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Austrian industrialist: about plans in Turkmenistan, Ashgabat City and market prospects

02.07.2023 | 19:38 |
 Austrian industrialist: about plans in Turkmenistan, Ashgabat City and market prospects

ORIENT interviewed a prominent representative of European business — Mr. Johann Sischka, a member of the Turkmen-Austrian Society and director of a large Austrian company for the production of high-strength steel and glass Waagner Biro steel and glass, which has extensive experience in construction, the use of high technologies in manufacturing and architecture. He told us about the company's plans in the Turkmen market, shared his vision of future cooperation and evaluated the projects of the city of Arkadag, as well as the planned Ashgabat City.

— Mr. Sischka, you participated in the opening of the city of Arkadag, what are your impressions?

— I was extremely amazed. I have been here several times before and had the opportunity to visit Arkadag during construction. I couldn't believe that something like this could be implemented in such a short period of time. As you remember, it was a time of pandemic, a time of crisis. However, it was still possible to implement such a magnificent project in just four years. I attended an international conference, there were also presentations about smart cities in this part of the world (for example, in Turkey, Azerbaijan). In many other countries, they talked about a similar project, but here, in Turkmenistan, it was implemented. This is very significant, because there are no any completed projects in any country in this region, but there is one here. So I think this is a powerful signal for the future. And this is only the first phase, the second is just being prepared to begin, and I think this is very significant.

— What are your plans for the Turkmen market?

— We have presented a voluminous portfolio to the government, the mayor of Ashgabat, architects, heads of private companies, and we would be happy to participate in future projects, including with local companies. I am here also to research the local market. We can attract technologies, management and materials that are currently unavailable in the country, but we need the help of local entrepreneurs to effectively implement all this. This is also the reason why we are negotiating with companies for the sake of cooperation and looking to the future. We have reviewed several projects. One of them is the new Ashgabat City, several monuments in it.

And we are ready. As soon as the right time comes. We have made some proposals, conducted a technical assessment, and made budget planning to develop projects. And at the moment, we are very well received. We met with the Mayor of Ashgabat, and he also speaks extremely positively about the possibilities of interaction.

Another point I would like to mention: solar panels. We consider them as part of the projects. In the context of the "smart" city of Arkadag, efficient energy and carbon neutrality are the tasks of the future, and solar panels are definitely what sends the right signal to people in this regard. They can be built into the monument — this is what we discussed with the architects. Energy can accumulate and then be used, for example, at night, for lighting. I believe they can also be adapted into local symbols. We were involved in such a project for the Dubai EXPO. Recently, two such solar systems were delivered to private companies of the technology park.

I also want to note the importance of high-quality glass in the construction of cities: when you have ordinary glass installed in your window, it lets in the heat of the sun, and enhanced air conditioning is required, which is not energy-efficient, and also it is not very comfortable. We can offer solutions with different types of glass.

— What about the second stage of the construction of the city of Arkadag? Are you considering participating in its implementation?

— At the moment I am not familiar with the details of the second stage. Potentially, yes. I think it makes sense to involve companies like us, whose construction and components require equipment and supplies from abroad. We were a little late in implementing the first stage. We have made proposals on solar panels and umbrellas. Such elements could definitely be integrated into Arkadag City during the second stage. There will also be special buildings: a stadium, a congress hall, where you can use the services that we provide. One of the elements is structured glass. It could be used in the atrium, for example. Using our technologies, you can create impressive entrance areas, lobbies.

— Turkmenistan is currently experiencing a noticeable economic growth. What industries do you think should be paid special attention to?

— There is a high demand for gas in Europe now, especially in Austria. I think this is a huge opportunity for Turkmenistan. And, as far as I see, Turkmenistan should develop modern technologies on the basis of potential profits from gas. I think there is no need to talk about it. It is important to use the resources and the money raised from them to prepare for a future where gas is likely to be less important. I'm not talking about 5-10 years, maybe in 30 years. I realized that it is very important to attract tourists here. There is a lot that Turkmenistan can offer. One extremely positive feature that I constantly note is the hospitality of people. They are very friendly. I think this is definitely a big plus for tourism and business.

— Turkmenistan minimizes emissions from industrial production. How can European companies help in this?

— There are two aspects. One is to integrate solar panels into future projects. You can build solar parks and place batteries on roofs. That's what they're doing in Europe now. If you have an enterprise, just place solar cells on the roof and use your energy. I know that your electricity is pretty cheap at the moment, isn't it? However, this is an investment in the future. Another aspect is the creation of an industry for the production of solar cells. Turkmenistan has a number of advantages for this, including the availability of its own resources.

— What proposals did you come to Turkmenistan with and have you been able to reach concrete agreements yet?

— At the moment we are discussing the possibility of opening a local representative office. It has not yet been scheduled in time, but the issue is being actively considered. This will be the next step — to have a representative office here to facilitate work on projects. But we are now only at the stage of discussions and searching for options, nothing has been painted in detail yet. That's why I'm here.

— Thank you, Mr. Sischka!



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