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Ethio-Kazakhstan Detached geographies, connected values

Although nearly 5,500 kilometers apart, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan have common features, both of them are multicultural, religiously diversified, landlocked, vast, and geopolitically significant in their respective regions. Both countries have also similar challenges and opportunities as they pursue development and peace. Taking the similarities into consideration, both nations seek to further strengthen cooperation, exchange experiences or support each other in the international arena.

Though there are more than 100 ethnicities and ideological differences are common, it has not stopped Kazakhstan from building a united and developed nation. For the past three decades, Kazakhstan has been able in achieving fast growth. Kazakhstan Ambassador to Ethiopia Barlybay Sadykov attributes this success to the nation’s commitment and effort in enforcing rule of law.

“In a democratic society to each and every strives to be, in order to respond all the demands and visions different strata of the society, it is important to keep rule of law. Kazakhstan will always be committed to implementing its constitution, human rights, and internal and international obligations. This is the basic principle. If these rules are implemented equally to all people in the society, there should be any reason to try to change the order.”

Ambassador Barlybay also highlighted, constant attempts of the country to ensuring economic equality. Economic equality is another way of maintaining unity and stability of the country. “From an economic point of view, since many countries are governed by principles of market economy, it is important to have policies, which respond to the basic demands of people who aren’t business people, who are servicemen or any other field. These will be properly considered by the government and have enough salaries, services so they can work and live in harmony with other people in the society. In our country, in thirty years we have achieved economically, but it is time for rich people to share their assets with people. Now there will be a more fair distribution of wealth.”

Therefore, since its independence from Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been effective in realizing its promises of reform and construction. As Chatham House and other researchers indicate the economic achievement helped to build a stable society and the country to be a regional actor. Chatham House writes, “Its economic achievements and prospects hold major implications for domestic cohesion and stability; they influence foreign policy choices, and they help to define the stakes of the ongoing leadership transition.”

During this period, Kazakhstan witnessed a peaceful and smooth transfer of power from Nazarbayev following the early presidential elections held in June 2019, in which Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won as the new president of the country to pursue the process of building and renaissance.

This journey however is not free of challenges. Kazakhstan has been tested by challenges that are even feared to obstruct its developmental ambition or undermined its existence. In its recent situation, Kazakhstan first experienced a rise in the price of gas but then exploited to become violent from the peaceful demonstration. Now government claimed that the situation has made the nation vulnerable to Islamist terrorist groups. Hence, Kazakhstan is in the meantime informing the world mainly foreign mass media to understand the situation and show solidarity. However, Kazakhstan hasn’t become immune from misinformation of foreign media reports. The statement of the special representative of the president Erzhan Kazykhan stipulates the following: “The story that runs this week in foreign media leaves the readers with falls impressions that Kazakhstan government has been targeting peaceful protesters.

Our security forces have been engaging violent mobs who were committing brazen acts of terror.” Kazakhstan Ambassador to Ethiopia stressed on the importance of having open meetings, dialogues, and briefings. “Since some of them sometimes don’t cover situation as it is. It is important for journalists to these agencies. So, we’re ready to meet and talk.”

Kazakhstan as its press release states, it has pledged economic reforms to respond to the genuine demands of the public. The state emphasized solving the situation through dialogue and compromise.

It also eyes international cooperation, to fight the rise of extremism and Islamist terrorism. Ethiopia in this regard is very successful in combatting terrorism in its region and even had participated in peacekeeping missions in different countries across the globe.

With regard to geopolitical significance and pressure that arises from it, Kazakhstan doesn’t seem to be a victim. With a policy vector, Kazakhstan is balancing superpowers such as China, America, and Russia’s relations and influence with itself. Speaking about the issue, the ambassador said Kazakhstan keeps the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of another country. “It is our principle position that we don’t comment on the internal affairs of other countries. We only wish other countries peace, stability, and prosperity and to make a decision on their internal affairs by themselves.”

So, it is evident that the two countries have a lot to share and cooperate for mutual benefits. Ethiopia like Kazakhstan can solve issues of tribalism that exist within Ethiopian politics by enforcing rule of law and ensuring economic equality. It should also try to debunk foreign media lies by being open, approaching concerned parties, and keep telling the truth. Like Kazakhstan, it is advisable for Ethiopia to employ dialogue and compromise to solve internal issues and appear united and strong.

Ethiopia should also give prime focus on the welfare of its people. The practice of Kazakhstan is a testimony that economic achievement and fair distribution of wealth could pacify a state and build harmony within people. Accordingly, Ethiopia should sustain its economic progress and cautiously work to ensure economic equality within its people. And, it is doable. Ethiopia with the construction complication of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other significant projects and economic reforms can make a leap in its economic status.

The economic progress should then be enjoyed by all Ethiopians and every segment of the population. Ethiopia is currently undertaking political and economic reforms and the success of this program will determine the fate of the state. On the other hand, the counterterrorism successes of Ethiopia would be a valuable experience to share with Kazakhstan or other allies. Ethiopia though it is situated in the horn of Africa where Al-shabab and other terrorist groups are carrying out attacks, it is defending the state and helping Somalia and other nations in defeating terrorists. So, it is a practice worth Kazakhstan which is currently under active threat to copy.

BY KFLEEYESUS ABEBE

THE THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2022

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