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LONDON, 2 October 2018 – A delegation of representatives of the Kazakh public and private sectors, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Zhumagaliyev, presented Kazakhstan's investment opportunities at the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum 2018 in London.
The high-level event was devoted to Kazakhstan's emerging business and investment opportunities and was aimed at assessing the prospects of the fastest growing sectors of the country's economy, as well as discussing Kazakhstan's potential as a significant trade partner of a post-Brexit Britain.
“We see the UK as our strategic partner and it is of our interest to attract the British investors who would bring not only capital, but also technologies and best business practices, necessary to succeed in diversifying our economy and integrating into the global value chains,” said Mr. Zhumagaliyev, speaking at the forum.
The UK is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan's economy, he said. It accounts for $13 billion out of the $300 billion that Kazakhstan has attracted over its 27 years of independence.
The significance of the forum was confirmed by the meeting of the Kazakh delegation with His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The main speakers of the event also included the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan Baroness Emma Nicholson, Chairman of the Board of the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund Akhmetzhan Yessimov, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Governor of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Kairat Kelimbetov, CEO of the UK Export Finance Louis Taylor, Kazakhstan's Deputy Minister for Investments and Development Arystan Kabikenov, and Chairman of the Board of Kazakh Invest National Company Saparbek Tuyakbayev, among others.
Speaking at a plenary session, Baroness Nicholson stressed, “the interests from UK are not restricted to Kazakhstan's extractive industries, or its privatisation, or in developing Astana as a Eurasian financial hub. We love all of those things, but we also want to help you diversify the economy away from the oil and gas.”
The forum focused on Kazakhstan's latest developments in improving the investment climate, including tax and customs incentives, its programme of state assets' privatisation, Kazakhstan's favourable geographical position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the country's participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the newly established AIFC, where English common law applies.
“There are three special economic zones comprising ready-made production infrastructure and tax preferences that are attractive for investors. A project on the polypropylene and polyethylene production worth $9 billion is currently underway on the territory of the National Industrial Petrochemical Technology Park. The Taraz Chemical Park is ready for the launch of the export-oriented goods production. Finally, the Khorgos – East Gateway allows to redistribute the flow of goods from China,” said Mr. Yessimov. “In the next year the Fund is going to privatise more than 70 assets which would provide broader perspectives for cooperation,” he added.
EBRD President Chakrabarti stressed that Kazakhstan has the potential to become a shining example to other countries that seek to build market economies that are sustainable, work in the interests of all and are even more open to the rest of the world.
The Forum was attended by more than 200 senior executives from manufacturing, agricultural industry, chemicals, mining and metals, finance, alternative energy, logistics and digital technologies. The participants of the event included such large international corporations as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, JP Morgan Bank, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young LLP, PricewaterhousCoopers, and the London Stock Exchange.
“In 2016, the UK exported £2.9 billion of goods and £2.6 billion of services to Kazakhstan, while the flow from Kazakhstan to the UK was £640 million. But we all would want to do far more. And as Kazakhstan looks to diversify its economy, and strengthen its private sector, UK suppliers are well placed to support these efforts with proven capability in consultancy, infrastructure development, energy, mining – a range of other industrial sectors,” said Mr. Taylor.
Delivering a joint closing address, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK Erlan Idrissov and British Ambassador to Kazakhstan Michael Gifford noted that the event demonstrated British and international businesses' keen interest in Kazakhstan's market, and contributed to expanding and deepening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
On the sidelines of the forum, Mr. Zhumagaliyev and Mr. Yessimov met with top British business executives and the leadership of international and governmental entities, including Chairman of RIT Capital Partners Lord Jacob Rothschild, Vice President & MD-Europe Corporate Development of Danaher Corp. Philip Whitehead, EBRD President Chakrabarti, Co-Chairman of Hinduja Group Gopichand Hinduja, Global Head of Strategic Clients of Aberdeen Standard Life Asset Management, CEO of Energy & Minerals at Rio Tinto Bold Baatar, and Managing Director of Blackrock Asset Management Jim Barry.
The meetings resulted in agreements on a number of bilateral projects. Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund and EBRD signed the Agreement on guarantees for loan agreement between the ShalkiyaZinc LTD JSC and the EBRD, which was concluded in June 2017. The Fund acted as a guarantor of obligations worth $295 million, for financing the construction of the mineral processing factory in the Shalkiya field in Kyzylorda region.
Danaher Corp. expressed interest in participating in public-private partnership projects for the construction of medical facilities, Hinduja Group showed interest in localising the production of commercial vehicles, combustibles and lubricants in Kazakhstan, and Rio Tinto indicated the possibility of cooperation in the field of copper mining to create electric car batteries.
The forum was organised by an influential British newspaper, Financial Times, the fDi magazine, Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund, Kazakh Invest National Company, and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK.