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Discussing Food Security in Ethiopia and other Poorest Nations in the Horn of Africa

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in the Horn of Africa

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

By geographical definition, Ethiopia is located in East Africa. It is landlocked in the Horn of Africa and shares borders with Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. With its long chequered history, Ethiopia is discussed from different and divergent perspectives, including its geography, politics, economy and culture. Many politicians, academic experts and researchers also look at Ethiopia’s role within the region and its external relations on the global stage.

Ethiopia has been, these several years, in the news media. In May 1998, a border dispute with Eritrea led to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, which lasted until June 2000 and cost both countries an estimated $1 million a day. This had a negative effect on Ethiopia’s economy but strengthened the ruling coalition. In early November, Ethiopia and one of its ethnic groups, the Tigray, were desperately looking for a peace deal that sent them to South Africa.

For his efforts in ending the 20-year-long war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel prize for peace in 2019. After taking office in April 2018, 46-year-old Abiy released political prisoners, promised fair elections for 2019 and announced sweeping economic reforms.

With approximately 115 million population, the majority is still impoverished despite its huge land and other natural resources. Within Ethiopia is a vast highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which generally runs southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. There is a great diversity of terrain with wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation and settlement patterns.

Ethiopia has 14 major rivers flowing from its highlands, including the Nile. It has the largest water reserves in Africa. As of 2012, hydroelectric plants represented around 88.2% of the total installed electricity generating capacity. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, when finally completed, will provide surplus energy in Ethiopia which will be available for export to neighbouring countries.

Ethiopia is often considered the birthplace of coffee which it produces more than any other nation on the continent. Coffee provides a livelihood for close to 15 million Ethiopians, 16% of the population, and it generates $1.4 billion in revenues annually.

Ethiopian Airlines, wholly owned by the government, is the flagship of Ethiopia. It serves a network of 125 passenger destinations. It is Africa’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried, destinations served, fleet size and annual total revenue.

Addis Ababa, the prestigious capital city of Ethiopia, hosts the African Union headquarters and all foreign governments and international organizations are represented here. In contrast, Moscow, the capital of Russia, has a modern infrastructure but lacks foreign representative organizations. Moscow is not New York or Washington, and with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, most foreign organizations have exited the city.

China is the largest developing country in the world, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. However, China is visible with its investment and financing infrastructure in Africa. In January 2012, the African Union inaugurated its new headquarters in the prestigious city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The $200 million building was funded and largely built by China, even using building materials imported from China. In addition, the construction of the headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is a project undertaken and financed with $48 million by China.

In addition to the above significant points, there is currently a large Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States. There are roughly 251,000 Ethiopian immigrants and their children living in the United States. But the unofficial estimates fixed the number range upwards at 460,000, and Ethiopian bank reports indicate that close to $2.4 billion is remitted yearly from the United States to Ethiopia.

“Remittance from the Ethiopian Diaspora is critically important to the country’s foreign exchange growth,” the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) said in its official annual report. Ethiopians residing in North America, Europe, and the Middle East are among the major remitters of foreign currency to Ethiopia. It further said that a total of US$4 billion was remitted during the entire 2020/21 fiscal year.

Ethiopia – the Poorest Nation?

The Ethiopian leadership, the government and Ethiopians wholeheartedly accept the diminutive description of their nation as the poorest in order to get regular humanitarian assistance from external donors. By classification and from Russia’s perspective, for instance, Ethiopia is one of the poorest in need of food security and urgent humanitarian assistance. President Vladimir Putin reiterated the free delivery of food to Africa’s poorest, referring to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan.

Russian Security Council deputy chairman Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza discussed in early November, within the strict adherence to the Istanbul package agreements, to export Ukrainian grain and advance Russian foodstuffs and fertilizers to world markets, including Africa. Medvedev confirmed Russia’s readiness to provide its stock of agricultural products to African partners free of charge.

According to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, an agreement was reached with Russia on the supply of grain to poor countries in Africa. “First of all, the corridor will function for deliveries to the poor countries of Africa, in particular to Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan,” he said.

Putin consistently makes passionate arguments for a shift from western hegemony, while Russia is an alternative that could support sustainable development, especially in Africa. On the other hand, African leaders have to think seriously about how to use their huge untapped resources to improve the agricultural sector and raise agricultural production for impoverished millions.

