Tokayev: Kazakhstan strives to make considerable contribution to ensuring food security

Photo: Akorda press service

 Kazakh Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev attended the first Summit of the Heads of States members of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), Kazinform Agency cites Akorda. 

Addressing the Summit, the Kazakh Head of State expressed gratitude to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for the excellent holding of the Summit as well as welcomed the leaders of the Central Asian countries and honored guests of the event.

Kazakhstan, as the initiator of the creation of the UN Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia in 1997, notes with satisfaction that it has become an effective platform for expanding regional cooperation and integration into global economic processes. Our meeting today is very symbolic as it takes place in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Special Program. Last year, under the chairmanship of Kazakhstan, we strengthened cooperation in key areas of the Program and took important steps towards its practical implementation, said Tokayev.

According to the President, Kazakhstan highly appreciates the contribution made by Azerbaijan to the development of SPECA and strengthening cooperation between the regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

I am confident that the results of the meeting will expand the horizons of our multifaceted cooperation, based on the principles of openness, mutual respect and trust. In the context of geopolitical fragmentation and a rapidly changing global economic environment, the importance of the Special Program is only increasing. Based on common interests, let me present to you my vision of the further development of SPECA. The principles of sustainable development have become the basis of the national strategies and programs of our states. Today in Kazakhstan, 80% of the state budget is already synchronized with sustainable development goals. The primary goal of our government is to ensure universal access to quality education and healthcare. The new Social Code, which entered into force, has strengthened the protection of vulnerable categories of citizens, said the Kazakh President.

The leader of Kazakhstan noted that his country intends to continue implementing this Program to ensure an inclusive future in which all citizens can equally benefit from social, technological and economic progress.

The achievement of these goals will be facilitated by Kazakhstan's initiative to create the UN Regional Center for Sustainable Development for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty.

Our countries have great opportunities to expand trade and mutually beneficial cooperation. As of today, we enjoy the progressive growth of trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the SPECA member countries. Last year, the volume of mutual trade increased by a third and amounted to about $10 billion. I believe that in the foreseeable future we have every opportunity to double this figure. We are able to provide each other with a variety of goods at competitive prices, reducing imports from other countries.Kazakhstan is ready to increase the export of its products to SPECA countries across 175 non-commodity commodity items worth $2.3 billion. The creation of ‘green’ corridors and the removal of various barriers will give a significant impetus to our trade cooperation, including in industries such as construction, chemical and food industries. We are also ready to consider relevant proposals from our partners, the Head of State emphasized.

Kazakhstan strives to make a significant contribution to ensuring food security. Over the past five years, we have doubled the volume of agricultural production and now export it to more than 80 countries. We intend to actively work in this direction with the SPECA countries. Special attention should be paid to creating tools to stimulate investment cooperation between SPECA countries. In this regard, it seems extremely relevant to establish the SPECA Trust Fund under the auspices of the UN to promote economic development and integration. Considering the importance of the Special Program, Kazakhstan is ready to make a financial contribution to the Fund, said the Kazakh leader.

The head of state believes that the SPECA countries have become a continental bridge between Europe and Asia.

This is a colossal advantage that we need to develop. We put great expectations in this regard on the development of the Trans-Caspian international transport route. I am confident that connecting the Middle Corridor with the Belt and Road project, as well as the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and the Global Gateway strategy will give a powerful multiplier effect to global trade. Along with this, Kazakhstan is ready for active cooperation in the development of the North-South corridor.

At the end of his speech, the President expressed confidence that today's Summit will allow for the development of specific mechanisms for increasing the effectiveness of the Special Program and will further strengthen friendship and strategic partnership between the countries.

During the Summit, speeches were made by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Khojamurad Geldimuradov, Executive Secretary of the European Economic UN Commission Tatiana Molchan, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, as well as Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi.

Photo: Akorda press service


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