SHAFAQNA – Kazakhstan intends to become a main transit country linking Far East countries to Europe.
Zhenis Kasymbek, Kazakhstan’s deputy minister of investment and development said the country plans to invest over $20 billion by 2020 into its transportation industry to become the main transit country between the booming Chinese market and Europe, RIA-Novosti reported.
Enjoying advantageous geographic position, Kazakhstan is eyeing to be part of a new Silk Road project, the idea initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In 2013, Jinping brought up the idea of building the new Silk Road to connect China with Europe and strengthen cooperation between Asia and Africa. This grand project would help China build new political ties, as well as facilitate trade and economic activities from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
Kasymbek said Kazakhstan certainly wants to be part of this colossal project.
Therefore, the country allocates huge amount of finances to develop its transportation infrastructure.
“The new economic policy of Kazakhstan prioritizes the development of transport infrastructure and logistics. In 2014, the state already provided more than $2.5 billion, and between 2015 and 2017 it will allocate $3 billion annually from the National Fund. Overall, we plan to invest over $20 billion by 2020 in the development of the transport industry,” he said.
Kazakhstan has already started works towards the realization of this idea. The country is building a dry port and rail yard at Khorgos, in the desert on its eastern border with China that will help to realize China’s multibillion-dollar plans for a “New Silk Road”.
Since Kazakhstan is a landlocked nation and its economic partners may be thousands of miles away, it is crucial for the country to become successfully integrated into the international transportation networks. Therefore, the new Silk Road project is of vital importance for the Central Asian nation.
The volume of trade between China and Europe will exceed 170 million tons by 2020, according to estimates. Today, the bulk of these goods are transported using water routes. Kazakhstan has set the goal of attracting the maximum amount of this trade via the land route through its own territory, Kasymbek said.