Your Excellencies, ambassadors and heads of representative offices!
Ladies and gentlemen!
I am happy to see you again. Holding a meeting with the diplomatic corps in our country has become a good tradition.
As you know, the Kazakh government and our people have always shown warm welcome to ambassadors.
Kazakhstan has established diplomatic relations with 186 countries.
We have 104 diplomatic missions in 70 countries. The number of foreign diplomatic missions in Kazakhstan is also growing every year.
Currently, there are 71 embassies and 30 international organisations in the country. This is a good indicator.
This year, Kazakhstan is marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with many countries.
Over the years of independence, Kazakhstan has strengthened its statehood.
Comprehensive steps have been taken towards political and socio-economic development.
We have been pursuing a balanced foreign policy and deserve our own place on the international scene.
Our foreign partners and international organisations have made a significant contribution to this. I express my gratitude to all of you.
Today's meeting is of particular importance.The international community is experiencing complex geopolitical and geo-economic challenges.
In such difficult times, immense challenges cannot be overcome by states alone.
The coronavirus pandemic, the global economic crisis and the consequences of regional conflicts are a demonstration of this.
Today, Kazakhstan is implementing large-scale reforms in various spheres and has embarked on the path of renewal and modernisation.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to our domestic and foreign policy priorities.
In three and a half years, significant work has been done in Kazakhstan on political modernisation and the protection of human rights.
Four separate political reform packages have been implemented.
Citizen empowerment has been enhanced, and national dialogue has been strengthened.
Civil society is playing a wider role. The effectiveness of state institutions has increased.
In my address to the nation in March this year, I proposed an extensive set of reforms.
Shaping the country's development path, we laid out a new state and social structure.
The Constitution was amended, and several new initiatives were implemented.
A national referendum was held for the first time since 1995. Overall, the people of Kazakhstan fully support the comprehensive modernisation process, which is in line with our strategic course. Kazakhstan has taken a decisive step towards a presidential republic with a strong parliament.
The Constitution now forbids the President from being a member of any political party during his term in office. Close relatives of the President cannot hold positions of political civil servants and heads of quasi-public sector organisations.
Now, the President has no right to repeal acts passed by regional governors (akims). His authority to do so is limited by law.
The approach to the formation of representative power has been amended. The presidential quota in the Senate has been reduced from 15 to 10 seats, with five deputies represented by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan. The Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) is eligible to pass laws, while the Senate is only able to approve or return the law passed by the Mazhilis for further consideration. This change is necessary to strengthen the balance between the Houses of Parliament. In addition, parliamentary oversight will be strengthened to exercise control over the use of the state budget.
The election process is being continuously improved. The next Mazhilis will be formed according to a mixed system. One third of the MPs in the Mazhilis will run from single-member districts.
Elections to the Mazhilis and the Maslikhats (local representative bodies) will be held under the new, fair and transparent rules in the first half of next year.
Thereby, we will accomplish a vital electoral period and substantially modernise the system of state governance.
Opportunities for political parties in Kazakhstan are gradually expanding.
The number of signatures required to register political parties has been reduced fourfold and the requirements to establish a party have been significantly simplified.
This will intensify political and social engagement and stimulate competition among the parties.
It will also promote democratic principles. We have been consistently supporting human rights institutions in Kazakhstan.
In June last year, I signed a national decree on further measures in human rights protection.
We have also stipulated the abolition of the death penalty in the updated Constitution of Kazakhstan.
As a next step we are planning to adopt laws on the Constitutional Court and on the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Constitutional Court will ensure the rule of law in the country and strengthen our cooperation with UN human rights treaty bodies.
Increasing the role and status of the Commissioner for Human Rights will promote human rights mechanisms in Kazakhstan, essentially expand the powers of the Ombudsman, and reinforce the institution’s role in the state system and public life.
In our domestic policy, we consistently follow the postulate “we are different, but equal”.
Therefore, we are focused on enhancing the role of civil society, strengthening inter-ethnic, inter-religious trust and tolerance, consolidating various social forces and implementing the principle of a “listening state”.
The first meeting of the consultative and advisory platform, the National “Kurultai”, was held in June this year.
This body brings together representatives of public councils, political parties, and NGOs.
Its work is designed to set a qualitatively new institutional framework for national dialogue and to strengthen constructive interaction between civil society and the state.
We are focused on ensuring a free and competitive environment for mass media.
