Central Asia’s Singapore: A New Megacity to be Built in Kazakhstan
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By Alexander Turner*

Kazakhstan is embarking on an ambitious project to construct a new megacity designed to emulate the success and efficiency of Singapore, often referred to as “Central Asia’s Singapore.” This development was announced by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during the closing ceremony of the Kazakhstan-Singapore Business Forum, highlighting the nation’s commitment to significant economic and infrastructural advancements.

In his address, President Tokayev emphasized Kazakhstan’s dedication to economic reforms akin to those that transformed Singapore into a global economic powerhouse. Kazakhstan, with its vast untapped potential and rapidly evolving economy, is positioning itself as a key player in the region. The country has initiated large-scale reforms aimed at fostering a free market, promoting innovation, and transitioning to a knowledge-based economy. These reforms adhere to the highest international standards, including those of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“Recently, I signed an important decree for significant liberalization of the national economy. We launch a new investment cycle with a strategic goal to attract 150 billion US dollars in direct foreign investments by 2030, ensuring that Kazakhstan remains a key regional center for investment,” President Tokayev stated. Kazakhstan has established an Investment Council tasked with overseeing strategic investment projects to facilitate this.

Kazakhstan and Singapore have maintained strong economic and political partnerships despite the geographic distance. Last year, the bilateral commodity turnover between the two nations reached 1.8 billion US dollars, while Singapore’s investments in Kazakhstan exceeded 1.7 billion US dollars. These figures underscore the robust economic ties and the mutual commitment to enhancing cooperation.

The centerpiece of this enhanced cooperation is the ambitious megacity project, envisioned as the Singapore of Central Asia. Covering an extensive area of 1,000 square kilometers, this new city will be developed as a special economic zone. The master plan for the project was meticulously designed by Singapore’s Surbana Jurong, a leading urban and infrastructure consultancy.

Economic Hub: The new megacity is intended to become a leading international business hub, attracting global investors and companies. With advanced infrastructure and favorable economic policies, it aims to create an environment conducive to business growth and innovation.

Special Economic Zone: By designating the area as a special economic zone, the project aims to offer unique incentives for businesses, including tax benefits, simplified regulatory procedures, and enhanced connectivity. This will further bolster Kazakhstan’s appeal as a regional investment destination.

Sustainable Development: Emphasizing sustainable development, the project will incorporate green technologies and smart city principles to ensure long-term environmental and economic viability. This aligns with global trends towards sustainability and responsible urban development.

Innovative Urban Planning: Drawing inspiration from Singapore’s urban planning expertise, the megacity will feature state-of-the-art infrastructure, efficient public transportation systems, and advanced digital connectivity. These elements are designed to enhance the quality of life for residents and create a vibrant urban environment.

President Tokayev outlined several promising directions for further cooperation between Kazakhstan and Singapore. These include leveraging Singapore’s expertise in urban planning and economic management to ensure the successful implementation of the megacity project. Additionally, there are opportunities for collaboration in sectors such as technology, education, healthcare, and finance.

Kazakhstan’s bold initiative to construct a megacity modeled after Singapore represents a significant step towards realizing its vision of economic transformation and regional leadership. By fostering strong international partnerships and implementing forward-thinking reforms, Kazakhstan is poised to become a pivotal economic hub in Central Asia. The success of this project will not only enhance the nation’s financial landscape but also set a precedent for innovative urban development in the region.

*Alexander Turner’s contributions to Smartencyclopedia and look forward to his continued work in enlightening our readers on the ever-evolving landscape of diplomacy, geopolitics, international relations, and social sciences.

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