New opportunities will open up for the Belarusian-Kazakhstani cooperation in the post-coronavirus period. This opinion was expressed by the head of the department of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research Anton Dudaryonok, who spoke today at the House of Friendship at the round table "Kazakhstan in the Modern World. The leadership factor of N. Nazarbayev".
"Having gained sovereignty decades ago, Belarus and Kazakhstan faced similar challenges in the process of state building. As states close to each other, having long-standing historical ties, common interests and values, we tried to search together for solutions to the challenges of time", said Anton Dudaryonok. "We are also united by the presence of responsible political leaders who were able to overcome the trials of the 1990s and form national models of the socio-economic and socio-political development of our states — the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. The current situation on the global stage is also characterized by challenges that need to be answered: the coronavirus pandemic, closed borders, trade barriers, a wave of protests and local armed conflicts that swept the world".
Amid the growing global tensions, the economies of Belarus and Kazakhstan experienced a double shock — external and internal — from reduction in production of supply chains to slowdown in economic activities resulted from the pandemic, added the BISR official. Therefore, we can say that the two states are very much interested in finding new solutions for elaborating new development strategies. "It is on this direction that the authorities of Belarus and Kazakhstan are currently focusing their attention. On the eve of the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, issues of internal socio-economic and socio-political development, the Belarusian foreign policy, strengthening of international positions and the international image of the republic were reflected in discussions at dialogue platforms across all the regions of the country, the expert community, among politicians and public figures", said Anton Dudaryonok.
"In Kazakhstan, this tendency is also confirmed by concise decisions, which, in particular, President of this country, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, mentioned in a recent message published under the symbolic title "Kazakhstan in a New Reality: Time to Act". The core idea of the message is the formation of a new comprehensive model of state governance, which will allow Kazakhstan to respond more effectively to domestic and foreign challenges. The ideas expressed by the Kazakhstani President are supported by such structural transformations, as strengthening the status of the Supreme Presidential Council for Reforms, recreating the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms with direct subordination to the President", continued the BISR representative.
In his opinion, the state program of modernization of public consciousness being implemented in Kazakhstan is of great interest for Belarus, which, along with the constitutional reform and technological modernization of the economy, together constitute the triune task of the "third modernization" of the country.
"The positive experience of implementation of constitutional and political reforms in the Republic of Kazakhstan noted by many experts is also worth mentioning. Thus, the Nur Otan party, having introduced primaries into the political system and successfully conducted them, provided itself with a systemic mechanism for the selection, circulation and rotation of its representatives in the Majilis and Maslikhats. More than 10 thousand candidates who participated in the primaries have formed a coherent agenda for revealing topical and systemic problems in the regions, suggesting various solutions", underlined Anton Dudaryonok.
He stressed that in the conditions of modern challenges, Belarus and Kazakhstan face the need to search for new growth drivers and develop their own development strategies for the future. Our states are also trying to find the solution to the challenges of our time through economic reforms, for which there are prerequisites.
Anton Dudaryonok recalled that in 2020, despite the general decline in industrial production in the EAEU countries, Kazakhstan managed to maintain indicators at the level similar to that in 2019. As it was noted at the government meeting led by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, Kazakhstan began to recover faster than other EAEU states after the pandemic. In Belarus, following the results of 9 months of this year, the decline comprised 1.3%. At the same time, as external demand revives, which is predicted to start from the second half of 2021, the Belarusian economy is expected to return to the trajectory of sustainable growth, highlighted the BISR representative.
According to him, this is also facilitated by the foreign economic situation. Belarus and Kazakhstan are part of the SCO market with a population of over 3 billion people. In November 2020, the creation of the world’s largest Asia-Pacific free trade zone was created, which accounts for 30% of the global economy. Opportunities for the development of cooperation are opening up for the Belarusian-Kazakhstani interaction. The promising areas in which it is possible to strengthen bilateral cooperation are the transport and logistics sector, the agro-industrial complex, the food market, the pharmaceutical industry, and the production of medical goods.
There are other untapped opportunities for trade in goods and services, interregional cooperation, and the development of bilateral relations in general in the Belarusian-Kazakhstani cooperation. Expert diplomacy can also contribute to that. In particular, the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research actively interacts with experts from Kazakhstan, even despite the restrictions in connection with COVID-19, in particular with the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies.
"Thus, the only effective response to international instability is joint development", said the BISR representative. "Today, our states are facing urgent tasks of building a competitive economy based on human capital, matching our potentials and strategic programs to counter negative global and regional trends. Undoubtedly, cooperation between our states will help take a worthy place in the new post-coronavirus reality, build a diversified and shock-resistant economy. Therefore, the Kazakhstani motto "We are together" is relevant both for Belarus and for Belarusian-Kazakhstani relations".