A law on mass media is being drafted. The ongoing democratization and socio-political transformation are irreversible.
With respect to the institutions of state, we will be strongly commited to the formula “strong President - influential Parliament - accountable Government.”
Our ultimate goal is to build a Presidential Republic with strong parliamentary traditions.
In my recent State of the Nation Address, I initiated an amendment to limit the length of executive power through a presidential term limit.
In this regard, on September 17, the Parliament passed an amendment to the Constitution introducing a single presidential term of seven years.
It’s about to prevent any attempt to monopolize state power in the future, to enhance the stability and predictability of our political system, and to contribute to the rise of new generations of leaders.
This new model will provide a regular rotation of power and the democratic development of modern Kazakh statehood.
Therefore, the upcoming elections should build momentum for a new political tradition in Kazakhstan.
Our paramount goal is to build a Just Kazakhstan, in which every citizen will have equal conditions and opportunities to unlock their potential.
We are placing the concept of justice at the core of state policy and national ideology. The aim is to improve the welfare of people while promptly responding to the needs and requests of citizens.
As a matter of fact, our strategy of transforming the whole society toward democracy and modernization is not «window-dressing reform» as some reports try to argue. It’s a real reform.
Therefore, we hope, your reports on the situation in Kazakhstan will be continuously professionally unbiased.
My team and I are strongly committed to holding open and fair presidential elections.
We are convinced that political reforms should go hand in hand with comprehensive economic transformation.
We are setting a new economic course aimed at building a genuinely free and competitive market economy. Demonopolization of the economy will make it stronger, more competitive and attractive.
All major international financial agencies have praised Kazakhstan's efforts to return to the economic growth and confirmed a stable outlook for its sovereign credit rating. We remain an open economy that trades with 180 countries. Despite global economic challenges, our exports of non-primary goods increased by almost 40% ($16.6 bln).
We are also determined to continue to serve as the most attractive investment destination in this part of the world. In just 6 months this year, foreign partners invested around 15 billion dollars in our economy, 30% higher than the previous year.
In response to geopolitical tensions, we are ready to put in place the institutional requirements for direct collaboration with foreign companies relocating to Kazakhstan or looking for joint ventures.
We are planning to introduce a new tax code to create an effective fiscal environment. Businesses will be exempted from complicated and excessive requirements, which should reduce the burden on business by an average of 30%.
Next June the Astana International Forum is to take place here, in our capital. Some heads of state, government and leading enterpreneurs, international experts as well as representatives of the civil societies are also expected to take part on our invitation. I urge foreign embassies also to get involved in the preparation of this important event.
When it comes to our economic and trade cooperation, the sky is the limit. Let me elaborate on promising areas.
First, Kazakhstan makes a significant contribution to ensuring regional and global food security. We are the world’s top ten largest exporter of grain crops, annually supplying over 5 million tons of wheat and 1.5 million tons of flour. Today Kazakhstan has become one of the world’s leading producer of flaxseed and increased oilseed exports to 1 million tons.
Meanwhile, we are concerned by the continuous high level of import of foodstuff from abroad which leads to high inflation. Experts rightly admit that inflation in Kazakhstan is of foreign origin.
By 2050 the world's population will reach 10 billion people. As a result, the production of food products must increase by one and a half times. Therefore, the agro-industrial sector needs transforming based on innovative and environment-friendly technologies.
In this regard, we have recently launched a national project for the agro-industrial complex development. The goal is to increase the productivity of the sector by 2.5 times and, more importantly while doubling the volume of our exports.
Second, there is a great potential for cooperation in the manufacturing sector. Kazakhstan is a global leader in critical raw mineral and material reserves. It can play a crucial role in bolstering global supply chains and emerging technologies.
We possess the world’s 6th largest natural mineral reserves deposits and rank 10th for total mineral production (excluding oil and gas). Kazakhstan offers deposits of more than 60 precious and non-ferrous metals for exploration and development.
It is estimated that the world will need approximately 700 million tons of copper to switch to green energy over the next 22 years, which is equal to the volume of copper mined throughout all history.
Global demand for critical materials and rare earth metals is expected to increase 4 times by 2040. The energy transition will require a twenty-fold increase in the production of rare earth metals.
