News Digest: Foreign Media on Middle Corridor, Almaty as Travel Destination, 5G Technology and More

ASTANA – The Astana Times has picked a selection of articles on Kazakhstan published in international media worldwide. This week’s foreign media digest covers the Middle Corridor, Almaty as a travel destination, Kazakh-Turkish ties, 5G technology development and more.

Ascension Cathedral in Almaty. Photo credit: ritzcarlton.

Kazakhstan emerges as 5G pioneer in Eurasian Economic Union

Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest country, is moving forward with its plans to accelerate the development of 5G services, positioning itself as the leader in 5G introduction among Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states, reported the Caspian News on Jan. 11.

“The 5G rollout is not only on track but ahead of schedule, just 10 months after the frequencies were issued to operators through a competitive auction held from March to December 2023,” according to the report.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s agenda for Kazakhstan’s technological future has been a driving force behind this accelerated 5G rollout. During his speech at the Digital Bridge 2023 forum in October, President Tokayev emphasized the need to expedite the provision of new-generation communication to all regional centers by the end of 2025.

Kazakhstan poised to lead key organizations including SCO in 2024: President Tokayev

The Economic Times published an article on Jan. 9 citing comments President Tokayev made in his recent interview with a national newspaper about the country’s constructive and balanced foreign policy for 2024, focusing on the nation’s national interests. The country will chair several international organizations, including the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The Kazakh President also reflected on the tragic events of January 2022 and pointed out that as a nation, Kazakhstan’s citizens collectively navigated through this crisis, stood their ground, and emerged even stronger.

Central Asia Emerges as the Hub of a New Era in Global Trade

With Kazakhstan at its epicenter, Central Asia’s transit potential has become increasingly significant for global connectivity, according to an article published by the National Interest on Jan. 9. Central Asia, and particularly Kazakhstan, has become an increasingly vital gateway for China to conduct trade with Europe and the wider world, underscored by the investments made through the Belt and Road Initiative, which was first announced by President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan and marked its tenth anniversary in 2023.

“For the West, too, Central Asia offers an important alternative route for trade with Asia. As a result, they have embraced the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route seeing it as a way to improve infrastructure and boost regional trade,” the article points out

Middle Corridor – crucial route determining regional geopolitical strategies

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR, or Middle Corridor) determines regional geopolitical balancing strategies, Matthew Orr, Eurasia analyst at RANE, told Trend News Agency.

“The Middle Corridor is an essential transit route to many states in the Eurasia region. In fact, it is a route so significant that many countries’ geopolitical balancing strategies (multi-vector foreign policies) between regional powers are premised upon its operation,” he said.

The Middle Corridor is a transportation and trade route that connects Asia and Europe, passing through several countries in the region. It is an alternative route to the traditional Northern Corridor and Southern Corridor.

2024 travel destinations: 52 places to go this year – The New York Times

The New York Times published on Jan. 9 its annual list of 52 trend destinations for 2024, featuring Almaty in the 25th spot.

“Kazakhstan’s largest city, with a population of two million, has the feel of a peaceful but active rural town. The underground metro gleams with intricate tile work. The Arasan baths are the apotheosis of bathing pleasures: massages atop marble slabs, cold plunges, unbearably hot saunas. Walk the leafy streets in an attentive mood and you’ll find endless delights — like a mustachioed man playing the accordion in front of the kaleidoscopic Ascension Cathedral,” the report reads.

Strategic alliances: Türkiye’s subtle cooperation with Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has evolved from a stable investment partner to a strategic ally for Türkiye, providing a crucial link in Central Asia, with diplomatic harmony fostering ongoing cooperation, reported the Daily Sabah on Jan. 9.

In 2022, the trade volume between Kazakhstan and Türkiye surged to $6.3 billion, establishing Türkiye as Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest trading partner. This economic collaboration is further underscored by Türkiye’s substantial direct investments in Kazakhstan’s economy, which passed $5 billion and solidified Türkiye’s position among the top 10 investors in the country.

“In January-September 2023, Kazakhstan’s exports to Türkiye decreased by 18.4% to $2.92 billion, while imports from Türkiye surged by 40.4% to $1.51 billion. The overall external trade, influenced by a decline in Türkiye’s imports, showed a more balanced trend with a significant 40.4% increase in Türkiye’s exports, as per the September 2023 data from the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan,” the report reads.

Kazakhstan and Saudi company look into collaborative gold-mining projects

Trend News Agency released an article on Jan. 11 reporting on the willingness of Kazakhstan and the leading company in the field of gold mining and processing, Saudi Gold Refinery, to explore the possibilities of joint projects in the future.

This was stated during a meeting between the Minister of Industry and Construction of Kazakhstan, Kanat Sharlapayev, and the General Director of the Saudi Arabian company, Suliman Al-Othaim.

“It was noted that joint projects will be aimed at strengthening the partnership between Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. At the end of the meeting, both sides expressed their intention to continue the dialogue. Meanwhile, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia for 2022 reached $16.5 million, which is 90.5% higher than the previous year ($8.6 million),” the article notes.