Statement by Ambassador Nurgali Arystanov on the state of the Nation Address by President H.E Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
On Sept. 1, 2023, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan delivered his state-of-the-nation address entitled “Economic Course of a Just Kazakhstan,” outlining pathways toward future progress based on principles of fairness, inclusiveness, and pragmatism. He dwelled on various facets of the national agenda, underscoring the key economic tasks.
As the address identifies ambitious goals of economic development, more opportunities are created for international cooperation. This is also relevant for partnership with Korea. Following are some of the key decisions announced by the President:
Infrastructure development, including Middle Corridor. Kazakhstan intends to develop Kuryk (on the Caspian Sea) port into a full-fledged logistics cluster and build a container hub at Aktau.
Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence. The Kazakh leader shared his vision for further progress in digital development. He stated that Kazakhstan was among the world leaders in the e-government and fintech development indices. He asked the Government to increase the export of IT services to one billion dollars by 2026. The Government will pay a special attention to the use of Artificial Intelligence.
Drones. The Government will work to strengthen production capacities with a high degree of localization for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Banks. To boost competition and solve the problem of insufficient corporate lending, President Tokayev emphasized the need to attract three reliable foreign banks to Kazakhstan.
Rare Earth Metals. Developing deposits of rare earth metals is a priority. For this purpose, attracting large private investments is crucial for unlocking mining sector’s potential.
Hydrogen Generation. President Tokayev suggested that the Government and businesses should seize the opportunities in developing hydrogen energy.
Referendum on a Nuclear Power Plant. The President said that the development of nuclear power was a particularly important economic and political issue. Therefore, he proposed to submit the issue of potential construction of a nuclear power plant to a national referendum. The dates and other details will be announced later.
Smart Waters. To better manage water resources, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation will be created, which will include the National Hydrogeological Service. Given the growing water scarcity, rational use of water and application of advanced technologies will be prioritized.
Healthcare and Education. 300 healthcare facilities and 400 comfortable schools will be built.
Creative Industry. To harness creative potential and intellectual capital of citizens, Kazakhstan will create conditions conducive for creative economy. In particular, Creative Industry Centers will be set up in all regional centers and major cities.
Tax Exemption. Particular attention will be focused on sectors such as deep metal processing, oil, gas and coal chemistry, heavy engineering, uranium enrichment, and automotive components. In order to support the manufacturing industry, foreign and domestic investors will be exempted from paying taxes and other mandatory payments for the first three years.
These are the only some of the key areas, which deserve the immediate attention of Korean friends at this point. The state-of-the nation address is comprehensive and touches even wider spectrum, as it proceeds from the deep analytical research of the issues facing the nation. A reader of the full text (enclosed) can find a potential scope for cooperation, for instance in small and medium enterprises’ engagement.
Moreover, the President highlighted major achievements in ensuring the rule of law, better protection of human rights and ensuring justice, which is also important for improving investment climate and business environment.
I am delighted to share with you that commercial engagement between Kazakhstan and Korea is on the surge. Korea today is Kazakhstan’s 4th largest trade partner ($6.5 billion two-way trade in 2022) and 6th largest foreign investor, with the total of FDIs worth $8.9 billion. People-to-people ties are gaining strength, as 11 direct flights are operated between Almaty and Seoul by Air Astana and Asiana Airlines.
Foreign Minister H.E. Park Jin’s June visit to Astana and Almaty provided an excellent political framework for all encompassing development of multifaceted enhanced strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Korea. Especially friendly and productive were his call on H.E. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and bilateral talks with H.E. Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu.
We are confident that with the consistent mutual efforts, new heights will be achieved in the dialogue