When you look at a map of the world, there must be few countries with less in common than Singapore and Kazakhstan. While Singapore is an economic powerhouse, it is by global standards a small nation. In contrast, Kazakhstan is the world's ninth largest - and the biggest landlocked - country. In climate, too, our freezing winters could hardly be further away from Singapore's year-round tropical heat.
But there are many more similarities than a glance at the map or temperature graphs might suggest. Both our nations, for example, take pride in having diverse and tolerant societies. Kazakhstan, like Singapore, is home to people of many backgrounds who live in harmony with each other. It is something we both regard as a great achievement and strength.
This diversity also helps explain our open attitudes to the world. Singapore's tremendous economic success has been built on welcoming ideas, investment and a strong pro-business approach. Together with the state's influential role in providing modern infrastructure as a major catalyst for economic development, Singaporeans have seen their country become one of the world's most prosperous.
Kazakhstan is, of course, further behind on this economic journey. Born out of the break-up of the Soviet Union, we have only been an independent nation since 1991. But from the start, we have opened our borders to foreign investors and companies and ensured our state provides the policies and support needed to help businesses grow.
By Erlan Idrissov
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