Stories related to telecommunications and transport links. 

First Astana International Forum taking place in Kazakhstan on 8-9 June
The first Astana International Forum (AIF) is taking place in Kazakhstan on Thursday and Friday (8-9 June). An initiative of the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Astana International Forum writes that it will "serve as a platform for high-level delegates from foreign governments, international organizations, businesses and academic circles to engage in dialogue and seek solutions to problems such as climate change, food shortages and energy security". Over 1,000 people will participate in the conference, which is running under the theme "Tackling Challenges Through Dialogue: Towards Cooperation, Development & Progress". There will be several keynote speeches and over 40 panel sessions, discussions, and side events. The decline of Russia in Central Asia as a result of its ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine has propelled the region into a new geopolitical reality. Especially on trade, difficulties trading via Russia as a result of sanctions have given Central Asia a renewed, critical position in facilitating east-west trade. To that end, Central Asian connectivity is also high on the agenda at the AIF.
patrickn97 Thu, 06/08/2023 - 11:37 Editorial: China moves in where angels fear to tread
It seems as if you cannot be respected as a superpower unless you burn your fingers trying to pacify Afghanistan, writes in this editorial. The British in the heyday of the Raj, tried it in the 19th century; the Soviets tried it at the peak of their power in the 20th century, and the Americans had a go at a time when they were the only superpower, in the early 21st century. Now it seems it's China’s turn, and of course it is being done the Chinese way. There are no armies swarming across the Khyber Pass, nor forward military bases established across Central Asia. Instead, the Chinese are using their time tested tool – the Belt and Road Initiative. The first announcement came on 8 May following the 4th round of the Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue in Islamabad with the participation of Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang and his Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. In essence, the two sides agreed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, will be extended into Afghanistan. At that meeting it was also agreed that both sides will “continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for the Afghan people and enhance development cooperation in Afghanistan”.
patrickn97 Tue, 05/30/2023 - 12:44

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Kazakhstan's oil exports to Azerbaijan increase by 75% in April

On Wednesday (10 May), KazTransOil, the national oil transporter of Kazakhstan, announced a substantial increase in oil exports via Aktau Port to Baku, Azerbaijan.

According to the company's press service, the export volume surged by 75% in April, reaching 152,400 tons, compared to the previous month's 87,000 tons. In April, KazTransOil also shipped 160,200 tons of oil from Aktau Port to Makhachkala Port, in Russia.

The overall volume of Kazakh oil transported for export from Aktau Port increased by 24%, totaling 600,500 tons.

patrickn97 Mon, 05/15/2023 - 07:55
Kazakhstan to host EU-Central Asia Economic Forum on 18-19 May
The Kazakh capital of Almaty will be hosting the 2nd European Union-Central Asia Economic Forum next week on 18-19 May. Building on the 1st EU-Central Asia Economic Forum that took place in Bishkek in 2021, next week's forum will "take stock of progress made so far and discuss ways forward on policy, programmes, and investment needed to develop a more integrated and interconnected regional market engagement". "The Forum will allow to strengthen sustainable connectivity and promote regulatory approximation in the economic area between the EU and Central Asia countries, which is so vital for a better business environment and a safe investment climate," a statement from the EU Central Asia Invest Programme says. "The Forum will gather high-level government officials, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, other bilateral and international financial institutions, representatives of the private sector and members of civil society. It is organised in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development," the statement adds. The forum will focus on three priority areas: a green and digital transition, a better business environment, and trade and connectivity. Next week's forum follows the 4th EU-Central Asia civil society forum that took place in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in March.
patrickn97 Fri, 05/12/2023 - 11:10
Russia lifts ban on flights to Georgia, removes visa restrictions for Georgian citizens
On Wednesday (10 May), Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two separate decrees lifting a ban on flights to Georgia, and abolishing visas for Georgian citizens. From 15 March, Georgian nationals will be allowed to enter Russia without visas for up to 90 days. Lifting the ban on flights reverses a 2019 decision in which the Kremlin banned air traffic with Georgia following a wave of anti-Kremlin protests there. After President Putin signed the decrees, the Russian Foreign Ministry also released a statement reversing its 2019 advice against Russian citizens travelling to Georgia. The statement added that Putin's decrees "are in line with our principled approach of consistently facilitating the conditions for communication and contacts between the citizens of Russia and Georgia, despite the absence of diplomatic relations". Later, Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti reported that the Georgian Deputy Minister of the Economy and Sustainable Development Mariam Kvrivishvili said that Georgia would issue permits for direct flights to non-sanctioned airlines, before adding that authorities were yet to receive any such requests from Russian airlines.
patrickn97 Wed, 05/10/2023 - 16:13
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan agree to increase cultural cooperation

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have agreed to increase cultural cooperation, reports The Astana Times on Tuesday (9 May).

Kazakh Minister of Culture and Sports Askhat Oralov announced last week that his country intends to strengthen cultural ties with Azerbaijan and other Turkic countries through the Organization of Turkic States and the International Organization of Turkic Culture.

patrickn97 Wed, 05/10/2023 - 10:00
European Commission and European Investment Bank announce €18bn in Global Gateway investment fund

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced a funding package worth €18bn to boost investments in climate action and sustainable economies, the European External Action Service (EEAS) reports.

In a press release, EEAS say that, "this will boost investment in Global Gateway's priority areas – climate action, clean energy and connectivity – in Europe's partner countries around the world. In particular, these projects will aim to help bridge the global climate finance gap and support prevention, adaptation and mitigation."

patrickn97 Fri, 04/28/2023 - 09:23
China-Central Asia trade grows by almost 32% in 2022

Trade turnover between China and Central Asian states grew by 31.9% in 2022, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin announced on Tuesday (18 April).

Mr Zhumangarin was speaking in an online meeting leading up to the upcoming China+Central Asia (C+C5) Summit in the Chinese city of Xi’an in May.

The online meeting was also attended by the trade and economy ministers of China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

patrickn97 Fri, 04/21/2023 - 10:27
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to deepen cooperation as Aliyev meets Tokayev in Astana
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have agreed to significantly increase bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors after the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana on Monday (10 April). The meeting was comprehensive, focusing on strengthening political, trade, economic, transport and transit, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the two Caspian Sea states. The two presidents signed several memoranda of understanding on cooperation in sports, diaspora initiatives, science, telecommunications, business and culture. President Aliyev and President Tokayev also signed a joint statement and protocol on the establishment of a Supreme Interstate Council, "which is designed to serve the comprehensive strengthening of bilateral relations", according to Tokayev. He said, "The full deployment of the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the so-called Middle Corridor, is of particular importance." Meanwhile, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is "truly determined to deepen and expand the multifaceted cooperation" with Kazakhstan.
patrickn97 Tue, 04/11/2023 - 09:39