Andrew Korybko, an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, wrote in an October article to One World: “As Ethiopia attempts to reduce its dependence on foreign food aid, it must first seriously consider switching suppliers in order to not remain as vulnerable to the West’s possible weaponization of this aid during the interim. Russia has become an agricultural superpower in recent years, ironically enough, largely due to its response to Western sanctions, according to President Putin during his remarks at the latest Valdai Club plenary session. It should therefore have more than enough supply to meet Ethiopia’s needs.”

According to Korybko’s analysis, the Eurasian Great Power is incomparably more politically reliable than the West, as evidenced by its support of Ethiopia during its ongoing anti-terrorist campaign in Tigray. The two countries even signed a military agreement over the summer to revive their Soviet-era strategic partnership. From the Ethiopian perspective, it would be wise to rely more on Russian wheat imports – including through possible food aid – than on Western ones while it transitions towards sustainably ensuring its food security, which will take time.

But in sharp contrast to the above, why should Africa and its leaders brace for grain imports and be struggling with rising food prices as a direct result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis? Do Africa boast of vast uncultivated land? Why could Africa not prioritize mechanized agriculture? In the national development context, and to a large extent, are not questions of neo-colonialism, imperialism or the Joe Biden administration. Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan, and many others have to get back to learn the advantages of pragmatic import substitution policies in basic Economics.

The Way Forward

Beyond food assistance that is commendable, but if it is interested in sustainable food security, then Russia has to facilitate agricultural development in Africa. That compared, China has always been sharing its agricultural development experience and technology with Africa to support African countries in improving agricultural production and processing and to help them in building their agricultural value chains and trade.

Reports show that since 2012, 7,456 African trainees have received agricultural training in China. Through projects such as sending Chinese agricultural experts to Africa, more than 50,000 Africans have been trained, and 23 agricultural demonstration centres have been built. To date, China has established agricultural cooperation mechanisms with 23 African countries and regional organizations and signed 72 bilateral and multilateral agricultural cooperation agreements.

Since 2012, China has signed 31 agricultural cooperation agreements with 20 African countries and regional organizations. In 2019, the First China-Africa Agriculture Cooperation Forum was held, which announced the establishment of the China-AU Agriculture Cooperation Commission and the formulation of a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation in agricultural modernization.

By the end of 2020, more than 200 Chinese companies had an investment stock of $1.11 billion in the agricultural sector in 35 African countries. Their investments cover areas such as planting, breeding and processing. More than 350 types of African agricultural products can be traded with China. All this ensures steady growth in China-Africa agricultural trade.

Significant to note that during a business conference held at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center on April 22, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, speaking as a guest of the Washington, DC, US-based think tank, called for an increased sense of urgency amid what he described as a once-in-a-century convergence of global challenges for Africa, including a looming food crisis. The continent’s most vulnerable countries have been hit hardest by conflict, climate change and the pandemic, which upended economic and development progress in Africa.

Adesina suggested that Africa must rapidly expand its production to meet food security challenges. “My basic principle is that Africa should not be begging. Some of our leaders negotiate for grains, foodstuffs and agricultural products that they can produce. We must solve our own challenges ourselves without depending on others,” he said.

In a similar argument and direction, the World Bank has also expressed worry over sub-Saharan African countries’ high expenditure on food imports that could be produced locally using their vast uncultivated lands and the devastating impact on budgets due to rising external borrowing. According to the bank, it is crucial to increase the effectiveness of current resources to expand and support local production, especially in the sectors of agriculture and industry, during this crucial period of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

With the above facts, African leaders have to demonstrate a higher level of commitment to tackling post-pandemic challenges and the Russia-Ukraine crisis that has created global economic instability and other related severe consequences. And this requires collaborative action and a much stronger pace of transformation to cater for the needs of the over 1.3 billion population in Africa.

Conclusion

In a wider context, as I have written multiple times about food security, especially in Africa, while a few outspoken African leaders shifted blame to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, others focused on spending the state budget to import food to calm rising discontent among the population, it is necessary to redirect focus on improving local agricultural production. Some experts and international organizations have also expressed the fact that African leaders have to adopt import substitution mechanisms and use their financial resources to strengthen agricultural production systems.

