President Tokayev speaks out priorities for developing Central Asian region
The next decade will be decisive for the Central Asian region, which can emerge as a global leader. Seizing this historic opportunity has become more crucial than ever. First of all, trade flows between the countries should be consistently increased for this purpose, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said at the fifth anniversary Consultative Meeting of Heads of State of Central Asia in Dushanbe. The work started in this direction is already yielding good results. Thus, over the past five years, intraregional trade turnover has grown by 80 percent to over $10.5 billion.
“We see tangible results in the consistent increase in trade flows between our countries. As I have already noted, mutual trade between the states of the region is showing steady growth. Our countries have the potential to elevate it to $15 billion in the foreseeable future,” Tokayev stated.
Aiming to establish direct links between businesses to foster trade turnover, the Head of State proposed to set up a unified electronic database of commodity producers, for example, within the Central Asia Gateway portal. Another priority task is the expansion of application of digital solutions in the region, he said.
“Kazakhstan is actively introducing digital solutions in all spheres of the economy. For example, the share of non-cash transactions in our country has reached 82 percent, while more than 90 percent of public services are rendered online. The domestic IT industry’s exports grew fivefold last year alone. We aim to increase this figure up to $1 billion by 2026. Kazakhstan advocates for comprehensive cooperation with its closest neighbors in this strategically important industry,” the President added.
As one of the main topics touched on regional security, President Tokayev called for joint efforts to ensure regional stability. He underscored the importance of expediting the Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighborliness and Cooperation, and proposed holding a dialogue on security and cooperation in Central Asia in Kazakhstan next year, involving secretaries of security councils. Kazakhstan also supported Tajikistan’s initiative to establish a Council of National Coordinators. Following the meeting, the presidents signed two agreements and a joint statement.