The transfer of the capital to Astana was the right step from a geopolitical point of view, the Head of State noted at the Forum of Twin Cities, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Astana, QazMonitor reports citing the press service of Akorda.
"As you know, the decision to move the capital was not easy. Extensive work was done. It was a very difficult period for the country: the economy was in recession and people were not ready for market relations. At that difficult time, at the initiative of the First President Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev, on July 6, 1994, the Supreme Soviet decided to move the capital to Akmola. Akmola officially became the main city of the country on December 10, 1997. Twenty-five years ago on May 6, 1998, Akmola was renamed to Astana. The chronicle of the main city of the country is most closely intertwined with the history of independent Kazakhstan. Undoubtedly, the initiative to move the capital was the right step from a geopolitical point of view," said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
This was an important and historically timely decision, which largely determined the future of the nation, President noted. He added that such world-renowned architects as Kisho Kurokawa, Norman Foster, Renato Archetti and Manfredi Nicoletti have taken part in shaping the modern image of our capital.
He also noted that Baiterek monument, Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Khan Shatyr entertainment center, and other unique buildings decorate Astana. Thanks to the Astana Opera and Astana Ballet theaters, the city has gained worldwide recognition as a cultural center.
The young capital has given a powerful impetus to the prosperity of independent Kazakhstan, opened the way to renewal and revival.
"Astana, which is among the fastest growing capitals of the world, defines the main vector of urban development. For the last quarter of the century the territory of the main city of our country has grown by three times [in size] and four times in population", summarized the Head of State.
According to experts' forecasts, the number of the capital's inhabitants will reach two million by 2030. Since acquiring the capital status, the economic potential of the city has increased by over 100 times and now amounts to more than 10% of the country's GDP.
"However, impressive figures do not always indicate the harmonious development of the city. The main indicator of the success of megacities, in my opinion, should be the quality of life of their residents. Therefore, when building and improving our capital, we must follow the principle ‘not a person for the city, but the city for the person’. Such a man-centered approach sets completely different strategic guidelines, focusing the attention of city authorities first of all on the interests and needs of the city’s dwellers. A crucially important aspect is to create the most comfortable urban environment for all residents and guests of Astana. We have consciously chosen and are moving forward on the way of building the society of equal opportunities for everyone. Therefore we attach importance to inclusive development, based on mutual responsibility and civil solidarity", noted the President of Kazakhstan.
He stressed that all city residents should have equal access to education, health care, cultural and leisure facilities, parks, and public spaces. This also applies to the need to improve accessibility to urban infrastructure for citizens with special needs. At the same time, he acknowledged that there is still work to be done in these directions.