Providing food assistance is commendable but will definitely not offer the needed long-term food security. External investment in Africa’s agriculture is the best way to support Africa. China is doing its best, as also some European Union members. African leaders have to continue building production capacity and look for more resilient agriculture and food systems as answers to national food requirements and needs. Some external states are readily assisting with long-term solutions.

Reports show that U.S. Congress allocated $336.5 million to bilateral programs for Sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and regional programs in southern Africa, west Africa, and the Sahel.

Also, of this $2.76 billion, USAID is programming $2 billion in emergency food security assistance over the next three months. Last August, the United States provided nearly $1 billion specifically for countries in Africa and a further $2 billion commitment to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.

That compared, Russia’s Agro-Export Federal Center for Development of Agribusiness Exports, in close partnership collaboration with Trust Technologies and the business expert community, plans to earn (revenue) $33 billion through massive export of grains, meat, poultry and other agricultural products to Africa.

According to Interfax News Agency and TASS reports, the plan remotely aims at marginalizing local production, cutting out foreign contributions to support livelihoods through local production and making African leaders spend their hard-earned revenue on food imports instead of supporting agricultural production. The business concept report says eight African countries have already been identified and chosen as target markets for the delivery of agricultural products. These are Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tunisia and South Africa.

In sharp contrast to food-importing African countries, Zimbabwe has increased wheat production, especially during this crucial time of the current Russia-Ukraine crisis. This achievement was attributed to efforts in mobilizing local scientists to improve the crop’s production. Zimbabwe is an African country that has been under Western sanctions for 25 years, hindering imports of much-needed machinery and other inputs from driving agriculture, but now working towards food sufficiency in southern Africa.

Addressing food security in these changing geopolitical times should be the key in the 21st century for Africa. From the discussions above and various perspectives, African leaders have to focus, mobilize and redirect both human and financial resources toward increasing local production, the surest approach to attain sustainable food security for over 1.3 billion population in Africa, and this falls directly within the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

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Rosatom Plans Small Nuclear Power Plants For Africa

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Rosatom power solar power

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh 

At least 600 million people in Africa without access to electricity and inadequate funding for power generation, Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation now proposes to provide, over the next several years, mini nuclear plants for generating reliable and affordable power in a number of African countries.

According to the latest information obtained at the Atomexpo-2022, Rosatom is discussing, as part of the energy mix, the use of small nuclear power plants (SNPP) and floating nuclear plants for African countries. The African Energy Chamber reports say Africa expects to achieve universal access to affordable electricity by 2030. Many countries are finding ways to expand access to electricity.

President of Rusatom Overseas (part of Rosatom state corporation) Yevgeny Pakermanov said at the Atomexpo-2022 forum that his company is holding a series of dialogues with African colleagues. “We continue to work with Rwanda, Nigeria and other countries of the region. A floating NPP may be very promising in this region, and we are also discussing the use of floating nuclear heat and power plants for the African region,” he said.

According to figures provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there are around 50 projects and concepts for small nuclear power plants, or small modular reactors (SMRs), as the IAEA defines them, throughout the world. The majority of them are at various stages of development.

Leaders of African governments are keenly interested in adopting nuclear energy to end chronic power deficit, but some may be forced either to keep on postponing or completely abandon the project primarily due to lack of finance or credit guarantees.

Usually, Russia does not grant concessionary loans and has not publicly allocated a budget for Africa. But in this exceptional case, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement, and the total cost of construction is fixed at $30 billion. Russia provides Egypt with a loan of $25 billion, which will cover 85% of the work. The Egyptian side will cover the remaining expenses by attracting private investors. Under the agreement, Egypt is to start payments on the loan, which was provided at 3% per annum, in October 2029.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated that Rosatom is considering a number of projects that are of interest to Africans, for instance, the creation of a nuclear research and technology centre in Zambia. Nigeria has a similar project. There are good prospects for cooperation with Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Foreign and local Russian media reported that Russia wanted to turn nuclear energy into a major export industry. It has signed several agreements with as many as 14 African countries with no nuclear tradition, including Rwanda and Zambia, and is set to build a large nuclear plant in Egypt.

Nuclear is too high an economic risk for countries that cannot afford to make big mistakes. However, they must be guided by Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan; millions of people are still suffering from radiation and radiation-related diseases today.

