EXPO 2017 in Astana is one of the crucial projects for Kazakhstan, and the country is energetically and enthusiastically preparing to carry it out.
The project started on 12 June 2012, when Astana’s official presentation was held among those of other candidates at the 151st General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev recorded a special video address to the delegates. In case of Astana’s victory, he personally guaranteed doing everything possible to ensure that the project succeeded. Kazakhstan proposed alternative sources of energy and green technology as the central theme of the exhibition under the title “Energy of the Future.”
Secret voting of representatives of 161 BIE member states, which took place on 22 November 2012, favored Astana as the host of the international specialized exhibition EXPO 2017. As many as 103 countries gave their votes for the Kazakh capital. This was far from a trivial achievement: it is the first time that an EXPO will be held not just in Central Asia, but also in a post-Soviet country.
The event in Astana will last three months. It will be attended by up to 100 countries and over ten international organizations. The number of visitors is expected to be at least 2 million people.
EXPO 2017 Energy of the Future will attract the best international energy saving technologies, new developments and techniques for using existing alternative sources of energy, such as sun, wind, sea and thermal waters. Astana wants to become an efficient platform for demonstrating the world’s best achievements and trends in the area. The exhibition is expected to give a new impetus to systemic diversification of the economy and technological overhaul of the country’s production facilities and scientific base.
Kazakhstan became member of the BIE in 1997 and has participated in EXPOs since 2005. At EXPO 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain, it won a bronze award for exterior and interior design of the pavilion among 104 members of the C category.
The most important aspect of the forthcoming EXPO is, of course, the economic one. In connection to development of green technologies, Kazakhstan plans significant investments in power generation ($50 billion by 2030 and about $50 billion by 2050), half of which will be used to develop renewable energy sources. Hosting of the large-scale event will definitely spur the development of Astana’s small and medium-sized businesses.
EXPO will be a serious quality test not only for the organizing committee, but also for the entire transportation industry, hospitality sector and services. Coping with the huge traffic of domestic and foreign tourists will require high-quality management, accurate timing and excellent coordination. But the young and creative capital of Kazakhstan is certain to be up to the ambitious task.