year’s forum included a session on creating integrated solutions to global unemployment. The purpose of the session was to exchange international experiences on the issue and to formulate solutions. At the session, it was noted that the global economic crisis has shown that the underestimation of the problem of unemployment can lead to an increase in social unrest, both in individual countries and in countries linked by trade and investment agreements. “The main threat to global stability is an increase of unemployment,” Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said during an address to the nation earlier this year. Among its numerous programmes to increase employment, Kazakhstan has also approved a comprehensive plan to promote employment of persons older than 50 (50 + Initiative), which will be implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The programme aims to provide more employment opportunities for older people and includes continuing education, vocational training and retraining and job quotas for persons over 55 years of age.

This year, the AEF is also expanding its scope by hosting a two-day World Anti-Crisis Conference (WAC) dedicated to the creation of a global plan for avoiding and reducing the strain of present and future financial crises worldwide. The event, fully supported by the UN, is jointly organized by the Government of Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists, and divided into six panel sessions and roundtable discussions. The topics of the WAC include the political and economic dimensions of Eurozone unemployment, monetary policy and global financial stability, global-to-local transitioning of capital markets, G20 adjustments to the new global economy and growth restoration in a fragmented and divergent global economy.

The plenary session of the AEF and the WAC on May 23 were attended by President Nazarbayev. The conference, which gathered about eight thousand participants from all over the world, was organized on the initiative of the president and is designed to elaborate the World Anti-Crisis plan for the UN based on democratic principles and encompassing the interests of all countries and to seek solutions to avoid and mitigate the effects of future financial crises.

The focus of another press conference “Entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Opportunities” organized by the Damu Fund on May 23examined the role of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Kazakhstan and barriers faced by SMEs within an international context. It allowed for the exchange of international experiences and discussions of optimal solutions to stimulate the growth of innovative SMEs in Kazakhstan and elsewhere.

The signing ceremonies for more than 40 memoranda and agreements are also to take place during the AEF. State agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan, national holdings and funds are expected to sign memoranda of understanding, agreements on cooperation with international associations and foreign companies from Poland, China, Austria, France and the U.S., including agreements related to the field of innovation and technology. According to the preliminary information, the agreements are estimated to involve projects totaling $400 million.

The so-called dialogue of leaders taking place on May 24 will close the AEF and the WAC, during which leaders of countries, financial structures, international organizations and Nobel laureates will summarize the AEF and WAC activities.

Organizers of the Astana Economic Forum and the World Anti-Crisis Conference include the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists, 14 ministries of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Samruk Kazyna National Welfare Fund, the UN, the World Economic Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, the Madrid Club, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and others.