The second annual forum was organised and hosted by students at the University of Warwick, including those from Kazakhstan, with the support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK. The main sponsor of the event, Tengri Capital, is a premier independent investment banking and asset management firm in Central Asia, headquartered in Almaty.
The forum discussed the history, culture, and economic, political and social development of the countries in the region, the state and prospects of their participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the challenges and threats that the region faces, and the possible ways to tackle them.
At the roundtable discussion, which also included representatives of the Chinese and Uzbek embassies, Mr. Idrissov elaborated on the origins and the development of the BRI, as well as projects implemented in Kazakhstan as part of collaboration between the BRI and Kazakhstan's Nurly Zhol state infrastructure development programme. A total of 51 projects worth $30 billion are currently underway, in various areas including manufacturing, chemicals, agriculture, green energy, digitisation and hi-tech industry.
According to the Kazakh Ambassador, BRI projects are based on the principles of transparency and mutual benefit, are implemented based on shared interests and shared responsibility, and are aimed at achieving shared goals in the future.
He also highlighted that the two programmes have facilitated, for the first time since the 20th century, China's connection to the Caspian Sea through the dry port of Khorgos in the east and the seaports of Aktau and Kuryk in the west of Kazakhstan.
On the sidelines of the forum, Ambassador Idrissov met with Kazakh students studying at the University of Warwick. There are approximately 60 students from Kazakhstan currently being educated there, the majority being Bolashak international scholarship recipients.
The forum also included contributions from the Advisor to EBRD Managing Director on Central Asia and Russia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Evgeny Ofrikhter, Senior Lecturer at the University of St. Andrews Dr. Matteo Fumagalli, Senior Correspondent for Central Asia at Radio Free Europe Bruce Pannier, and Vice President of the International Council for Traditional Music Dr. Razia Sultanova.