Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev reiterates his position that the Coronavirus epidemic is a blessing in disguise, that should create a new powerful impetus to push forward development of the country’s economy and to increase the well-being of citizens. All new state programs are built around this goal. The Nurly Zhol, Business Roadmap-2025, Enbek, State Program for Industrial and Innovative Development (GPIIR-2025), Economics of Simple things, Employment Roadmap and others are now top priorities.The President’s plan is clear: during this time of crisis, he calls on compatriots to unite and jointly implement the strategic plans to the best of their abilities in the name of the future prosperity of Kazakhstan.
All Roads to Europe Lead Through Kazakhstan
According to Tokayev, one of the key drivers of the national economy should be the Nurly Zhol (Path to the Future) infrastructure development program. Top priority must be given to the construction and reconstruction of roads, especially revenue-generating toll roads. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan is located on the legendary silk trade routes between East and West and called for more efficient use of this strategic advantage of the state – after all, all roads to Europe go through Kazakhstan. Simply put, the goal of this state program is to bring the country’s automobile, railway, water and aviation communications up to a completely new level, to make it comfortable and accessible for the population and to to increase mobility and labor productivity.
“This is a strategic project designed to modernize the entire transport infrastructure grid,” the head of the republic said in a message to the people of Kazakhstan.
A Nation Does Not Live on Roads Alone
Kazakhstan cannot live on roads alone. Due to the quarantine lockdown, the republic’s aviation industry has incurred considerable losses (according to experts’ forecasts, losses in the industry may amount to about $709 million by the end of the year), with the government doing what it can to prop up the failing industry. A new international airport in Turkestan and a new passenger terminal in Shymkent was scheduled to be launched this year and the reconstruction of the runways of the airport in Urjar are to begin soon. If funds are found, two more runways in Ust-Kamenogorsk and Usharal will be built as well. 13 more airfields are planned for five regions in Kazakhstan with plans to increase the fleet of aircraft to 64.
The government of Kazakhstan plans to invest heavily in the development of railway and water communication as well. The railways and the ferries and the dry cargo vessels will be expanded – with the Kazakh fleet in the Caspian Sea expected to increase by 35 percent within five years.
The construction of modern highways and the modernization of the transportation infrastructure will contribute to the growth of GDP and more importantly, to the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. This is an investment into the prosperity of the republic, and by extension, the well-being and quality of life of every Kazakh resident.