Hungary and Kyrgyzstan have launched a joint development fund with the aim of involving Hungarian companies in the process of Kyrgyzstan’s modernization, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Bishkek on Friday.
Addressing a joint press conference with Daniyar Amangeldiev, Kyrgyzstan’s minister of economy and commerce, Szijjártó said the 16 million dollar fund will ensure credit and other financial instruments for investments by Hungarian companies in Kyrgyzstan. He added that they were prepared to grow the fund to 50 million dollars in the future.
“The task at hand is clear, and it is to identify as many investment and modernization projects as possible as quickly as possible and to invest in them as soon as possible,” Szijjártó said, emphasizing the importance of involving as many Hungarian and Kyrgyz businesses as possible.
Szijjártó said the Kyrgyz economy was at a point in its growth path when progress was being made in areas in which high-level Hungarian technology offered room for cooperation. The goal, he said, was to involve more and more Hungarian companies in the country’s modernization, primarily in agriculture, the food and steel industries and digitalization.
The Hungarian government’s strategy of opening to the East has proven “hugely successful”, Szijjártó said, pointing out that trade turnover between Hungary and the Eastern countries was up 28 percent and that Asian countries were investing more and more in Hungary’s innovative sectors.
Central Asia specifically, he said, was “an increasingly exciting region” and one Hungarians “can easily understand because of our shared historical heritage”. He noted that Kyrgyz-Hungarian trade had increased by 56 percent this year alone and that Hungarian pharmaceutical company Richter had expanded its share on the Kyrgyz market.
Szijjártó also said that Hungarians in Europe had often been called “the easternmost western people and the westernmost eastern people”.
“But with eastern countries and companies getting stronger, this once derogatory label now counts as a compliment,” he said.
Szijjártó said the main characteristic of the new global economic era was that the pace of change was being set by the East. That is where the vast majority of investments come from and standards for competitiveness are also set by Asian countries and businesses, he added.
Szijjártó is attending the EU-Central Asia Economic Forum during the day.
Featured photo via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page