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Kazakhstan’s Expo: Vanity Fair or Imprint of the Future?

The EXPO-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan’s latest glitzy and expensive attempt to showcase its development to the world, has at times risked being overshadowed by hapless messaging, lackluster organization and a creeping suspicion that the entire exercise may prove a giant waste of money. (Photo: Alexey Filippov)

Recycling trashcans are everywhere you look at the Future Energy EXPO in Kazakhstan’s capital. For a region in which sprawling, smoldering, methane-emitting landfill sites are the norm, the message is a clear one: the future is green.
 
Sustainability and eco-friendliness are not obvious themes for a host nation whose economic fortunes have relied so heavily on a polluting and dwindling energy resource like oil.
 
But the amount Kazakhstan has splashed out on the event, billed as the cornerstone for a “center of excellence” to guide Central Asia to a more viable development path, suggests the agenda is being taken seriously.
 
For all this positivity, however, the event has at times risked being overshadowed by hapless messaging, lackluster organization and a creeping suspicion that the entire exercise may prove a giant waste of money.
 

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Chris Rickleton is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan’s Expo: Vanity Fair or Imprint of the Future?

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