EBRD President ends visit to Kazakhstan

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

EBRD President ends visit to Kazakhstan

Suma Chakrabarti met President Nazarbayev, co-chaired Foreign Investors’ Council, signed new investment projects

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti visited Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on 22-23 June to co-chair the meeting of the Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC). He also held bilateral meetings, and signed a number of new investment projects.

President Chakrabarti began his visit on Thursday 22 June with a meeting with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, with whom the EBRD President traditionally co-chairs the FIC.

President Chakrabarti also met Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, Minister of Finance Bakhyt Sultanov, who is also the EBRD Governor for his country, other senior officials and representatives of the business community.

He also signed a new investment project, a US$ 140 million loan to Polymetal Group, to develop the world-class Kyzyl gold deposit in eastern Kazakhstan and support technical education and employment of local youth and women.

The signing was followed by the 30th FIC Plenary Session to discuss the topic ‘New Energy’. In his opening remarks President Chakrabarti pointed out the importance of green and renewable energy investments, for which the Bank is a recognised leader in its countries of operations, and listed the numerous areas of cooperation between the EBRD and Kazakhstan.

He started the remarks by saying: “I want to congratulate President Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan on the great success of Expo 2017, which will also serve to highlight the economic opportunities available for investors in Kazakhstan.”

Natalia Khanjenkova, EBRD Managing Director, Central Asia and Russia, and Agris Preimanis, EBRD Director, Head of Kazakhstan, also attended the FIC.

Following the plenary session, President Chakrabarti held meetings with the Chairman of the holding company Baiterek, Erbolat Dossaev, and the Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Daniyar Akishev.

The following day, Friday 23 June, the EBRD President signed more investment projects, including for street lighting in two eastern cities, Semey and Ust-Kamenogorsk, which will not only be energy efficient but also make the streets safer. New financing will also be provided to small and medium-sized enterprises (with a focus on women-led companies) through new credit lines to Kassa Nova Bank and KazMicroFinance.

In addition, a new, large-scale advisory and training programme, in partnership with Kazkahstan’s DAMU entrepreneurship fund, was announced. It will be funded initially by the European Union and support private businesses in cooperation with the EBRD.

President Chakrabarti also met with the Governor of the Astana International Financial Centre, Kairat Kelimbetov. They signed a letter of intent about technical cooperation to develop the legal and regulatory framework necessary to establish the planned Astana International Exchange (AIX).

Following the signings, President Chakrabarti delivered a speech at Astana’s Nazarbayev University about “Kazakhstan and Central Asia: the transition to effective market economies”. The keynote address discussed the direction of development for Central Asia and the role of young people.

The President’s visit concluded two weeks of EBRD participation in events held in parallel with the Astana Expo 2017. The Bank attended the Ministerial Conference on Energy, the Eighth Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, and the Astana Economic Forum, with delegations led by EBRD Managing Directors Nandita Parshad and Mattia Romani.

During the first three days of Expo 2017 the EBRD signed projects to double the size of the first large-scale solar plant in Kazakhstan, Burnoye Solar-2, and invest in the first project under the new inclusion programme for energy and natural resources, ShalkiyaZinc. The EBRD is the largest financier and a staunch supporter of reform in the area of renewable energy.

To date, the EBRD has invested over €7.3 billion in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy, with a focus on non-oil and gas sectors, where it is the largest institutional investor. Close to €1.65 billion has been invested in sustainable energy and resource projects.