Germany offers Kazakstan help in diversifying economy

Kazakhstan Materials 3 February 2009 19:23 (UTC +04:00)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered Tuesday to help Kazakhstan diversify its economy and ensure it does not suffer too much from the fallout of the global economic crisis, dpa reported.

"Close economic relations need to be expanded," the chancellor told a news conference after talks in Berlin with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev said his energy-rich country was interested in deepening its relations with Germany and was in need of new technology and know-how from Europe.

Merkel said German firms could fill this role by supplying technology to help the Central Asian nation diversify in the energy sector.

This could help cushion the effects of the global financial crisis, which has hit Kazakhstan as its economy struggles to cope will falling prices of oil and other commodities.

At the same time the chancellor also called for continued reform in the former Soviet Republic, which has a large ethnic German community.

"I believe that the comprehensive reform agenda should be continued," the chancellor said, referring to claims that the country was not moving fast enough towards a transparent democracy.

She said there was need for greater freedom of religion, adherence to democracy and human rights as well as the introduction of a multi- party system.

Nazarbayev is visiting Germany after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

During his stay he also met German President Horst Koehler and launched a "Kazakstan Year" of cultural events in Germany.