Currently, many African countries are facing an energy crisis for both domestic and industrial use. Energy poverty affects millions of their citizens. Over 600 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, out of more than one billion people, still do not have electricity. The industrial sector needs power for its operations and production for the newly established single continental market.

The international forum Atomexpo-2022, held November 21-22, is one of the most important events in the global nuclear sector. Leading experts and specialists from over 50 countries participated in the forum under the theme Nuclear Spring: Creating a Sustainable Future.

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Gearing Up for mid-December White House’s African Leaders Summit

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African Leaders Summit

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

As the White House gears up for the mid-December African Leaders Summit, several reports indicated that a few African countries might not attend. U.S. President Joe Biden plans to hold an African leaders’ gathering in Washington as a further major step to strengthen geopolitical dialogue and multifaceted relations between the United States and Africa.

The White House National Security Council in November told Today News Africa the criteria for inviting African governments to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit scheduled for December 13-15. While the primary goal is to host a broadly inclusive gathering of high-powered delegations from across the African continent, a number of African countries were blacklisted.

In a statement, four countries were not invited because they were suspended by the African Union (AU) following military coups and counter-coups. Currently, four countries – Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan, and Mali – are suspended by the AU and were not invited. All four countries not invited are currently run by strong men who took political power with guns. The United States recognizes most African nations, except a few like Western Sahara.

According to reports monitored by this author, the U.S.-African summit will discuss the emerging global order and changing geopolitical and economic issues and will also offer enormous funds for various development projects as well as for good governance and human rights. Under the plan, Washington says the summit will focus on existing challenges, especially those relating to peace and security, food security to climate change and poverty alleviation directions across Africa.

The high-level dialogue is expected to set the scene for reviewing the opportunities for the United States and corporate leaders from various African public and private sectors and review thoroughly how to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa.

That U.S.-Africa summit “will demonstrate the United States enduring commitment to Africa and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities. Africa will shape the future – not just the future of the African people, but of the world. Africa will make the difference in tackling the most urgent challenges and seizing the opportunities we all face,” according to a statement from Biden Administration.

Washington considers the United States’ collaboration with leaders from African governments, civil society, the private sector, and the African diaspora would help tackle some of the existing and future challenges, especially in efforts to offer billions of dollars for various development projects, including building badly needed infrastructure and support energy security for the population.

In terms of broadening trade and economic cooperation, according to our monitoring sources, African leaders would be required to bring huge delegations for special sessions during the mid-December summit. Together with their potential American investors would examine ways for exploring and leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA aims to create a single market with an estimated population of 1.3 billion population and ultimately requires all kinds of business services and consumable products. Quite challenging, though, but there are new legislations that stipulate localizing production and distribution inside Africa.

The United States government and private sector leaders, together with African political and corporate business leaders, have been consistently working over these years to share insights on critical issues and policies influencing the US-Africa economic partnership.

The U.S. Agency for International Development would be working closely with African institutions and organizations; it would be working closely on the participation of Africans. During these past months, USAID has provided approximately $1.3 billion in aid to the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are listed as beneficiaries to help stave off mass starvation and deaths in the drought-stricken region of Africa.

Further to that, Dana Banks, White House Senior Director for Africa, said the White House administration has been pushing for the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign that would drive billions of dollars of investment in Africa. Summit details will soon be announced further detailed information, according to Washington and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

In August, on her African trip, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the long-planned trip is not part of global competition with either of America’s rivals, but it is part of a series of high-level U.S. engagements “that aim to affirm and strengthen our partnerships and relationships with African leaders and people.”

Her trip from Aug. 4-7 was followed immediately by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visits to South Africa, Congo and Rwanda from Aug. 7-11. “We’re not catching up. They are catching up,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “We have been engaging with this continent for decades, and even my own career is very much evidence of that.”

Thomas-Greenfield first went to Africa as a student in the 1970s, and in her career as a U.S. diplomat, she rose to be Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2013 to 2017. Many American corporate business leaders have visited and invested significantly in various sectors in Africa.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made a resonating announcement that the foundation will spend $7 billion over the next four years to improve health, gender equality and agriculture across Africa. Strengthening and supporting these sectors have become necessary due to increasing complaints about lack of funds and, worse, due to the negative impact of geopolitical changes.

