Prime Minister Akhmetov joins Berlin celebration
On October 25 Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov visited Berlin for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. The Prime Minister was invited to participate by Committee Chairman Dr. Eckhard Cordes, when he visited Astana on September 27.
The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations is the longest-standing regional initiative of the German business community. Managed by the Federation of German Industries, the Committee represents the interests of German companies doing business in Central and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasian Republics, Russia and the Baltic States.
During his visit to Berlin, the Prime Minister met with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had herself made two visits to Kazakhstan during 2010. He also met Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Dr. Philip Rosler, the Vice President of the Federal Association of German Industry and Transport, Ulrich Grillo and leaders of major German companies including Bosch, BASF, Siemens and ThysenKrupp. Prospects for increasing bilateral and economic cooperation were the focus of discussion.
Trade between Germany and Kazakhstan has grown significantly in recent years, with a 20 per cent increase in 2011 to a total of 6.2 billion euros. In 2011 Germany ranked eighth among Kazakhstan’s trade partners. Trade growth is expected to continue in the wake of the landmark agreement on granting German firms greater access to Kazakhstan’s strategic raw materials in exchange for technological know-how, which was signed during President Nazarbayev’s visit to Berlin in February this year.
The German Business Delegation for Central Asia in Almaty represents some 120 German company offices and branches in Kazakhstan. German companies have also invested capital in a further 170 small and medium-sized companies in Kazakhstan. Developing cooperation at this level is a priority and potential has been identified in a number of sectors including metal-making, the chemical industry, mechanical engineering and tourism.
The two countries have also expanded relations well beyond trade and economics, into the culture and educational spheres. The Goethe Institue in Almaty operates a wide range of cultural and language-teaching activities across Kazakhstan. School exchange programs, university scholarships and research partnerships between such as the Munich Institute of Technology and East Kazakhstan State Technical University, all serve to forge strong ties between Germany and Kazakhstan.
On October 20-21 the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Yerbol Orynbayev, visted Berlin to further the implementation of agreements signed during President Nazarbayev’s February visit, including developing a dual system of professional-technical education in Kazakhstan, based on the German model. At the Berlin Dual Education College, German experts shared their experience on developing and implementing varoius international projects on professional-technical education.
The Deputy Prime Minister also met with the principals of the German Academy for International Cooperation to discuss expanding the successful management training program which has included Kazakhstani participants since 2003. He went on to discuss cooperation on technology transfer and the development of applied sciences with experts at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft research institute and the Steinbeis University.