With the second largest proven oil reserves in Eurasia, Kazakhstan is a reliable supplier of oil and gas to mitigate global energy crisis. Our country also accounts for 45% of the global uranium market output. It is a reliable long-term supplier of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants around the world on very competitive conditions.
In addition, our country accounts for 11% of the global titanium market, used in shipbuilding, medicine, oil and chemicals.
Third, energy and green finance. We fully support global efforts to address the climate emergency. Our internal priorities are energy transition and fostering green economic development.
In fact, our country was the first among the CIS region to have ratified the Paris Agreement. Today, renewables account for 3% of the total energy balance of Kazakhstan. We have set ourselves a target of 15% – some 7,000 megawatts of additional renewable energy capacity – by 2030.
As you know, Kazakhstan has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. To this end, we are finalizing a Low Carbon Development Strategy that will provide an optimal path to net zero emissions.
We commend Egypt hosting this month an important event on climate COP27.
Fourth is transport and logistics. Kazakhstan has big potential as a provider of sustainable supply chains. Today, more than 80% of land transit traffic along the China-Europe corridor passes freely through our country.
According to the World Bank, the development of transit and transport potential can contribute to a 15% cumulative GDP increase in the countries of Central Asia. Kazakhstan already plays a significant role in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route – the so-called Middle Corridor – is becoming increasingly important. We should work together to develop this route which is critical to energy and food supply diversification and security.
So far this year, I have met and secured the support of the Heads of State of China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Azerbaijan to develop this corridor.
We consider it necessary to conduct this work in synergy with the development of the Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran railway and other trans-Eurasian “North-South”and “East-West” corridors.
Fifth, cooperation with our National Wealth Fund and privatization program. Today, our Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna is among the world’s top-30 sovereign wealth funds, with 70 billion dollars in assets. Currently, the Fund is undergoing transformation focused on greater transparency and efficiency.
One of the key initiatives in this respect is privatization of the Fund’s portfolio companies. The largest companies of the Fund such as the national oil company, national airlines and railway companies will be taken public shortly.
KazMunayGas – our national oil champion – is doing an IPO in Kazakhstan this fall.
Overall, we have prepared a comprehensive list of 700 large and small companies to be privatized. For each asset, we have formed a special project group to interact with potential investors. Ultimately, we aim to grow our national fund to 100 billion US dollars.
Sixth, in our vision, Kazakhstan is set to become one of the regional technological hubs in Eurasia. We have already started digital transformation across the country. These efforts have been recognized globally. The UN placed our e-government system in the TOP-30 list and ranked us 11th in the online service index. This year we plan to increase our exports of IT-products and services by 3 times compared to 2020 (from $33 mln. to $100 mln).
We also plan to significantly strengthen human capital via training 100,000 globally competitive IT-specialists by 2025.
Seventh, investment policy and development of finance sector. For three decades, there has been a steady annual increase in foreign direct investment. The average annual volume has amounted to 24 billion dollars over the past five years. We plan to attract 150 billion dollars of FDI within the next 7 years.
Kazakhstan is attracting increasingly more foreign companies. We welcome them and intend to continue creating favorable conditions for mutually beneficial cooperation with investors.
On my instructions, the Government has developed a new investment policy through 2026. An important dimension of this policy is to attract ESG (Environmental/Social/Governance) investors and to develop the non-resource sector of the economy.
We are focused on ensuring transparency of interaction between the state, business and society, including through digital solutions.
The Astana International Financial Centre is already partnering with some of you. It is a one-of-a-kind institution in Central Asia, offering a Common Law-based international court and arbitration system, world-class regulation, and tax exemptions. Just recently, the OECD recognized that the tax regime of the AIFC complies with the global standards of transparency.
This center facilitates offshore access to our markets, in particular, capital markets. Its international exchange has already hosted successful IPOs, and I believe its partnership with major companies demonstrates our willingness to work together with the international financial community. The Center hosts over 1,600 companies from 65 countries.
In sum, Kazakhstan is open for international cooperation! We will continue constructive and balanced engagement with strategic partners and all interested countries. We will also continue to further diversify our economy. The states and agencies you represent are invited to join us in mutually beneficial partnership!
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
Amid unprecedented turbulence, Kazakhstan remains committed to the balanced, multidirectional and constructive foreign policy.
Kazakhstan is firmly dedicated to the values of sustainable peace, cooperation and trust. We stand for the principles of equality, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of states based on the UN Charter and international law.