It will further continue to invest in researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators and healthcare workers who are working to unlock the tremendous human potential that exists across the continent, according to the statement, noting that the Russia-Ukraine crisis was reducing the amount of aid flowing to the continent and created global instability. It appeals to global leaders to step up their commitment to finding solutions to multiple problems in African countries.

Noteworthy to reiterate here that President Biden has held several summits since his inauguration in January 2021. For instance, on December 9-10, 2021, President Biden held the first of two Summits for Democracy, which brought together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector in a shared effort to set forth “an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action.”

Now the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit comes just a few months after Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken unveiled the new U.S. policy for Africa in South Africa in August. The new policy says that the United States will pursue four main objectives in Africa. The four objectives of the new strategy are fostering openness and open societies, delivering democratic and security dividends, advancing pandemic recovery and economic opportunities, and supporting conservation, climate adaptation and a just energy transition.

The new strategy begins by acknowledging that “Sub-Saharan Africa plays a critical role in advancing global priorities to the benefit of Africans and Americans” and that it “has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, largest free trade areas, most diverse ecosystems, and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations (UN).”

To realize its ‘openness and open societies’ objective, the U.S. will promote government transparency and accountability, increase the U.S. focus on the rule of law, justice, and dignity, and assist African countries to more transparently leverage their natural resources for sustainable development.

For democracy and security dividends, the United States will focus on “working with allies and regional partners to stem the recent tide of authoritarianism and military takeovers, backing civil society, empowering marginalized groups, centring the voices of women and youth, and defending free and fair elections, improving the capacity of African partners to advance regional stability and security and reducing the threat from terrorist groups to the United States Homeland, persons, and diplomatic and military facilities.”

The mid-December Summit has already gained wide popularity among African leaders and, for the second time, will be the biggest U.S.-Africa gathering in Washington since former President Barack Obama hosted African leaders in 2014.

 In addition, Obama also started the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which brings every year a group of young Africans to the White House. Until today, YALI continues to run various educational and training programmes, including seminars for Africans. The Times Higher Education index indicated that approximately 43,000 Africans have currently enrolled on and are studying in American universities.

Angolan President, João Lourenço, in an interview with Hariana Veras, White House correspondent, praised President Joseph R. Biden Jr. for hosting the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, saying that it will help create a win-win partnership between the United States and Africa, accelerating industrialization, increase direct foreign investment and further cement the already good collaboration between Angola and the United States.

According to that report, he pointed to the assertiveness of the Biden administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, highlighted America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people, as well as emphasize the depth and breadth of the United States commitment to the African continent.

The Angolan leader advised that the Russian and Ukraine war should open the eyes of advanced countries to lead efforts in increasing investment in more alternative energy sources besides the traditionally used energy sources. As the Russia-Ukraine war rages in Europe and its ramifications are extended to other parts of the world, including in Africa, Lourenço called for increased food production and investment in African nations, saying that the global food crisis has badly affected Africa.

Despite some negative criticisms, African leaders continue sourcing different kinds of economic assistance and support provided by the United States. The African leaders are mostly western-oriented, admire its never-failing practical soft-power play, and, in turn, maintain long-term geopolitical interest with the West. The United States has political, economic and cultural ties with independent African countries.

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Kazakhstan Opens Doors to Broader External Cooperation

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Kazakhstan broader external

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

Kazakhstan, one of the Russian neighbours and former Soviet republics, opens its doors to a broader external expansion. Given its geographical location and combined with current political reforms aimed at transforming its economy from the Soviet system to a more modernized system infused with a western culture of life, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has chosen multi-vector policies.

Reforms began to be implemented after the election of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in June 2019. Tokayev has consistently advocated for more openness and improving necessary conditions for attracting foreign business and investors to participate in the various economic sectors, including the cultural and educational sectors.

“I believe that given our geopolitical situation, given the fact that we have over $500 billion involved in our economy, given that there are global companies operating in our market, we simply have to pursue a multi-vector, as they say now, foreign policy,” Tokayev said in the context of growing confrontations, contractions and emerging new world order.

The 69-year-old Tokayev took office in 2019 after Kazakhstan’s previous president resigned amid protests. After surviving unrest in January triggered by fuel price rises, Tokayev unveiled reforms – including constitutional amendments and a hike in the minimum wage – and called snap elections.

