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Role of Japan's international cooperation towards COVID-19 crisis in Central Asian Countries - President Kitaoka held a meeting with President Katsu of Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

November 2, 2020

On Nov. 2, JICA President KITAOKA Shinichi had a discussion with President KATSU Shigeo of Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan regarding the role of international cooperation in the post-COVID-19 world.

After serving as Vice-President of the World Bank, Mr. Katsu became president of Nazarbayev University in 2010 when the University was established. Since then, Mr. Katsu has played key roles in strengthening relationships and mutual trust between Japan and Kazakhstan through human resource development and contributing to global society with his rich international experience. He also serves as a member of JICA's International Advisory Board established in 2017.

In the meeting, Mr. Katsu explained the current situation with COVID-19 in the Central Asia region, its social and economic impact, and the countermeasures undertaken by the Central Asian governments, as well as the changing nature of the region's geo-political relationship with Russia and China. Following Mr. Katsu's presentation, Dr. Kitaoka and other JICA participants exchanged views on issues related to the regional challenges and future prospects brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In regard to recovery and reconstruction from the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Katsu emphasized that each government should focus on responding to the human capital needs which included various social dimensions such as health, education and social protection (social safety nets).

Further, he highlighted that Central Asian countries will continue to have high expectations towards Japan. This is because Japan is seen as a dependable partner who demonstrates values, such as openness, responsible society, democracy, and deeply rooted cultural insights, to Central Asian countries located in the heart of the Eurasian continent. Dr. Kitaoka agreed, citing the importance of continuing cooperation through people-to-people approaches between Japan and Central Asian countries.

Lastly, Dr. Kitaoka mentioned that JICA would continue to contribute towards deepening the relationships between the Central Asia region and Japan through various development cooperation programs, especially in health sector and scholarship programs for young government officials.