Fifth Astana Economic Forum
ASTANA, Kazakhstan, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Fifth Astana Economic Forum from May 22 to 24 attracted a record number of participants -- over 8,000 from 93 countries.
More than 2,000 international delegates, including 300 guests with top reputations in academics, government and politics, took part in 55 events at the Forum, whose theme was "Global Economic Transformation: Challenges and Perspectives of Development."
The notables included current and former heads of states, 25 current and former ministers, 40 heads of international corporations, 11 Nobel Prize winners, other renowned economists, and heads of international organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, the Club of Madrid, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
About 300 journalists from Kazakhstan and other countries covered the Forum.
Kazakhstan President NursultanNazarbayev gave the Forum's keynote address on May 23. He proposed five principles for 21st Century development, which he called G-Global Principles. They were: Evolution rather than revolution. Justice, equality and consensus.Global tolerance and trust.Global transparency.And constructive multipolarity.
The President invited Forum participants to discuss the principles on G-Global online.
He also suggested establishing an International Forecasting institute under the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists. It aim would be to better predict future economic trends.
Kazakhstan's Foreign Investors Council, which President Nazarbayev chairs, met during the Forum to discuss international trade, logistics, and creating business and financial hubs.
Speakers included Thomas Mirow, president of the European Bank forReconstruction and Development; Lakshmi Venkatachalam, vice president of the Asian Development Bank; AlexanderMashkevich, one of the founders of the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation; Lorenzo Simonelli, president of General Electric Transportation; Frank Chapman, chief executive of BG Group; Yves-Louis Darricarrere, chairman of Total Exploration and Production; Mark Albers, senior vice president of ExxonMobil; andAndreyKuzyaev, president of Lukoil Overseas Holding.
Another important gathering that was held as part of the Forum was the 2nd Eurasian Business Congress. It covered investment, economic cooperation and problems that entrepreneurs face in Asia and Europe.Representatives of business organizations from Germany, Russia, Hong Kong and other countries took part.
At the Forum's closing ceremony, its organizers announced that $1.5 billion in business deals had been signed - from memorandaof understanding to full contracts - between Kazakhstan companies and the companies of other countries, including Germany, Turkey and Indonesia.
Another event at the conference, the Global Energy/Ecology Forum, generated three sustainable-development initiatives. One was a Green Bridge Initiative for a sustainable-development relationship between Kazakhstan and Europe. Kazakhstan noted that its quest to hold an "Energy of the Future" Expo in 2017 in Astana was a good fit with the Green Bridge Initiative.
Kazakhstan also recommended developing a global energy-and-ecology strategy to be discussed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
The Global Energy/Ecology Forum also generated a call for the United Nations to develop a "Sustainable Energy for Everyone" Initiative.
Another Forum event was the Seventh Congress on Innovation, whose theme this year was "Innovative Business - a Way to a Competitive Economy."The Innovation Congress generated 23 memoranda of understanding with an estimated economic impact of $100 million.
At the congress, it was announced that Kazakhstan's natural-resources companies have pledged to allocate 1 percent of their annual revenue to research and development. The government said it would tax research and development allocations that result in innovative products at only 50 percent of the normal tax scale.
The World Economic Forum of Youth also was part of the Astana Economic Forum. Countries represented by the 500 participants included Kazakhstan, England, Germany, the United States, Italy, Russia, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Ecuador and Bolivia.
A new Forum event was the Congress of Private/Public Partnerships. Its theme was "Attracting Private Investments to Develop State Services in Kazakhstan."
During the Forum the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization, Alejandro Jara, made the important announcement that Kazakhstan could join the WTO as early as the end of 2012.
Another Forum event was a conference of presidents of Kazakhstan academies and schools of public administration and public service.
A Forum first was a CNN televised debate. Its theme was "Rethinking Integration: Lessons for Emerging Markets." The debaters included former heads of state, top corporate executives and heads of international organizations.
An event that drew considerable interest was a dialogue with the famed economist NourielRoubini, who is known for his economic forecasts. The dialogue was called "Prospects for the Global Economy."In 2011 Roubini predicted a new - and far worse -- global economic crisis in 2013.
One of his topics in Astana was the Greek debt crisis. He predicted it would worsen, transforming Greece's recession into a depression. He said there's a good chance Greece will abandon the euro and return to a national currency.
Rubin contended that Russia's "economic growth will be constrained because of excessive centralized control of the economy in recent years." The country needs to increase entrepreneurial activity, reduce regulation, and make it easier for foreigners to invest, he said.
Even with reforms, Russia's economic growth will be no higher than 3 Â½ percent, compared with Kazakhstan's 7 Â½, he said. Russia's declining and aging population will have a negative impact on growth, he added. So the question of "Russia and its future is still open," he said.
Another important event at the Forum was a meeting of Finance Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The gathering focused on economic and financial issues in Commonwealth countries. At the meeting, the Eurasian Economic Commission began discussions with Kyrgyzstan on Kyrgyzstan's desire to enter the Customs Union.
The First Congress of Central Asian Businesswomen also was part of the Forum. Kazakhstan's women account for about 40 percent of the country's GDP, participants were told. Overall, women make up two-thirds of all public employeesand 24 percent of Parliamentarians are women.Kazakhstan is 33d in the world in MOSocialWatch 2012's Index of Gender Equality
Kazakshtan's sovereign wealth fund SamrukKazyna made a presentationat the Forum called "The People's IPO," under which Kazakhstan will offer stock of national companies to the public. The first listing, in September 2012, will be KazTransOil, the national operator of oil pipelines.
Forum participants also discussed creating a single agricultural hub within the Customs Union, which consists of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. This would involve grain exporters in Customs Union countries working in tandem. Key goals would include shipping products more efficiently, reducing transportation costs, and ensuring food security in Customs Union countries.
Another Forum event was the third international investment forum Astana Invest 2012. Today, Kazakhstan has nine free-trade zones and four industrial zones that provide tax and other incentives to potential investors.The new technology park Astana New City has drawn interest from 45 businesses.
The consulting company Ernst & Young has noted that 85 percent of foreign investors in Kazakhstan consider the country the most attractive market in the CIS. Two reasons are economic stability and top growth potential.
The ratio of foreign direct investment to GDP in Kazakhstan in 2010 was one of the highest in any emerging market. In 2010, investment coming into the country accounted for 1 percent of the worldwide index while Kazakhstan's share of global GDP was 0.2 of a percent.
Those surveyed said Kazakhstan's most attractive investments are oil and gas (30 percent of respondents), mining and steel(23 percent), agriculture (14 percent) and infrastructure (10 percent).
The Fifth Astana Economic Forum Wrapped Up with the "Dialogue of Leaders: New Financial and Economic Policy." Â Nobel Prize winners, other renowned economists, government leaders and politicians discussed global economic challenges. After the Dialogue, Forum organizers put together recommendations to the G-20 countries for addressing the current global economic malaise.
Organizers also announced that a world anti-economic-crisis conference will be held in Astana on May 24 of 2013.
Organizers of FifthÂ Astana Economic ForumÂ -- The Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists, 14 Ministries of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the SamrukKazyna sovereign wealth fund, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, the Club of Madrid, and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Sponsors and Partners:
The General Sponsor was the SamrukKazyna sovereign wealth fund. Official Sponsors included KazAgro and RussNeft. Sponsors of the business program Â were BG, PhilipMorris Kazakhstan, USAID, Turkuaz, TICA, and Salam World. The official logistics company for the Forum was Kazakhstan TemirZholy.
G-Global is an online forum at http://www.gglobal.aef.kz where anyone can discuss ways to overcome dysfunction in the Â globaleconomic and financial systems. Kazakhstan President NursultanNazarbayev came up with the idea. Governments can offer ideas on G-Global, as can individual public figures, experts and scholars. G-Global operates in conjunction with the Astana Economic Forum Web site.G-Global online has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors from 143 countries. The Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists reports that than 9,000 people a day visit the site. In terms of the popularity of an economic analysis site, G-Global ranks second after the Davos Economic Forum's Web site, and is on top of all economic forums by search index, according to the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists.
International Press Centre of Fifth Astana Economic Forum:
Marina Miller: +7(7172)48-20-60; +7-701-377-26-50, e-mail:Â firstname.lastname@example.org