Amid popular demand for sweeping change, he has recently accelerated plans to increase the amount of Kazakh oil exported west across the Caspian Sea, avoiding Russia to the north. It currently relies heavily on the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), one of the world’s largest pipelines that cross Russia to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. Out of total exports of 68 million tonnes a year, 53 million tonnes of Kazakh oil move through it.

In addition, in late October, Tokayev said that in the coming years, the authorities of the republic plan to launch a network of border trade and economic centres with Russia, China, and Central Asian countries. In September, Tokayev emphasized that Kazakhstan would make every effort to further develop allied relations with Russia, an eternal strategic partnership with China, and comprehensive cooperation with brotherly Central Asian states.

Declaring the creation of a fair Kazakhstan as its main goal, Tokayev has emphasized that the foreign policy course must also aim at the protection of national interests, strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested states, and international peace and security.

In pursuit of sharing the fresh experience of nation-building, the president noted the importance of better quality education and the implementation of best global practices in domestic higher educational establishments at a meeting with Almaty students and young researchers, according to the presidential press service.

“Academic cooperation with the leading foreign universities is increasing on my orders. Branches of higher educational establishments from the UK, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, South Korea and the United States will open in Kazakhstan shortly. The integration into the global education space will bolster the competitiveness of our higher educational establishments and will raise the appeal of Kazakh higher education,” the press service quoted Tokayev as saying.

Interestingly, the English language has been gaining popularity among the younger generation since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It, however, projected that the people of Kazakhstan in the future would speak three languages (Kazakh, Russian and English). As part of promoting a multicultural and friendly society, Kazakhstan has seriously made in-bound tourism as one of its priority spheres, so it has established a visa-free regime for citizens of 54 countries, including the European Union and OECD member states, the United States, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Even long before the war, Kazakhstan had resisted significant leverages, including a push by Moscow in 2020 for a single currency and joint parliament within the post-Soviet Eurasian Economic Union, as part of a five-year strategic plan.

Noteworthy to reiterate here that during the discussions at St. Petersburg Economic Forum held in June, where Tokayev shared the stage with Putin, he explicitly said his government did not and would not recognize Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine and that Kazakhstan upheld the inviolability of internationally recognized borders.

Kazakhstan’s government has noticeably pushed back publicly against territorial claims made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, souring relations between the former Soviet republic and Moscow. Russia and Kazakhstan share the world’s longest continuous land border, prompting concern among some Kazakhs about the security of a country with the second-biggest ethnic Russian population among ex-Soviet republics after Ukraine.

Kazakhstan has a GDP of $179.332 billion and an annual growth rate of 4.5%. Per capita, Kazakhstan’s GDP stands at $9,686. Its increased role in global trade and central positioning on the new Silk Road gave the country the potential to open its markets to billions of people. Further to this, it joined the World Trade Organization in 2015.

According to some reports, Kazakhstan has an abundant supply of accessible mineral and fossil fuel resources. Development of petroleum, natural gas, and mineral extractions has attracted most of the over $40 billion in foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 and accounts for some 57% of the nation’s industrial output (or approximately 13% of gross domestic product).

On 6 March 2020, the Concept of the Foreign Policy of Kazakhstan for 2020–2030 was announced. The document outlines the following main points:

– An open, predictable and consistent foreign policy of the country, which is progressive in nature and maintains its endurance by continuing the course of the First President – the country at a new stage of development;

– Protection of human rights, development of humanitarian diplomacy and environmental protection;

– Promotion of the country’s economic interests in the international arena, including the implementation of state policy to attract investment;

– Maintaining international peace and security;

– Development of regional and multilateral diplomacy, which primarily involves strengthening mutually beneficial ties with key partners – Russia, China, the United States, Central Asian states and the EU countries, as well as through multilateral structures – the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and a few others.

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country, located in Central Asia and partly in Eastern Europe. It declared independence on 16 December 1991, thus becoming the last Soviet republic to declare political independence. Nursultan Nazarbayev became the country’s first President. Records show that he was replaced by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

It was the last Soviet republic to declare independence after the Soviet collapse in 1991. With approximately 20 million population, Kazakhstan strictly recognizes its political freedom, national interest and territorial sovereignty and is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

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