ASTANA – On May 2-5, Astana will host the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Tair Kuanyshev, senior expert of the Astana-based Economic Research Institute, spoke with The Astana Times about the importance of this event for Kazakhstan.
Why does this meeting attract so much attention?
The ADB Board of Governors meetings always attract a lot of attention. Since the ADB is one of the largest international financial institutions, its ongoing investment policy, new directions and programmes are always of particular interest for the whole world. The upcoming 47th meeting is of particular interest for Kazakhstan. It is the first time a governor from Kazakhstan – Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dossayev – will chair the annual ADB meeting. It is a great honour for us, and, of course, a big responsibility.
For Kazakhstan, it is a chance to show the level of readiness to conduct such events [and] willingness to cooperate with foreign countries. There are also new opportunities to attract new investors, as the meeting will bring together not only ADB representatives, but also other financial institutions and major companies such as Toyota, Samsung, Microsoft, JP Morgan and many others. Some of them are already present in our country, but I am confident that upon the results of this meeting, Kazakhstan will find new partners.
Chairmanship of the ADB meeting is a special degree of trust. Does this mean that the international community recognises the new economic power of developing countries?
Today, all experts agree that the Asia-Pacific region is growing much faster than Europe and the U.S. Our markets are becoming more attractive for foreign investors who see that we are reliable and promising partners. Even the subject of the upcoming meeting, “New Silk Road: Connecting Asia with Europe in a Changing World,” demonstrates the growing interest. This issue is very relevant as ever for our country, which is located on the historical Silk Road. One of the projects the ADB was financing, the Western Europe-Western China highway, runs through Kazakhstan, through our southern regions, and enables the development of transport routes [and] opens up opportunities for large markets not only in Europe but in Asia as well.
As part of the upcoming event, the meeting participants will discuss prospects for further multilateral cooperation of countries in the region, the possibility of regional integration, issues of economic partnership and the creation of prerequisites to further expand and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries of the Asian region. This is the best evidence that the world’s attitude toward the region is changing. Young countries, for a long time a kind of dark horse and a source of raw materials, are becoming competent participants in the global economy, reliable partners for investors and, I think, even an example of successful development during the crisis, because right now while major economies are experiencing serious difficulties, the region’s economy shows very steady growth. Therefore, I am confident that we stand not only as beneficiaries, but also as full partners, and can share our experience of successful economic development.
Conducting a meeting at such a level will influence the cooperation between Kazakhstan and the ADB. What are the prospects for such cooperation?
Kazakhstan has long been a reliable ADB partner. Today, the country has formed a solid and reliable basis for cooperation with the bank, which makes a significant contribution to supporting economic reforms and implementing structural reforms in the country.
If you look at the history of our cooperation, it has been 10 years of successful activities aimed at the support of Kazakhstan’s integration into the global space. Our portfolio of relationships includes 66 projects with a total value of $29.5 million. At the same time, strategically important investment projects and programmes are being implemented, such as the support and development of the Programme of Small and Medium-Sized Business Development, the construction of the Western Europe-Western China highway, institutional support for rural water supply systems, restructuring of the agricultural sector, assistance to strengthening the effectiveness of governmental programmes and many others.
The ADB meeting in Kazakhstan and our chairmanship of the board of governors are a logical continuation of the successful cooperation between Kazakhstan and the ADB and will provide a solid basis for further expansion of cooperation in the future.