ASTANA – A Kazakh delegation headed by EXPO 2017 Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev travelled to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore during the first half of April.
The most recent visit was a working trip to Indonesia, where Zhoshybayev met April 15-16 with the country’s Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Sudirman Said, expo commissioner Rida Mulyana and Information and Public Diplomacy Director General Esti Andayani, as well as leading entrepreneurs.
The commissioner apprised them on the progress and practical preparations for the upcoming exhibition and highlighted a wide range of opportunities in the field of renewable and alternative energy. Said noted Indonesia has potential benefits in hydro, solar, biomass and geothermal power and the Indonesian government aims to increase renewable energy capacity up to 25 percent by 2025.
The sides acknowledged a good dynamic of bilateral cooperation. Within the visit, the governmental parties and business people participated in an EXPO 2017-themed roundtable where they considered in detail the organisational and technical aspects of the exhibition .Indonesia subsequently signed a participation agreement, becoming the 44th state to be involved in the event.
The relevance of the expo was also noted in Australia April 11-14, where Zhoshybayev held several meetings with the leadership of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Environment, representatives of Parliament Legislative Council and Victoria Ministry of Trade Deputy Secretary Jay Meek, as well as representatives of the Canberra and Melbourne business and academic circles.
During talks with Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ric Wells, the sides discussed the current state and prospects of developing bilateral relations between the countries as well as issues related to simplifying the visa regime and opening an Australian Consulate General in Kazakhstan. Zhoshybayev expressed gratitude to the Australians for their support in the negotiating process for Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its bid to host next year’s expo. The Australian diplomat expressed confidence that Kazakhstan would hold the event at the highest level.
During the meeting at the Department of the Environment, Deputy Secretary Helen Gizes noted Australia has been developing its alternative energy sources in accordance with Energy Efficiency Act 2006, adding the government aims to reach 23 percent of renewable energy capacity by 2020. Solar panels were placed on the roofs of more than one million Australian houses last year.
In Melbourne, Zhoshybayev met with Meek and Parliament Legislative Council Presidents Bruce Atkinson and Telmo Languiller-Tornesi to discuss issues regarding participation of Victoria’s research centres and companies in the exhibition. The sides noted the involvement of Australian companies would facilitate strengthening cooperation between the countries and transitioning that cooperation to a new level. Meek stressed Victoria’s companies are ready to share their experience in green energy.
Zhoshybayev also visited Monash University, a leading institution in the region that unites scientific and research centres, colleges and learning communities involved in developing the region’s green economy. University scientists emphasised the relevance of the future energy topic and importance of the initiative by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to establish a centre to develop green technologies and investment projects based on EXPO 2017 and under UN auspices.
Australian National University and Kazakh Honorary Consul in Melbourne Andrew Ferneyhough organised a business conference on the theme “Kazakhstan and Australia: Opportunities for Cooperation within EXPO 2017.” Zhoshybayev spoke about potential chances for foreign entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan and noted prospects for expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation through the globally-known exhibition.
Following the conference, he signed a memorandum of cooperation with Swagman Tours, one of Australia’s leading travel agencies. The document will help promote Kazakhstan as an attractive tourist destination for Australians.
In early April, the Kazakh delegation was informed Singapore has been actively developing its green energy sector with$3.4 billion allocated from the country’s budget. The industry currently provides 18,000 jobs. The parties agreed EXPO 2017 will be an excellent platform for showcasing the best of Singapore’s development and green energy technologies.
Sharing tourism experiences, attracting the cooperation of Singapore tour operators and opening direct flights between the countries were discussed at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS). Following the meeting, the sides signed a memorandum of cooperation in tourism.
The Kazakh delegation’s working tour to APEC member countries began April 4 in Malaysia, where Zhoshybayev and Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and economic and scientific fields, including green technologies, and attracting Malaysian tourists to EXPO 2017, as well as active participation by local companies in the international specialised exhibition. Hamsa noted holding the exhibition in Kazakh the capital will stimulate attracting technologies and improve the scientific base and Kazakhstan’s image in the international arena.
Aroundtable was held with representatives of organisations including GreenTech Malaysia, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysia Investment Development Agency (MIDA), Petronas (Malaysia’s state oil and gas company) and Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA), .
The Malaysian side has strong experience in green technologies in implementing public-private partnership mechanisms and assessing project efficiency and their subsequent commercialisation.
Eighty-one countries and 14 international organisations have officially confirmed their participation in EXPO 2017.