President Explains Kazakhstan’s Specific Economic Challenges at Youth Forum

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed a youth forum on April 10, drawing attention to Kazakhstan’s achievements during its years of independence and the importance of strengthening the country to ensure further development, unity and well-being among its citizens.


In his speech at the youth forum, Nazarbayev also explained why Kazakhs do not live like citizens of Western Europe or the United Arab Emirates.

The President highlighted a number of specific factors dramatically affecting the domestic economy.

“You are the first generation living in conditions of the global world; therefore you need to clearly understand the circumstances of our growth and development. Some ask why we do not live like [they do] in Western Europe or in the United Arab Emirates or, for example, in America. Not everything is obvious. There are simple specific factors that fundamentally affect our economy and life. First of all, these are climate, long distances, landlockedness [and] historical and cultural heritage. In fact, all these years we are moving forward in spite of many objective challenges,” Nazarbayev said.

The President noted how important it is for the younger generation to know the history of the country and its traditions and values. He stressed that today, all Kazakhs are united by common values, such as creative labour, peace and harmony, unity of the people and pride in their homeland.


“The richest top 30 countries of the world that we aspire to join, or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, are situated in more favourable climates than Kazakhstan. Those are the countries of Western Europe, Australia, the U.S., Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and others,” he said.

“These places do not have really frosty winters like we do. These countries have access to the sea and ocean everywhere. Economic prosperity does not like the cold, preferring warm, temperate climates. These countries save many times more energy than we do. For example, to build a two-storey house in Astana is 10 times more expensive than to build it in Malaysia,” Nazarbayev noted.

The President said that the average annual temperature in Germany is 20 degrees Celsius, in Japan 16 C, in the U.S. 15 C, in Singapore 27 C and in Malaysia 28 C, whereas the average annual temperature in the most important cities of Kazakhstan, such as Astana in the Akmola region and cities like Pavlodar and others in northern Kazakhstan, is 2.5 C.

“We have an energy-intensive economy, because of the energy-intensive nature around us. Our entire industry, all of our cities, villages and districts, need to be heated for seven months of the year. In addition, people need to be paid corresponding salaries, so they can buy warm clothes, heat their houses and eat food richin calories,” Nazarbayev said.


As an example, Nazarbayev noted that in Canada, people from the southern regions who go to work in the less-populated north are considered heroes. If this comparison was be transferred to Kazakhstan, he quipped, there would be 17 million heroes living in the country. “We have to work harder, overcome more difficulties than others – for this reason, our lives are more interesting,” he concluded, drawing laughter from the assembled crowd.

More than 2,000 people from all regions of Kazakhstan attended the forum, including activists from Zhas Otan, the youth wing of the Nur Otan People’s Democratic Party, young deputies of maslikhats (local assemblies), entrepreneurs, scientists, famous athletes and leaders of the largest youth organisations.

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