The 2019 Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) opened in Paris. The forum annually gathers representatives of governments, scientific and business circles to discuss key global issues in the economy, trade, government and other areas. This year’s main theme is “Harnessing the Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges.”
Batyr Bazarov, Minister of Finance and Economy, represents Turkmenistan at the meeting. Today, he held a series of meetings with the OECD top-management, and, first of all, José Ángel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General.
Diversification of the Turkmen economy, its reorientation to the development of non-hydrocarbon sectors, investment policy as the basis for growth of production opportunities and expansion of social reforms were among the topics discussed.
The annual share of investments in the economy of Turkmenistan is more than 30 percent of GDP. At the same time, the share of foreign investment is up to 13 percent out of total, while non-state investments reaches 20 percent.
The strategic course for the industrial-innovative growth model is supported by about 66-68 percent of investment into the production sector. It promoted to significantly change the structure and carry out the radical modernization of the production sector, increase the competitiveness of products of the processing industry, facilitate the development of import-substituting and export-oriented productions, introduce innovative and information technologies in the industry.
During the meeting with the OECD Secretary-General, the Minister of Economy and Finance highlighted that a human capital investment as of the special importance, as the most reliable investment with quick-payback. Human capital investments through education, healthcare, science, etc. have strengthened the innovative basis of the country’s economy.
In addition, it was noted that Turkmenistan is actively entering new foreign markets, developing cooperation with partners from various countries. It is facilitated by the creation of modern transport and logistics infrastructure, the transformation of the country into one of the centers of transport hub along East-West and North-South routes.
Diversification of energy flows from Turkmenistan as well as construction of new pipelines, including in the western direction, are among undoubted priority in the economy.
In addition, Bazarov had a meeting with Andreas Schaal, Director of OECD Global Relations, and William Tompson, Head of the Eurasia Division in the OECD Global. Relations. During the meeting, the sides discussed the cooperation between Turkmenistan and the OECD, including in such areas as improving the investment climate, government and corporate governance, trade, agriculture, competition and taxation, the digital economy and free economic zones.
Information-and-communication and electronic technologies, technologies for the production of new materials and nanotechnologies, bio-and-medical technologies are among the priority areas of the innovation sphere.
In the context that the Government of Turkmenistan is studying the possibility to join the World Trade Organization, the country’s interest in observation of world experience in trade and investment liberalization was noted.
As part of acquaintance with the G20 activities in terms of global objectives and goals of the international financial and economic system, Batyr Bazarov met with Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20.
The head of the Turkmen financial ministry had also meeting with Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. Experienced energy expert Mr.Birol noted that Turkmenistan is rich with its mineral resources, which provide a significant share of the industrial production in the country.
In this context, the parties exchanged views on such priority areas of development of the Turkmen fuel and energy complex as oil and gas processing, gas chemistry, as well as construction of the transnational Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which is actively supported by the Asian Development Bank, as well as other international financial institutions.
Prospects for the implementation of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project as a potential route for export of Turkmen gas to Europe were also considered. Investors in many countries showed interest in this project. Currently, the technical feasibility of its construction is being studied.