On 17 May 2018, South Korea’s Green Technology Center
(GTC – K) and Kazakhstan’s International Center for Green Technology and
Investment (IGTIC) inked a
business agreement that called for stronger bilateral cooperation on
climate technology projects and policies.
According to a
press release from South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT, the agreement is part of
South Korea’s efforts to address the global nature of climate change and need
for stronger bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the issue.
Both the GTC-K and IGTIC are public institutions focusing
on driving the green economy. Founded in 2013, the GTC-K focuses on both
research and development in as well as
fostering stronger international cooperation on climate technology; Established
upon the basis of the 2017 Astana Expo, the IGTIC seeks to drive international
partnerships in green economy development.
In addition to the bilateral business agreement, GTC-K is
expected to participate in a large-scale consulting project that involves
setting future development plans for IGTIC. The consulting project will lay the
foundation for the Eurasia Climate Cooperation Framework that includes
countries such as Denmark, as well as address the localisation of flare gas
reprocessing in oil fields where South Korean small-and-medium enterprises have
a stake in.
“Korea, a developed country in Climate Technology in
Northeast Asia and Kazakhstan, a partner in Central Asia, contributes to the
international community through climate technology cooperation that responds to
global climate change”, said Mr Rapil Zhoshybayev, president of the
International Center for Green Technology and investment. He further added that
the business agreement will also expand bilateral economic cooperation beyond
the current scope with the conclusion of the business agreement.
By establishing a basis for bilateral cooperation on
climate technology projects and policies, IGTIC seeks to tap into Kazakhstan’s
vast potential in renewable energies such as wind, hydro, biomass and
geothermal energy via the transfer of Korean technological and policy
expertise. Expanding the country’s
energy portfolio and gradually reducing dependence on coal and natural gas, the
bilateral business agreement is key in reaffirming
Astana’s commitment to green and sustainable energy, as reiterated by
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the United Nations General
Assembly in 2015. The push towards a more diversified energy portfolio is
a crucial step towards President Nazarbayev’s target of entering Kazakhstan
among the world’s top 30 most developed economies by 2050.
The recent business agreement between South Korea’s GTC-K
and Kazakhstan’s IFTIC reinforces
long-standing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. In 2012, Both
countries undertook a $4
billion USD joint power plant project in Kazakhstan and expanded bilateral
copperation in energy, plant technology and atomic power. Under the Lee Myung
Bak and Nazarbayev administrations, South Korea and Kazakhstan had sought to
further bilateral cooperation in science, technology, healthcare and maritime
shipping; the recently concluded agreement effectively expands the scope of
bilateral cooperation to encompass climate technology projects and policy.
Prior to this business agreement, South Korea and
Kazakhstan have also discussed potential
opportunities in bilateral infrastructure and logistics development,
digitisation and security cooperation at a joint press briefing in April 2018.
“South Korea is a long-term strategic partner
of Kazakhstan, with thousands of investors already operating successful
projects in the country”, said IGTIC Chairman Rapil Zhoshybayev.
energy and circular economy, Korea can help Kazakhstan by sharing its
knowledge, expertise and investment capabilities.”
As of 2017, there are
approximately more than 200 Korean companies operating within Kazakhstan, with
South Korea’s trade turnover with Kazakhstan increasing 150 times since the two
countries formalised diplomatic relations in 1992.