EXPO 2017 has placed the world’s ninth largest country squarely on the international awareness map.
Nearly 3.8 million visitors, nearly twice as many as the anticipated 2 million, visited the future energy-themed exhibition in Astana during its June 10-Sept. 10 run. More than 1,400 small and medium-sized businesses received orders for goods and services totalling 640 billion tenge (US$1.9 billion), while tens of thousands secured new jobs with worthy wages.
“The capital city of Kazakhstan found itself in the global focus and subject of keen interest of the whole world,” said President Nursultan Nazarbayev. “The number of businesses in Astana grew by over 10 percent, the demand for tour operator services almost doubled and service sector tax payments into the city budget went up 1.2 times.”
Pavilions representing 115 countries and 22 international organisations, many of the former celebrating national days, filled the city with cultural sounds and colours. More than 6,000 events were scheduled as part of the three-month exposition.
The exhibit offered participants the chance to present their vision of future energy and showcase their latest technological achievements in the field. More than 140 scientific inventions were on display, demonstrating the interaction of science in everyday life and initiating a worldwide discussion of modern energy policy.
“Holding the expo has once again shown our country’s commitment to the idea of developing green technologies,” said the head of state. “I am confident that our exhibition will make its unique contribution to the global development of clean energy.”
Kazakhstan is starting that contribution with its ability to reduce-reuse-recycle. Nur Alem, the nation’s exhibit, and several other pavilions will be preserved as the Heritage of Expo. The Astana International Financial Centre, viewed as a future financial hub for attracting investments and securing the country’s spot in the worldwide financial system, will be housed on the grounds. An international green technologies development and investment centre and IT startup techno park are also planned for the site.
“Thus, the whole exhibition complex of the expo will continue to serve the tasks of innovative and sustainable development. I invite everyone to active cooperation in the work of the new centres,” said Nazarbayev.
Astana also received fame. The capital was nominated the “City of the Future” by National Geographic Traveler magazine and the organisation featured the metropolis in its documentary “Megastructures: Astana – City of the Future.”
Six large scale international conferences were held under the expo banner, ending with the first Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit on Science and Technologies. The symposium, which focused on innovation in addition to its two named topics, opened the discussion of practical ways to accomplish the goals envisioned in the OIC 2025 Plan of Action and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The closing ceremony, attended by 15 heads of state and an audience of 2,200, included an awards ceremony. The International Exposition Bureau (BIE) presented 24 gold, silver and bronze medals of honour, certificates and prizes to participants and pavilions. The Gold Medal – BIE’s highest award – was given to Nazarbayev for his contribution and success in hosting the exhibition. A second gold was presented to international participants for their spirit and support.
Medals of honour were awarded to the Astana EXPO 2017 national company, the capital’s authorities and citizens and expo commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev. Certificates of merit were given to all the volunteers and the expo’s communications service for covering the event in the media.
The pavilions were categorised by size and many nations received awards for exhibition design and theme development.
Nazarbayev preceded the grand fireworks display by noting the success of the expo was due to the “synergy of efforts of Astana and all the regions of the country.” The achievement enhanced Kazakhstan’s image as a secure and dynamically developing state on the Eurasian continent.
“At that, I announce the closing of the international specialised exhibition EXPO 2017! I am very grateful to everyone for participating in the significant event for the Kazakh land!” he said.