President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited on Dec. 4 South Kazakhstan and its capital Shymkent, which is Kazakhstan’s third most populous city and is expected to become a national economic and cultural centre.
“Along with the capital we need to develop other cities of the country. It is big cities where we can develop science, technology and culture. Therefore, Shymkent should become a centre where innovation and industry experts would live, a city of high culture. We’ve put in a lot of efforts to achieve these results. In five years, the economy of the South Kazakhstan region has doubled. More than 300 schools and 280 new health facilities have been built,” said Nazarbayev, underlining the need to develop large megacities to enhance Kazakhstan’s competitiveness in the international arena.
Initially built as a minor Silk Road stop, Shymkent today is a thriving trade centre that produces cement, cigarettes, phosphates and refines oil. It is a significant cultural centre as well as an important transport hub and major railroad junction on the Turkestan-Siberia Railway situated near the border with Uzbekistan.
President Nazarbayev stressed during his visit the transit importance of the South Kazakhstan region, one of the most densely populated and fastest growing regions in the country. He highlighted a number of infrastructure projects, including the Western Europe – Western China international transit corridor, which seeks to shorten delivery times from China to Europe from 45 days to 14 days and advance Kazakhstan’s transit potential.
He also noted the Beineu-Bozoi-Shymkent gas pipeline, the largest pipelineproject in the history of independent Kazakhstan. Similar projects in the framework of the new Nurly Zhol economic policy will give new impetus to the socio-economic development of the region and the country in general, Nazarbayev said during the visit. He also underlined Kazakhstan’s cooperation with neighbouring states, focusing on the opening of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, which allows Kazakhstan to export products to Gulf countries and provides access to the markets of India and other South Asian countries.
Examining the socio-economic development of the region, the head of state visited construction sites for the new Tau administrative and business centre, consisting of 12 facilities of cultural, social, economic, commercial and administrative purpose. He also visited the new Turkestan palace of celebrations, Rixos Khadisha Shymkent Hotel and Shanin Regional Kazakh Theatre.
President Nazarbayev emphasised that to progress as a country Kazakhstan should pay equal attention to developing the economy as well as the arts and culture, including the promotion of spiritual and moral values and patriotism.
Shymkent has also been developing its tourism sector and construction has begun on a historical and cultural area, which will include Nauruz Square and the Museum of Local Lore and Customs and Rituals.
The region has also become a part of the country’s efforts to implement alternative energy projects in accordance with Kazakhstan’s industrial and innovation policy and the country’s effort to transition to more efficient energy resources. The region is ready to initiate 21 new projects, including the second Water Resources Marketing project to introduce renewable energy sources as part of the country’s green economy programme. These projects will allow the region to reduce its dependency on supplies from other regions.