Kazakhstan’s assessment is very simple and clear – we do not believe in zero-sum games. We wish to replace the “Great Game” with Great Gain for all in the Heart of Eurasia.
We are interested in maintaining and strengthening trust, friendship and strategic partnership with our neighbors and with all countries that are really interested in developing cooperation with Kazakhstan.
In recent years, processes of political and economic cooperation have been significantly intensified in Central Asia. This is a positive trend. Today, Kazakhstan and the region demonstrate openness and readiness for mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested states and organizations.
With the rising importance of Central Asia, regionally and globally the C5+ format is bringing new opportunities to expand cooperation with our partners. Currently, the C5+ is actively engaging with many countries and regional unions including USA, Japan, South Korea and more recently China, India, Russia and the European Union.
Being the leading economy of Central Asia, Kazahstan will futher contribute to regional and global development, and to creating bridges between continents, cultures and nations.
In this vein we will continue proactive partnership with all members of the global community, including ASEAN, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.
Strenghthening our work with international and regional organizations will also remain an important diplomatic priority.
Kazakhstan is fully committed to deepening its multifaceted cooperation with the United Nations, which remains a bulwark of multilateralism and indispensable to global peace, security and prosperity of all nations.
Over 30 years the UN has contributed strongly to the sustainable development of Kazakhstan.
We appreciate the UN team for their continuous support to our comprehensive reform agenda. 400 UN projects have been successfully implemented in various fields.
We were privileged to be elected to the Security Council in 2017-2018, and currently sit in both the UN Human Rights Council and ECOSOC (2022-2024).
Kazakhstan will remain a staunch advocate of a strong and effective UN’s role in addressing global challenges and reinforcing interstate cooperation.
Our initiative to establish the UN Center for SDGs for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty is evidence of Kazakhstan's readiness to contribute to the 2030 Agenda.
Two years ago, I proposed the creation of an International Agency for Biological Safety under UN auspieces. In close cooperation with the UN Kazakhstan strongly advocates for maintaining key pillars of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. We are witnessing a worrying increase in references to the use of nuclear weapons.
We must remember that atomic energy is an outstanding achievement of mankind, which should be used exclusively for the peaceful benefit of our peoples, and not as a destructive weapon.
I am pleased to note that the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has obtained new substance and dimension.
CICA is expected to be transformed into a full-fledged international organization.
In this regard, I would like to express special gratitude to the foreign diplomatic corps in Kazakhstan for its successful work on the recent Summit.
Another important regional organization is the Commonwealth of Independent States which has proved to be an effective platform for multifaceted partnership.
We will be actively engaged in the Eurasian Economic Union to protect our longterm national interests in the economic and financial areas.
As chair, Kazakhstan made solid efforts to fully utilize the potential of the CIS this year. We hope that it will futher strenghthen trade, economic partnership and people-to-people relations.
Looking ahead, in the second half of next year Kazakhstan will assume chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
By virtue of its universal mandate and mutual consolidation, the SCO is able to contribute to tackling the most acute problems of our time.
The expansion of the SCO membership testifies to its steadily growing role. Similarly, Turkic cooperation has become one of the key dimensions of our foreign policy.
We seek further strengthening and development of the Organization of Turkic States platfrom in areas like security, trade and economic development, culture and humanitarian cooperation for the benefit of Kazakhstan.
Along with these political and diplomatic efforts to maintain peace and stability, we attach great importance to interreligious dialogue.
The 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in Astana recently, was the largest event since its establishment 19 years ago.
It was attended for the first time by Pope Francis, as well as more than 100 representatives of 18 religions. As the Pope noted, Kazakhstan plays a special role as a “place of meeting and dialogue”.
The Congress once again stressed the importance of religious tolerance, dialogue and peaceful resolution of issues.
ladies and gentlemen,
Diplomacy remains the only tool to manage international relations, reduce risks and strengthen security and well-being. With your professional help and through joint dedicated efforts, we must aim to continuously strengthen Kazakhstan’s friendly and mutually beneficial ties with your respective countries and organizations.
Please be assured that all your constructive undertakings will meet the proper response and support from my Administration and Kazakh Government.
A Kazakh Proverb says “Ырыс алды – ынтымақ” which means “The key to prosperity is friendship”.
I look forward to continuing constructive dialogue and partnership with Heads of State and Government whom you represent here.
I wish you good health and every success in your noble endeavours!