Three panel sessions were held during the event, on “Transformation of the Economy of Kazakhstan”, “Logistics and the Silk Road” and “Protection of Investments - Legal and Tax Framework Conditions”, which were addressed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yermek Kosherbayev, and the Head of the Representative Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan in Almaty Erlan Iskakov.
During the “Transformation of the Economy of Kazakhstan” panel session, questions were raised on the diversification of the Kazakh economy away from raw material industries, the expansion of alternative energy sources, and the development of production in Kazakhstan. Several governmental initiatives implemented to inform the public, business community and financial institutions of the country’s investment climate were noted.
The investment potential of Central Asia is estimated at $170 billion, of which Kazakhstan occupies a major share of $100 billion. During the event, attention was paid to insufficient funding for startups in various sectors, as well as the forecasted reduction in the global flow of foreign direct investment, including into Kazakhstan. Experts positively noted the opening of the credit line of the Hermes insurance company in Kazakhstan.
In the “Logistics and the Silk Road” panel session, experts noted an overvalued 25 percent margin cost of logistics for final products in Kazakhstan, compared to a global standard of approximately 11 percent. Building on Kazakhstan’s improved ranking of 71st in the logistics efficiency index, close interaction between research, public associations and government agencies, as well as the digitalization of the logistics sector, should be strengthened.
At the “Protection of Investments - Legal and Tax Framework Conditions” session, favorable state measures were presented to foreign investors, including the activities of institutions such as the Council of Foreign Investors, the Council on Improving the Investment Climate, the Council on Attracting Investments, the introduction of the Investment Ombudsman, the use of English law in the Astana International Financial Centre and legal mechanisms for resolving disputes. The positive impact of building the algorithm for “Foreign Missions - Center - Regions” interaction, creating a Direct Investment Fund, liberalizing the visa regime and addressing visa issues by Kazakh Invest, as well as creating a joint committee (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kazakh Invest and the Anti-Corruption Agency) to protect cases, were discussed.
In turn, representatives of German companies drew attention to the following business issues in Kazakhstan: tax exemption and the provision of customs benefits, and lack of attention to the activities of small and medium foreign investors. Furthermore, the use of English law places a heavy burden on the investor. In this regard, foreign investors were invited to visit the city of Nur-Sultan to resolve such issues and hold meetings with key stakeholders.
Overall, the forum was highly constructive, with interest being shown in continuing mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and in pursuing dialogue at different levels.
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