ABU DHABI, 13th June, 2021 — The UAE has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS), at the close of the visit of Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, to Kazakhstan, which took place from June 10 to 11. Concluding the two-day itinerary to Kazakhstan, which saw Almheiri meet with the Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, the agreement signing is aimed at building on the excellent relations between the UAE and the IOFS to strengthen food security across the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states and around the world. Co-signing the document alongside Almheiri was the Director General of IOFS, Yerlan Baidaulet. Under the specific terms of the MoU, the UAE Food and Water Security Office will identify UAE experts to become involved in IOFS activities under the programme ‘Food Security Strategy Governance’ and will work to develop concept notes for establishing an Independent Index on Food Security and an OIC Food Security Education Forum, with both anticipated for launch February–May 2022. Covering pre-launch and post-launch activities for both the index and forum, the agreement will run over 12 months. “Kazakhstan has a major role to play in increasing food security for OIC member states as well as for other countries, with 70 percent of its land area taken up with crops and animal husbandry. The UAE can help further unlock the country’s vast potential through its experience and expertise in technical aspects of food security, including the creation of metrics and the organisation of forums. This MoU will help implement an array of programmes and initiatives to combine our respective food security strengths for mutual benefit,” said Almheiri during the signing ceremony. “My colleagues and I would like to thank everyone we have met during our visit to Kazakhstan for the warm welcome and exceptional hospitality we have been shown during our stay. With the signing of this agreement at the close of our visit, the UAE Food and Water Security Office is looking forward to advancing a new era of intra-OIC agribusiness to help deliver food security for all,” she added. Among the dignitaries that accompanied Almheiri during her visit was Ammar Albreiki Chargé d’Affaires of the UAE Embassy to Kazakhstan, while officials from the Food and Water Security Office included Sumaya Al Oraifi, Office Director; Essa Al Hashmi, Head of Innovation and Special Projects; and Majed bin Kamal, Senior Project Manager. Adding to the delegation from the Ministry of Energy and infrastructure was Mohammed Al Mulla, Director of Water Resources Department, while the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment was represented by Amal Hassan Al Ahmadi, Head of Agricultural Research Section and Asma Ahmed Al Doobi, International Relations Executive. Joining the mission from the Ministry of Economy was Samah Mohamed Al Hajeri, Director of Co-operatives & Strategic Reserve Department and Chief Innovation Officer. DP World was represented by Mahmoud Al Bastaki, COO & Board Director, DT World and Chairman of the Board of Dubai Trade; and Saeed Al Shamsi, Senior Manager Government Affairs. From the UAE’s agricultural group Al Dahra Holding were Dr Sulaiman Al Nuaimi, CEO of Government Relations; Rashid Al Shereqi, Senior Agriculture Adviser; and Ayesha Abdulrab Hussain Al Afeefi, Special Projects Director. Representatives for the UAE’s rapidly growing aquaculture sector were CEO and owner of Fish Farm Bader Mubarak and consultant Salem Almakrani.
Prior to the signing of the MoU with IOFS, the UAE delegation had meetings with their Kazakhstan counterparts and other government officials, including the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Saparkhan Omarov, and the Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms and Governor of the Astana International Financial Center, Kairat Kelimbetov. Other dignitaries the UAE delegation met during their visit included the aide to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Secretary of the Security Council, Asset Isekeshev; Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms, Zhaslan Madiyev; and First Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Aidarbek Saparov. Their stay also involved briefings on Kazakhstan’s food exports from agribusiness representatives. On the sidelines of the meeting with Askar Mamin, Almheiri witnessed the signing of another MoU, with this second agreement being between DP World and KGZ, the Kazakh national company. As well as covering the management of train projects, the agreement encompasses the dry port project in the south of the Republic. Considered one of the most important logistical projects for goods transportation in the Central Asian region, the dry port project aims to contribute to the transportation of goods to and from the Middle East, which will support the UAE’s plans to diversify import sources and enhance its food security. The agreement also advances the role played by the UAE in the ‘Silk Roads’ initiative, which aims to promote trade based on mutual benefit. By developing the infrastructure for logistics and transport services, it is expected that channels and opportunities for agricultural investment in Kazakhstan’s fertile areas will open up, with the country’s climate suitable for the production of many important crops to enhance food security, including wheat, soybeans, rice and corn. Representatives from the UAE’s agriculture group Al Dahra Holding participated in the signing of the MoU, with the aim of integrating Emirati investments into a single work ecosystem that contributes to food production and transportation underpinned with the latest logistical services. Two other significant activities took place during the visit, with Almheiri invited to witness the distribution of humanitarian aid as part of the ‘100 Million Meals’ initiative campaign, which was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in April this year. She gave a short speech at the event, which saw nutritious meals being handed out. Kazakhstan is just one of the 30 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America that are benefitting from the scheme. The second prominent activity saw Almheiri receive an honorary doctorate from The L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, a Kazakh national research university and the largest institution for higher education in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan, in recognition of her efforts in driving the global food security agenda. The university is ranked as one of the top 350 in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings. High profile figures who have received an honorary doctorate from the institution include the kings of Spain and Thailand and the presidents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Estonia, and many other prominent figures. The UAE’s delegation visit to Kazakhstan formed the final leg of a two-country trip, with the first part of the tour taking them to the Republic of Tatarstan from June 7-10, where she discussed food security with its government officials and key food sector stakeholders.