Society • 17 April, 2020

Crisis is an impulse to revise many priorities — Sanat Kushkumbayev

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A few days ago, the EAEU Heads of State made a joint statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and the prime minister of Armenia expressed their readiness to join forces to confront the common threat — the coronavirus pandemic. Sanat Kushkumbayev, deputy director of the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies under the President, Doctor of Political Sciences, shared his opinion about the importance of such coordination with Primeminister.kz.

The expert notes the coordination of actions of various countries in the current environment. Especially those who are members of various international associations and organizations.

According to him, now, in the conditions of the sanitary and medical crisis, the best answer and reaction should be closer, close-knit cooperation, coordination of various countries to counter this challenge, this threat.

Of course, in the medical field now different countries are supporting each other. For example, Russia provided support to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan, in turn, expressed its readiness to help all neighbors and partners.

The second important aspect is economic cooperation.

“Now isolation measures are being taken. As a result, the chains of trade production supplies break off. In any case, it is necessary to look at the world after the crisis. That is, now, in the midst of a crisis, it is important to maintain these contacts and try to stop the negative consequences of a reduction in trade. What the EAEU members are doing, and, in particular, the joint statement, just means that they are aware of and understand all the problems that the countries are facing now and in general the unification,” said Sanat Kushkumbayev.

The expert called what damage this crisis will cause to the global economy and various trade economic associations in the international arena.

“Now we see the crisis hurt the supply chain connections. The prices of commodities decreased tangibly and painfully. There is a concomitant financial crisis. The crisis hits the self-sufficiency of countries. Only large economies can cope with it more successfully. Such as China, Japan, USA, Germany,” he said.

In order to minimize the effects of the crisis, this coordination between countries is needed. At the same time, it is very important to develop localization, import substitution, and intensify regionalization processes.

“We are seeing now on a global scale a reappraisal of the concept of globalization. The EAEU, in principle, was created in order to enhance the economic self-sufficiency of the entities of both the association and the members of this association. This is the soil that is needed for unification. Now countries will seek to reduce transport costs. That is, a replacement for the global supply chain will be sought either from the nearest neighbors, or in trade associations. Countries will seek resources to minimize the effects of the crisis in cooperation with their close neighbors. Be it Central Asia or the EAEU. The leitmotif of this joint statement by the EAEU leaders is precisely coordination,” Kushkumbayev said.

The expert believes that Kazakhstan will need to pay attention to the following sectors — the agricultural sector, processing, material production, and IT.

“Looking ahead, we can say that the structure of the economy will have to change, and those enterprises that were uncompetitive will probably have to leave or transform. Now that the global supply chain is disrupted, we see how a similar crisis can affect different countries. For example, the service sector in many countries was excessively large. The crisis will obviously seriously reduce this area. The manufacturing sector is the foundation of the well-being and security of any country. An industrial complex that is directly related to food security. In times of crisis, people will in any case eat and will need their own food production. Kazakhstan and other EAEU countries will need to pay attention to this sector. This is something that will not allow in any crisis to inflict tangible damage to economic security,” Kushkumbayev said.

The expert also emphasized that digitalization has received a new impetus. Kazakhstan has always paid great attention to the digital agenda. The structure of professions is literally changing in front of our eyes. New professions appear, some organizations go into remote mode. Distance medicine, distance education, monitoring in the field of industrial production, housing and communal services, etc. are appearing.

“The crisis is an impulse to revise many priorities. A statement by the EAEU Heads of State on a business-like, panicky note addresses the issue of the crisis as not only challenges and threats, but also new opportunities and new directions. Like any crisis, it has solutions. It is very important to prioritize properly, correctly and in due time. Kazakhstan is aware of this, and the President outlined the ways to overcome the crisis,” said Sanat Kushkumbayev.

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