News Digest: Foreign Media on US Relations With Kazakhstan, EU Investments and More

ASTANA – The Astana Times has picked a selection of articles from global media outlets on news about Kazakhstan. This week’s foreign media digest covers the United States-Kazakhstan partnership, European Union’s (EU) investment prospects, creative economy, Nauryz celebration, and more.

Almaty. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Kazakhstan opens door to European investments in rare mineral extraction

Kazakhstan, a country immensely rich in natural resources, has opened its doors to European investments to leverage its geological potential fully, Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko told EFE Comunica on March 25.

“We are open to implementing investment projects with European partners, including those aimed at manufacturing end products,” Vassilenko said.

Vassilenko highlighted that “Kazakhstan’s geological conditions have all the prerequisites to expand the variety of critically important raw materials extraction.”

China’s exports to Central Asia are booming

Central Asia is becoming one of Eurasia’s main trade and transit hubs, with Kazakhstan in the forefront, reported Asia Times on March 27.

Sino-Central Asian trade turnover stood at $89.4 billion at the end of 2023, a 27% increase over the 2022 level of $70.2 billion, according to China’s Customs Agency.  Of that total, $61.4 billion represented Chinese exports to the region.

Trade between China and Kazakhstan alone clocked in at a whopping $41 billion – or 46% of China’s total trade turnover with all of Central Asia. That represents a 32% increase over its 2022 turnover at year’s end.

Unlocking soft power potential: Kazakhstan’s creative economy as a tool to global recognition

Modern Diplomacy released an article on March 26 reporting on the 2024 Brand Finance Global Soft Power Index with Kazakhstan ranking 80th, “demonstrating a significant level of soft power influence.”

“In contrast, other Central Asian countries ranked much lower in the same index. This trend indicates that Kazakhstan is emerging as a standout performer in the region due to its notable success in promoting its soft power presence,” the article reads.

The creative industry in the country, which includes film, television, music, design, visual arts, and fashion, plays a vital role in enriching the nation’s culture and promoting it globally. This sector is experiencing gradual yet consistent growth, positioning itself as a promising sector of the economy. According to the Minister of National Economy, the creative industries accounted for approximately 2.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023 which is much higher than any country in the region.

Astana’s Novruz celebration: Kazakhstan’s cultural heritage under international attention

Azernews published an article on March 23 about the grand ball held in the Astana Opera House to mark Nauryz in the Kazakh capital. 

“Hosted by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, the event drew representatives from various diplomatic missions. The foyer of Astana Opera, Central Asia’s largest theater, was transformed into a Kazakh aul [village in Kazakh], featuring yurts, traditional dishes, and entertainment. Organizers donned attire reminiscent of historical Kazakh figures,” the article notes.

Secretary Blinken’s meeting with Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Nurtleu

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu in Washington, D.C. to discuss shared interest in advancing the United States-Kazakhstan partnership, reported U.S. Department of State on March 26.

“Blinken and Nurtleu shared their perspectives on the bilateral economic partnership and noted their commitment to strengthening investment and diversifying Kazakhstan’s economy, including through the Global Methane Pledge and investment in critical minerals. Secretary Blinken underscored the importance of human rights, emphasizing the critical role a free media and vibrant civil society play in fostering an environment conducive to attracting business investment and economic growth,” the statement reads.

He also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment as a reliable partner to Kazakhstan’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

UK expedition uncovers Kazakhstan’s history in rare manuscripts

A cache of manuscripts and documents shedding light on the rich history of Kazakhstan has been unearthed in the United Kingdom, reported on March 19, citing the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Information. This find comes as a result of a research expedition carried out by representatives of the National Center for Manuscripts and Rare Books, supported by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During their expedition to prominent libraries, archives, and research centers across London, Oxford, and Manchester, specialists from Kazakhstan obtained copies of 15 manuscripts and approximately 500 archival documents, all of which are intricately linked to the narrative of Kazakhstan’s past.

Deepening Austrian-Kazakh relations: Focus on economic and political cooperation

Vienna International News released an article on March 18 about the working visit of Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu to Vienna.

“The visit marks an important milestone in the cooperation between the two countries, with a particular focus on the economy, politics, and security,” the article reads.

During his visit, Nurtleu met leading representatives of Austrian companies from various sectors, including construction, logistics, and mechanical engineering. The talks focused on ambitious projects such as the construction of a production facility for ceramic tiles and building materials in Astana by the Lasselsberger Group. This project plans to create over 200 jobs and aims to strengthen local production and reduce dependence on imports.

Terminal for Kazakh grain starts operating in Horgos special economic zone in China

The grain terminal, constructed in the Horgos Special Economic Zone, has commenced receiving grain from Kazakhstan in grain hopper railcars, reported railway transport news portal Railway Supply on March 18.

Currently, the terminal is capable of unloading two train compositions (6,000 tons of grain) per day.

World Bank supports economic reforms in Kazakhstan

The Times of Central Asia released an article on March 15 about a $600 million loan granted to Kazakhstan by the World Bank.

The loan will be used to implement the first phase of a series of reforms aimed at promoting sustainable growth in the country and support Kazakhstan’s transition to a more competitive, greener, and inclusive economy. As a carbon-intensive economy, Kazakhstan has ambitions to scale-up action on tackling climate change and reduce reliance on the extraction of natural resources.

Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan – crucial for success of Middle Corridor – Roman Vassilenko (Exclusive interview)

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are pivotal players in the success of the Middle Corridor, said Roman Vassilenko, Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in an exclusive interview with Trend on March 19.

“Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are pivotal players in the success of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor. In achieving the project’s success, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan hold indispensable roles. It is no coincidence that these two nations, along with Türkiye and Georgia, the core quartet of the Middle Corridor, have been cooperating closely in recent years to bolster this route. Notably, there have been several high-level meetings among the foreign and transport ministers of these four countries, both in Baku and Aktau. These meetings have yielded crucial roadmaps aimed at smoothing out any bottlenecks along the route,” he said.

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