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On February 27th, the Ambassador Erlan Idrissov paid a working visit to Birmingham, one of the largest scientific and industrial centres of the United Kingdom.
During the visit, Ambassador Idrissov held a number of senior meetings with the authorities of the city administration, the Department of International Trade, the Chamber of Commerce and with heads of major British companies. The Ambassador also visited the IT-startup centre "Innovation Birmingham", which is one of the largest scientific and innovation business centres in the UK.
At a meeting with Councillor Tony Kennedy, Assistant Leader Birmingham City Council, Ambassador Idrissov discussed ways of strengthening economic ties between the Kazakh city of Almaty and Birmingham, as well as ways to enhance relations in the field of digitisation, the creation and development of the "smart city" system, as well as the use of advanced technologies in the city's planning and construction. In turn, the authorities of Birmingham expressed their willingness to co-operate and implement joint projects, and also promised to examine the possibility of organising a visit of a business delegation from the city to Kazakhstan.
The Ambassador also explained to the city's authorities Kazakhstan's economic and political modernisation programme, describing in detail the President's State of the Nation Address "New Development Opportunities in the Conditions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution". Ambassador Idrissov also shared with the group information about the launch of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).
During the meeting with the leadership of the Department of International Trade and the Chamber of Commerce of Birmingham, attention focused on further increasing British investment in Kazakhstan's economy, the involvement of British business in implementing large-scale economic projects in Kazakhstan, including those related to the privatisation programme of state assets.
Ambassador Idrissov shared a list of fifty priority investment projects approved by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and invited British companies to participate in the Astana Economic Forum on 17-18 May 2018.
Next on the agenda was a meeting with Mr Andy Raynor, Chief Executive, Shakespeare Martineau LLP, and Mr Cliff Dennett, Head of business development, Innovation Birmingham. Ambassador Idrissov shared key details with the heads of British companies about the "Digital Kazakhstan-2020" state programme. The parties discussed the issue of co-operation in the field of digitisation, including the establishment of a partnership with the international technology hub of IT-startups "Astana Hub", which started trading on the former site of the international exhibition "EXPO-2017".
At the end of the visit, Ambassador Idrissov visited the University of Birmingham - one of the leading universities in the UK. The Ambassador held a meeting with Mr Luke Wales, the Director for International Strategic Engagement of the University, during which the prospects of interaction between the University of Birmingham and Kazakhstan's universities, including Nazarbayev University, were discussed. Ambassador Idrissov also met with Kazakh students who study at the University of Birmingham.As the second largest city after London, Birmingham is one of the leaders of the UK's engineering and innovation cluster. A global centre for business and commerce, Birmingham is known for its developed banking sector, digital technologies, automotive industry, medical facilities and educational centres.