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President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev participates in the V Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia

September 14, 2023

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

In his speech, President Tokayev expressed confidence that the summit will be highly significant and will play a major role in the future dynamics of multifaceted cooperation between the Central Asian states.

– Mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation is consistently expanding. Business-to-business contacts have intensified, and the number of joint ventures is growing. Large regional projects bring not only tangible mutual benefits, but also change the entire configuration of the Central Asian economy. Over the past five years, intra-regional trade turnover has increased by more than 80%, reaching 10.6 billion dollars, – the President said.

He emphasized that Central Asia is becoming a hub for new economic opportunities in trade, investment, business, science, and innovation.

– The next decade is likely to be a defining period for our region, and it is up to us to make the most of this historic opportunity. The priority is to fully leverage our economic opportunities and potential, – added the Kazakh leader.

According to President Tokayev, trade flows between Central Asian countries should be consistently increased.

– Our countries have the opportunity to increase mutual trade turnover to 15 billion dollars in the near future. To achieve this, it is important to remove existing barriers, reduce excessive protectionism, and establish transparent and stable trade conditions, – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

He believes that countries in the region can mutually benefit by substituting many types of imported products for each other. This applies particularly to products of agricultural and construction industries, chemical and textile industries.

– The priority is to increase exports by diversifying the range of traded goods. Kazakhstan could increase its exports to the countries of the region in 175 non-resource commodity categories, – the President said.

According to President Tokayev, the business community of the countries should be the main driving force behind expanding trade turnover.

– To establish direct ties between business entities, we propose to create a unified electronic database of commodity producers, for example, within the framework of the Central Asia Gateway portal, – he said.

In addition, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to develop an Action Plan for the development of industrial cooperation of Central Asian states, aimed at establishing a closed cycle of production of certain types of goods with the prospect of exporting them to third-country markets.

The President then discussed fully unlocking the transport and logistics potential of the countries of the region.

– The Trans-Caspian international transportation route plays a special role at this stage. In the medium term, the volume of transportation along this corridor could increase fivefold. We intend to systematically increase its throughput capacity by introducing digital solutions and modernizing infrastructure. We welcome the readiness of Central Asian countries to participate in projects to develop this corridor, – the Head of State said.

He also outlined Kazakhstan’s key projects in the transportation and logistics sector.

– We plan to establish a container hub at Aktau port with the involvement of the world's leading operators. It is vital for us to continue working together with our brotherly countries to further develop the transportation and logistics infrastructure in order to eliminate bottlenecks that impede intraregional trade. Kazakhstan aims to accelerate the implementation of several major projects that will contribute to the expansion of economic ties with its closest partners. These projects include the Dostyk-Moyinty, Bakhty-Ayagoz, Darbaza-Maktaaral railroads, as well as the Zhanaozen-Turkmenistan border highway. Overall, Kazakhstan intends to strengthen its position as a transit hub in Eurasia, – emphasized Tokayev.

He also prioritized the systematic expansion of digital solutions across Central Asia.

– Digital solutions in Kazakhstan are being actively implemented in all spheres of the economy. For example, the share of cashless transactions in our country has reached 82%, and over 90% of public services are now provided electronically. The export volume of the domestic IT industry grew fivefold last year alone. We intend to increase this to one billion dollars by 2026. Kazakhstan is committed to strengthening cooperation with its closest neighbors in this strategically important industry, – said the President.

President Tokayev emphasized the importance of ensuring the early entry into force of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation.

In addition, the President considers it necessary to further improve the five-sided format of interaction among the Central Asian countries.

– Kazakhstan supports Tajikistan's initiative to establish a Council of National Coordinators. We regard this decision as a first step toward institutionalizing the format. In the future, we could start discussing the establishment of the Secretariat of the Consultative Meetings, as well as the appointment of our special representatives, – said Tokayev.

The Kazakh leader also called on the meeting participants to present unified or closely aligned viewpoints in order to demonstrate solidarity and unity to the world community.

– Given the rapidly changing world order, improving the existing mechanisms of interaction between our countries in the field of security is vitally important, – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

To develop specific preventive measures, the President proposed to hold a Dialogue on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia in 2024 in Kazakhstan at the level of Security Council secretaries.

The President also focused in his speech on cultural and humanitarian cooperation, including the development of contacts between universities.

– Last year, branches of Kazakh universities were opened in the Kyrgyz Republic, and we are in the process of establishing joint faculties with higher education institutions in Tajikistan. We are also exploring reciprocal establishment of branches of leading universities between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The 2nd Forum of Rectors and the 1st Forum of Scientists of Central Asian countries held on the sidelines of our meeting in Dushanbe will help expand cooperation in this important sphere, – the Head of State said.

Moreover, Tokayev proposed to hold the 1st Forum of Historians of Central Asian States, as a platform for joint research and publication of various scientific works.

– We have a great opportunity to show the world the unique natural beauty and distinctive culture of our countries, jointly promoting the “Central Asia” tourism brand, – added the President.

Concluding his remarks, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev invited the leaders of the countries to the VI Consultative Meeting of Heads of Central Asian States in Kazakhstan.

The meeting was also attended by President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan, and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan was invited as an honorary guest.

The summit concluded with the signing of several documents:

1. Joint statement on the results of the Fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States;

2. Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on common directions of youth policy;

3. Agreement on strengthening land transport interconnectivity in Central Asia.

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The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan