Kazakhstan president speaks at BRICS+ summit

NUR-SULTAN — Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on June 24 took part in the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, which was held in virtual format. The 14th BRICS Summit on the theme “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development” was held under China’s chairmanship.

BRICS is an informal group of states comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Welcoming the participants of the meeting, President Tokayev said: “Kazakhstan regards BRICS as a truly influential organization and a key growth engine for the world economy. Kazakhstan has a vital interest in developing vibrant partnership with BRICS countries. Last year, Kazakhstan’s trade with the BRICS exceeded 45 billion US dollars. Still, we have plenty of room for expanding this volume in the years ahead”.

Speaking about the current global challenges, Tokayev noted that today’s world is beset by crises and facing the unprecedented geopolitical and economic turbulence. In particular, he pointed to the worsening of the food security.

“Over the last few months, the world food situation has gone from bad to worse. Millions of lives are at stake if the global food supply chains continue to degrade. Today, three of the world’s four major food producers are BRICS members, and the BRICS countries’ total agricultural GDP accounts for more than half the world total,” the leader of Kazakhstan said.

Tokayev believes that resolving effectively the food crisis requires a fully coordinated international response and should include both short-term and long-term measures.

“Kazakhstan is committed to contributing to these efforts by employing its huge agricultural potential. […] Kazakhstan could contribute its fair share by playing a kind of ‘a buffer market’ between East and West, South and North. In the long-term, we need to keep an open, fair, interconnected and resilient global economy. Here, I see a lot of potential in the BRICS plus, One Belt – One Road and the Greater Eurasian Partnership initiatives ushering a new era of growth and connectivity,” the Kazakh president said.

Kazakhstan’s leader touched upon the climate change issue and spoke about the commitments made by his country to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. In this regard, he announced plans to include nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix and expressed commitment to collaboration with BRICS countries in the field of technical assistance and capacity building in addressing the climate change.

President Tokayev also pointed out the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“I welcome vigorous efforts by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to turbocharge the 2030 Agenda, including by convening the Summit of the Future next year. We should renew our commitment to leaving no one behind, especially women, youth, children, elders and disabled persons. The ‘BRICS plus’ nations could contribute to narrowing the North-South gap and addressing the development imbalances,” he said.

Tokayev also focused on the importance of the regional cooperation towards the 2030 Agenda.

“We will continue pushing forward the idea of establishing in Almaty a UN Hub for SDGs for Central Asia and Afghanistan. We need to address the aggravating regional risks related to water – energy – food security nexus,” he said.

Along with the leaders of Kazakhstan and China, the event was attended by President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Vice President Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourã of Brazil, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria, President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yacoub of Malaysia, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Josiah Voreke Bainimarama of Fiji.