Remarks by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko at the welcoming reception in honour of the launch of the project “Supporting the Economic Empowerment of Afghan Women through Education and Training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan”

Your Excellencies, 

Dear ladies and gentlemen, 


First of all, I would like to warmly welcome all of you, and particularly our esteemed guests from Afghanistan. 

We are very pleased to host Afghan students under the Trilateral Cooperation Program between the EU, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on the economic empowerment of the Afghan women, supported by the UNDP. 

In addition, I would like to express our appreciation for the kind support provided by the EU and active participation of the UNDP in the implementation of such a unique regional project.

Indeed, this program is a landmark for further cooperation in the EU-Central Asia format, as it is the first project completely initiated by the Central Asian nations. 

In this regard, we also welcome the adoption of a new EU Strategy for Central Asia that gives impetus to further promotion of cooperation between the EU and the Central Asian states, and at the same time reflecting the reality of current relations and charting new avenues for our strategic partnership.


Dear ladies and gentlemen, 


Afghanistan is our regional neighbour and important partner as it moves along its path towards peace and sustainable development. We hope this program strengthens our cooperative endeavours and helps the people of Afghanistan reach their desired goals – peace and prosperity. 

The Republic of Kazakhstan is strongly committed to achieving stable, economically sustainable and secure development of Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan’s full return to a peaceful life has long been one of the important priorities for Kazakhstan’s foreign policy. 

Therefore, Kazakhstan vigorously supports the implementation of various financial, technical and humanitarian assistance programs for the comprehensive reconstruction of Afghanistan.

To date, we have provided more than 80 million US dollars worth of assistance to Afghanistan. In recent years, this figure included 3.5 million US dollars for the construction of medical, education centres, and the reconstruction of roads and bridges in various provinces of Afghanistan.

We believe that for Afghanistan to succeed in building a stable and prosperous state, it needs an educated generation of young people. As a result, 50 million US dollars have been allocated as part of the government-funded programme to educate 1,000 Afghan students in Kazakhstan’s top universities since 2010. 

The international community appreciated this initiative, and today it continues to develop successfully as part of the multilateral projects, including the one launched today together with the European Union and the UNDP.


Dear ladies and gentlemen, 


We also support the empowerment of women in our own economy.

Today, one of the important priorities of the state policy of Kazakhstan is the protection of motherhood and childhood.

As a result, at present, around 55 percent of women work in the civil service and more than ten percent of them are political civil servants.

The representation of women in political parties ranges from 33 to 57 percent.

Necessary conditions have been created for the development of women’s entrepreneurship. In Kazakhstan, more than 44 percent of SMEs are headed by women. They have created 30 percent of all jobs in the small and medium-sized enterprises of Kazakhstan. 

These figures show that women have become an important resource of the economy and social sphere and a powerful driver of entrepreneurship.

Hence, women from Afghanistan have a great opportunity not only to be educated in the leading universities of Kazakhstan but also to gain practical experience from the empowerment of women in our economy.


Ladies and gentlemen,


It is our principled position that Afghanistan should not be viewed as a source of challenges but as a source of opportunities. It is therefore critical to integrate the economy of Afghanistan with its neighbouring countries through enhanced interaction and connectivity, and investing in and developing regional infrastructure, trade, and transit transportation projects.

To achieve this, Afghanistan needs professionally educated human capital, and we are privileged to be able to help.


Dear ladies, 


I am confident that this program gives you a good opportunity to advance your knowledge, gain experience, take further insights and generate new ideas for the sake of sustainable development of your homeland, Afghanistan. 

I am sure you will experience a warm reception and readiness from all of us to join hands together for our shared destiny. 


Thank you for your attention.

Created at : 18.10.2019, 18:00, Updated at : 18.10.2019, 18:00