Kazakh President Visits Singapore For First Time in Over 20 Years

ASTANA—President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev arrived in Singapore for a state visit on May 23, the Akorda press service reported. This was the first visit by a Kazakh President to Singapore in over twenty years.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Photo credit: Akorda

During his meeting with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Tokayev highlighted Singapore as a time-tested and reliable partner of Astana. Over 140 Singaporean companies and joint ventures are currently operating in Kazakhstan, with Singaporean investments in the Kazakh economy surpassing $1.7 billion. Despite the economic challenges and difficulties caused by the pandemic, the volume of mutual trade is expected to exceed $2 billion soon.

Tokayev stated that Kazakhstan stands ready to open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation, focusing on a trustful political dialogue and dynamic trade and investment ties. Shanmugaratnam praised the progressive development of interaction between the two countries.

The leaders elaborated on prospects for enhancing contacts in trade, economic, investment, cultural, and humanitarian spheres. Tokayev highlighted Kazakhstan’s interest in expanding its partnership with Singapore in key areas such as energy, critical raw material processing, infrastructure development, digital economy, fintech, agricultural technology, logistics, and communications.

The presidents agreed to promote mutually beneficial investment projects and strengthen the legal framework of bilateral relations. They also emphasized the need to intensify education and human capital development cooperation.

Reflecting on his experience as a diplomat in Singapore during the 1970s, Tokayev expressed his pleasure at returning as President.

In an interview with Silk Way TV Channel, Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Kazakhstan Zulkifli bin Baharudin described the visit as a unique example of Tokayev’s commitment to friendship, hoping it would elevate official relations to a new level based on mutual understanding and sustainable development.

Last year, bilateral trade turnover reached $1.6 billion, with exports at $1.5 billion and imports at $75 million, reported Kazinform, citing the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

Kazakhstan continues to work on the project to construct the integrated city of Alatau with the Singaporean company Surbana Jurong, aiming to create smart cities in the Almaty metropolis.

At a bilateral business forum last May, Kazakhstan and Singapore signed commercial documents worth $275 million, along with bilateral agreements and memoranda to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, logistics, and civil servant training.

In February, Tokayev signed a law ratifying an agreement on the promotion and mutual protection of investments between Kazakhstan and Singapore, fostering favorable conditions for investors in both countries.

The President’s visit program includes meetings with senior Singaporean officials and heads of major international companies and participation in the Kazakh-Singapore business forum.

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