Focus on economic relations
On November 12, a delegation led by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov paid a working visit to Moscow, where they met with the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and visited the Skolkovo Innovation Center.
The visit follows the meeting between Presidents Nazarbayev and Putin in Moscow on October 9 when they agreed that the Treaty on Friendship between Kazakhstan and Russia would be updated and expanded before the end of 2013.
In this week’s meeting between Prime Ministers Medvedev and Akhmetov, discussions focused on the strengthening of bilateral commercial and economic relations, particularly in energy, transport and the space industry. They also discussed interaction between the two countries in the framework of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space.
Trade between Kazakhstan and Russia has grown steadily to reach USD 23.8 billion in 2011, up from just USD 4.7 billion around ten years ago, and an increase of over 42 per cent on 2010. Growth was evenly distributed in 2011, with exports from Kazakhstan (USD 7.5 billion) up by 48% while imports from Russia (USD 16.3 billion) rose by 40%. During the first half of 2012, bilateral trade amounted to USD 11 billion.
Mr Medvedev welcomed the opportunity to have an in-depth meeting with his counterpart, given the large-scale cooperation which exists between Russia and Kazakhstan, which ensures an interesting and constructive agenda, he said. He pledged the support of Russia to the Government of Kazakhstan in its efforts to develop the economic and social sphere, and said that success would bring Russia and Kazakhstan even closer together.
Prime Minister Akhmetov expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between the two countries and agreed with Mr Medvedev that there were no issues on the agenda which could not be resolved. He also stressed the importance of developing multilateral cooperation within the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space and said that decisions by both sides need to be implemented to make cooperation more effective.
Later, Kazakhstan’s delegation visited the Skolkovo Innovation Center, Russia’s “Silicon Valley” project that is being developed outside Moscow. The center will be a creative hub for high technology business, located around a complex designed to encourage innovative scientific and technology companies.
After reviewing the existing facilities and plans for future development, the Prime Minister met with the head of the Skolkovo Innovation Foundation, Viktor Vekselberg, to discuss possible joint projects between Kazakhstan and Russia.
Prime Minister Akhmetov went on to the headquarters of the company “Navigation-Information Systems”, where he reviewed the Russian emergency response system, ERA GLONASS, designed to reduce the time-to-arrival of emergency services in responding to breakdowns and traffic accidents.
Kazakhstan’s delegation was shown the system in operation and a presentation on the technology used to monitor and manage the mobile technologies of the emergency services. Mr Akhmetov expressed interest in using the system in Kazakhstan and said that a working group is being set up to explore the issue and report to Minister for Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev.