The place and role of Eurasia in the Third Millennium
Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Ten years ago the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, and all the CIS states, faced the difficult task of creating independent statehood and securing their sovereignty.
Kazakhstan, as well as the other new states, has passed along a hard route of breaking down a totalitarian system and forming a market economy and democratic institutions, all within the confines of tough restrictions.
During the nineties, our common goal was the establishment of new economic and political institutes which could secure economic growth and political stability.
The new decade of globalisation has put problems of a new type on the agenda.
We have to strengthen our national independence, while making our contribution to the growing interdependency of the global system. We have to take all steps to stimulate the growth of our national economies, while not hampering the neighbour countries to flourish, but helping each other.
We have to strengthen our own, original political institutions and develop in parallel together the mechanism of regional co-operation.
Looking back at the path we have passed, we are proud to see that we as a whole, and each country alone, has made outstanding achievements, despite the tremendous difficulties. I am sure that historians will refer to the last nine years as a period of deepest transformation in the region. The route was not easy, and there are many barriers we are to overcome.
For ages, Central Asia was considered a crossroads between the East and the West where Europe and Asia, Islam and Christianity met, where continents were joined and cultural values, ideas, riches and goods were exchanged.
It could be stated that in the epoch of global integration, when traditional barriers and frontiers are giving way to a new reality – modern communication networks and advanced technology – our geopolitical situation is our major asset.
In the very near future we will have to transform the Great Silk Road, the main road connecting us in ancient times, into a highway of active contacts with all the regions in the world.
One of the implementations of the Great Silk Road is TRACECA, which passes through the Caucasus and Central Asia, that is why the conference has such a significance for our countries and nations.
I am sure that on behalf of all the Central Asian leaders I have the right to thank the Davos Forum and its Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab for the organisation of this important gathering, and to express our gratitude to those who sponsored the summit and actively contributed to its success.
We are looking forward to your sincere and serious opinions about the measures to be taken by our countries, individually and as a whole, in order to attract the largest possible foreign investment.
We understand that in order to secure the confidence of foreign investors, we have to take additional steps to improve taxation and economic mechanisms, to create a harmonious and comprehensive legal basis, and to further strengthen the political and social stability.
In addition, we have to make other provisions for the future by investing in the modernisation of our infrastructure.
Working on our plans, we have no right to lose sight of the forces which are threatening stability in our region. We are drawing the attention of the international community, UN, and OSCE to the necessity of taking more active measures to stop the war in Afghanistan, the main menace to stability in the entire Central Asian region.
We have to combine efforts in putting barriers in the way of any type of violence, terrorism, drug dealing and extremism, the proliferation of weapons of annihilation, and organised crime and corruption.
Taking into account that all these forces are in the process of everyday change and development, we have to create jointly techniques and mechanisms for monitoring and curbing them. In our common aspiration to utilise the opportunities which have brought us here, we shall be brave and creative in tearing away the shackles of the past. We will either go forward together or slip back apart.
We have to strengthen and expand co-operation by creating effective regional mechanisms and by making regional agreements.
The example of the European community, in contrast to that of the Commonwealth of Independent States, is teaching us that the ‘heritage’ of disintegration in the past does not always prevent a common future.
Our desire to create effective mechanisms of co-operation can and will become a reality. Today we have gathered here, full of resolve to get down to action and move forward at a quicker pace. The nations of Central Asia and the Caucasus will work jointly to overcome problems which are too hard to solve alone.
Much has been put at stake, but the reward will be generous.
Having in principle common economic space encompassing Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Russian Federation, we wish to develop regional integration. We wish to develop the production of competitive high-tech products. We wish to build developed states with liberal economic and political regimes which will be an integral part of the world’s economic system.
We hope that our desire to secure peace and prosperity will be understood.
The complex of problems which are related to the development of the Caspian region deserves special attention. According to expert estimates, oil reserves alone make up dozens of billions of tonnes.
The region is becoming one of the major oil and gas exporters to the world market.
This is the point which ties together the interests of Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus, Europe, and the United States. China, in pursuit of its global interests, is also paying considerable attention to the Caspian.
Taking all these into consideration, we all have to apply the maximum effort to create a co-ordinated programme of the Caspian development in order to prevent the transformation of the region into a knot of contradictions which would allow neither our countries nor the world community to win.
I consider co-operation among Eurasian countries another equally important direction. The nations on the Eurasian continent will resolutely support stability. We have to maintain and strengthen the system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and give new status to the disarmament movement.
The grounds for our collective peacemaking should be the existing regional security systems: OSCE on the European side, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia on the Asian side.
Now is the time to give a new impetus to the development of new global Trans-Eurasian infrastructure facilities. I mean new main seaways, railways, highways, and air, pipe and energy lines to link Europe with the Pacific via our region.
We are well aware that there is much we have to learn from you. That is why I am so glad that all of you have gathered in our city, and that is why I would like to assure you of our keen interest in your discussions and of our most serious attitude towards your opinions and advice. We are ready to make the forum a regular event, and are offering to hold it in Almaty in the beautiful spring season.
We will not step back under the burden of this huge responsibility. Learning from the experience of others and treating this experience as our basis, we will seek our own approach, which will match the characteristics of our own culture. However, whatever we do, we will pursue our goals: economic and political reform, progress and freedom.
Let historians recall one day that at this moment, which has opened such abundant opportunities, we got down to real action and returned the region to its former glory, turning the region into a centre of the economy of the third millennium.
The place and role of Eurasia in the Third Millennium Nursultan A. Nazarbayev
The attraction of investment into the country is a well thought-through choice of economic development of Kazakhstan Kasymzhomart Tokaev
Chairman of the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Investment, answers questions of our magazine Dulat Kuanyshev
Domestic policies and institutional reforms are key to sustained recovery in the Eurasia Region Johannes F. Linn
Economic Outlook for the Central Asian and Caucasus Region John Odliing-Smee
Preventing and rooting out corruption: factor determining a proper framework of private sector development Johannes F. Linn
Reforms and developments in Kazakhstan’s power sector Oraz Jandosov
NOVA ZINC DRIVES TO SUCCESS Mukhit Zhanasov
Kazakhstan’s Securities Market in 2000: Opportunities and Expectations Aidan Karibzhanov
It is necessary to study potential investment markets and make practical steps toward investors Banu Babaeva
New Labour Law Abylkhair Nakipov, Akhmetzhan Abdullayev