Towards a dynamic partnership

July 31, 2012

NCIn the frames of the visit to the UK for the XXX Summer Olympic Games opening, President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with the faculty and students of the Cambridge University.

Breath of the Olympics is felt at every step in London; their logo is everywhere – on billboards, flags, and souvenirs. Security measures are tightened.

A meeting with the British ex-PM Tony Blair preceded the visit to the University. The talk broached international topics, social upgrade modernization in Kazakhstan and work of the expert council.

The UK is known to be an important political and economic partner to Kazakhstan. Good dynamics of trade and economic cooperation is evidenced by bilateral trade indices: USD 2.145bn as of last year, i.e.1.9% up on-year, and USD 653.3mn as of January – May this year.

Kazakhstan chiefly exports mineral commodities and mineral products, steel, copper, wool, fertilizers, precious and semiprecious metals, and imports machinery and technical equipment, vehicles, optical instruments, foods, chemicals, tobacco products, textiles.

UK is third-biggest investor in the Kazakh economy, after the Netherlands and the United States. According to Kazakhstan National bank, the direct British investments in Kazakhstan from 1993 to 2011 made over USD 19.9bn, more than 500 JVs are operating in commerce, finance, geological exploration, architecture, engineering and construction.

The Cambridge graduates were Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, John Maynard Keynes, and many other prominent figures and Nobel laureates. Welcoming N.Nazarbayev, Professor of Slavonic Studies, Simon Franklin said that the Olympics have always been a time of dialogue, cultural exchanges and friendly meetings between the countries and cities, and wished good luck to the Kazakh athletes.

At the meeting with the University faculty and students, the President shared his vision of modern world problems, the part of Kazakhstan in the world and prospects for the country, emphasizing that the XX -XXI centuries’ junction was a time of profound changes on a vast geo-strategic Eurasian space that in a historically short lapse had undergone transformations, which earlier in the world took centuries. New independent states have emerged on the political world map.

The President spoke about the development of independent Kazakhstan and challenges on its path. Given the region’s volatility, it is important for us to maintain a strong state and national security, – N.Nazarbayev said. – That is why we prioritize stepwise reforms, focusing on economic liberalization followed by political.

According to N.Nazarbayev, in the former Soviet Union understanding of democracy is often one-sided – as an opportunity to be totally uncontrolled by any law. This often leads to internal conflicts and interethnic clashes.

Nursultan Nazarbayev touched upon another serious challenge – a religious extremism and terrorism. He emphasized the importance of keeping the pace of development, without losing the main value – stability- that’s the basis for progress of the state and society to meet the upgrade tasks we have set.

According to Nazarbayev, in Kazakhstan, much attention is paid to improving the system of governance, promotion of democratic institutions, political modernization. All these factors influenced economic development. Thus, over the years of independence, GDP per capita in Kazakhstan has increased from USD 700 to 12 000. From 1999 to 2007 GDP growth averaged 10% per year, and the country accounts for more than 80% of all the investments in Central Asia.

Possessing vast natural resources, not only oil and gas, but also all kinds of metals, Kazakhstan is building a new economy, looking to its diversification, bringing down of the dependence on oil exports, building of a modern self-developing innovative system. In the midst of the crisis the AIID Program was launched that in 2.5 years brought fruits, new productions have emerged.

- Our goal, – the President said, is to bring the share of non-oil exports up to 45% by the year 2020, double the labor productivity in manufacturing, and quadruple it in agriculture sector. The stake is on innovative and knowledge-driven economy. We have achieved a 66% increase of innovative output. Domestic expenditures on research and development went 30% up, with spending on science steadily growing.

As known, in 2010 Kazakhstan joined the European Cultural Convention and the Bologna process. On the national “Bolashak” program more than eight thousand young Kazakhstanis were educated at world top universities since1993, who are already working for their country. The UK is one of the most preferred destinations for getting education among the Bolashak scholars.

In 2001 Kazakh-British Technical University opened in Almaty, training and nurturing the national scientific and technological elite in the country, the international Nazarbayev University opened in Astana. Cooperation is developing with the Cambridge University in educational programs.

At the meeting Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the launch of the Central Asian Innovative Fund and the Al-Farabi Scholarship for talented students to carry out Central Asian research on the basis of the University of Cambridge, and expressed confidence it will be another contribution to the joint activity. The Fund is being created in collaboration between Cambridge Innovation Platform and Kazakh-British Chamber of Commerce.

- Last year, the President said, I proposed to create a group of G-Global to complement the G20 format in order to form an international economic policy and seek out global anti-crisis solutions. G-Global is now a communicative platform, a site established as international virtual project with the Astana Economic Forum by the Association of “Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists”. Already the G-Global comprises more than 10,000 participants from nearly 150 countries.

This initiative was supported by 14 Nobel Prize winners, the Committee for renewal of the Bretton Woods agreements, the Madrid Club, the European Commission and representatives of international organizations, business and scientific communities.

- Seeking solutions to complex problems facing us, requires the participation of as many experts as possible – N.Nazarbayev stated, urging the Cambridge University to contribute to this process.

N.Nazarbayev responded to the questions of the University professors – Peter Nolan- chair of the university’s Development Studies Committee, Sir Mike Gregory- Director of the Cambridge MIT Institute and others concerning globalization, development of the manufacturing sector in the country.

Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Cambridge University was exemplified at the meeting: a declaration of intent signed in November last year between the “Kazatomprom”, Kazakh Institute of Oil and Gas, Cambridge Development Fund for Kazakhstan and the Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory under which “Kazatomprom” undertakes financial support for joint research in physics, chemistry and safety of the Caspian oil.

After talking with professors and students, Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the Trinity College and then he took part in the inauguration of XXX Summer Olympic Games.