The first AEF was marked by the creation of the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists, whose mission is to unite the efforts of economists and practitioners to solve issues of economic development and promote the economic, social progress of the world community.
According to the official site of the AEF (http://www.forum-astana.org), for the period of the forum, its participants were about 50,000 delegates from 150 countries, including more than 20 Nobel Prize winners in various fields, more than 30 foreign politicians of the high level. Within the framework of the past events, more than 300 memoranda and agreements were signed for an amount exceeding 20 billion tenge.
Analyzing the main themes of the past ten forums (Table 1), it can be noted that the focus of the discussion was always the issues of sustainable economic development in the face of global challenges related to the turbulence of processes and events in the world. In 2012, the President of Kazakhstan in the Strategy "Kazakhstan-2050": the new political course of the state ", formulated ten global challenges of the 21st century. After 6 years, these challenges do not lose their relevance, but on the contrary are even more aggravated. If in 2012, one of the calls was the Third Industrial Revolution, but today it is already "Industry 4.0". The speed of the changes, their scale and the systemic nature of the consequences signal that today's technological changes are not just a continuation of the third industrial revolution, but the beginning of the fourth. "Industry 4.0" is characterized by a number of large-scale trends, which already today have a huge impact on various areas of activity.
Table 1. Themes of the Astana Economic Forum in 2008-2018.
Source: compiled by the author on the basis of the official site of the AEF
The upcoming Astana Economic Forum - 2018 will become the eleventh. For 10 years, the forum has become an international dialogue platform, connecting economic thought, idea and practice to find effective solutions in the fight against the global challenges of our time. This year the name of the annual event was changed - the Global Challenges Summit will be held for the first time on the basis of the Astana Economic Forum. Ruslan Dalenov, the First Vice-Minister of the National Economy of Kazakhstan, noted, this year the format of the AEF has been revised, for the first time the program of the forum is divided into three blocks - a business program, a strategic session and research. In addition, the events planned for the forum will be complemented by interactive components and innovative presentations.
The main prerequisite for changing the format of the event was the dramatic changes in the economies of the countries, the social sphere, digital technologies, production and consumption, as well as the technological transition that is taking place before our eyes. A new unprecedented turn of the technological revolution at the beginning of the XXI century formed dozens of megatrends changing the world. According to organizers, the economic growth and resource sustainability, digitalization and urbanization, longevity and the financial revolution, global security and a cultural shift - these global trends formed the basis of the program of the event (Table 2). The agenda of the upcoming Astana Economic Forum Global Challenges Summit included the following 11 topics:
Table 2. The main agenda and issues of the Astana Economic Forum Global Challenges Summit 2018
Source: official website of the AEF
In general, the concept of the upcoming event is in the formula "Eleventh Forum - eleven global challenges". One of the main distinctive features of the forum in 2018 is the updating of the content agenda, scope and subject of the event. If earlier in the key topic of the forum one problematic or one global challenge was taken, the forthcoming forum concentrates eleven megatrends changing the world.
On the one hand, global megatrends have certain challenges, but along with challenges, a window opens up new opportunities for the development of all countries. In this regard, the dialogue platform of the Astana Economic Forum will allow developing strategies to overcome the emerging challenges and smooth out negative trends, which as a result will contribute to quality growth and the creation of new promising directions, as well as the search for new development opportunities in the conditions of the fourth industrial revolution. It should be specially emphasized that the first theme "The World of a Unified Economy", declared on the agenda of the AEF, is to some extent consonant with the main slogan of the World Economic Forum "Creating a joint future in a fragmented world", which was held in Davos in January 2018. In general, the subject of the forthcoming forum reflects the world agenda, and is also directly connected with the key initiatives of the Head of State and conducted by the state policy.