New Silk Road key to Asian prosperity

By Erlan Idrissov
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, May 13, 2014
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At the heart of this strategy is the New Silk Road, which will enable trade to flow easily east and west just as it did centuries ago. China’s President Xi Jinping last year underlined the crucial role this development will play in spreading prosperity. He outlined his vision for an economic belt from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, representing a market of unparalleled size and potential.

Today, initiatives are already underway to strengthen connectivity and trade along this ancient route.

New mega-projects, such as the Western China-Western Europe highway, which goes through Kazakhstan, will cut 45 days off delivery times between China and Europe. As part of this, Kazakhstan is upgrading more than 2,700 km of road in the south of the country to help reduce transport times and cut costs.

Such large-scale projects involve long-term vision and cross-regional co-operation. They are built on shared ambitions and strong bilateral partnerships. Kazakhstan’s relationship with China is an example of one of the building blocks in place. Chinese-Kazakh trade has been growing strong and is expected to reach US$40 billion by 2015. Our two countries are increasingly co-operating on cross-border energy and transport projects whose positive impact will be felt far beyond our borders.

But right across the continent, we need to find the confidence and courage to work together to remove barriers, whether physical or invisible, to trade and co-operation. We have the goal of joining the world’s top 30 economies — the core objective of our Kazakhstan 2050 development strategy. But we know we cannot achieve this alone.

The ADB will be critical in realizing this bold ambition, through its work both within Kazakhstan and across Central Asia, where projects on water, energy, poverty reduction and business development — among many others — are confronting issues that directly impact the security and stability of the region.

Kazakhstan intends to continue and grow its support for the ADB and act as a reliable partner in its important work throughout the region.

The author is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan. 

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