The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Guido Herz was invited as a guest of honor to the event devoted to the twentieth anniversary of BASF's operation in Kazakhstan, he kindly agrees to share with the readers of the Kazakhstan magazine the achievements in bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishement of diplomatic relation between Kazakhstan and Germany. Could You please summarize the results of bilaterial cooperation over the years?
On February 20 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Germany; the latter was one of the first countries that established diplomatic relations with your country. Over the past 20 years, Kazakhstan became a very important partner for Germany in the region. Trade turnover between the two countries exceeds by more than three times the total volume of trade of Germany with the other Central Asian states. We have good relations in all spheres of the political, economic and cultural areas.
The visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Berlin on February 8, 2012, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations with Germany, emphasizes this fact. During this visit a very important agreement in the field of raw material resources and technology transfer was signed in the presence of President Nazarbayev and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
This opens up new prospects for our cooperation in the coming years, and, of course, we are very pleased that BASF as the largest chemical company in the world has been successfully operating in Kazakhstan. I hope, moreover, I am absolutely sure that BASF can play a very important role in the transfer of German technologies and know-how to Kazakhstan.
How has the perception of Kazakhstan by Germany changed over the years?
The image of your country has changed considerably. 20 years ago Kazakhstan was considered by us as a young developing country, the poorly developed part of the former Soviet Union. That is why we supported Kazakhstan, and this support was certainly a success.
In recent years, your country, relying on our own strength, made notable economic progress by increasing the GDP per capita index from $600 to $12,000. This is a stupendous result, especially when compared with the level of development of other countries, especially those in Africa.
Kazakhstan became a state, which started supporting other countries in the region. The republic is the largest producer and exporter of energy and raw materials, one of the largest exporters of wheat in the world. Kazakhstan has an ambitious program of industrialization. Currently, the educational system is undergoing reforms, new universities and institutions and being set up and educational programs of other already existing ones are being upgraded. In international politics, Kazakhstan has become an important player, which not only charts its own course, but also has considerable political influence. This is very important for a country with vast geographical area and relatively small density of the population. All this makes Kazakhstan a really important and respected partner of Germany.