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Kazakhstan's investment opportunities at the centre of discussion at EBRD's Annual Meeting

By Sergiy Grytsenko

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Kazakhstan’s investment potential was on full show at an investment forum in the country’s capital on Thursday. The event, which took place on the eve of the EBRD’s Annual Meeting, provided a context to the large variety of other events and networking opportunities that will form part of the main meeting, over the next two days.

Each year as part of the EBRD's Annual Meeting the host country – in this case Kazakhstan – holds its Investment Forum. At this year’s meeting this was organised by the National Agency for Export and Investments KAZNEX INVEST, with support from the Kazakh Finance Ministry and the Ministry for Industry and New Technologies.

Participants will have many opportunities to deepen their engagement in the AM's host country and beyond, because, as President Mirow said in his opening speech, "Kazakhstan is truly a place where Asia meets Europe”.

After thanking the EBRD for holding its Annual Meeting in the Kazakh capital, Asset Issekeshev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, invited the Investment Forum participants to "further develop and strengthen their business relations with Kazakhstan". He believes that Kazakhstan has a lot to offer and boasts a liberal market economy with virtually no limitations to starting a new business.

"Thank you for recognising Kazakhstan as a prominent leader in our region. Our country developed an ambitious development plan, based on economic diversification and innovation. European investors are welcome to take an active part in our development," he added.

President Mirow congratulated Kazakhstan on its achievements over the past years. "At barely 20, however, Kazakhstan still is a very young country. This means there are big challenges," he said.

He encouraged Kazakhstan to remain committed to pursuing further economic diversification and mentioned infrastructure and transport as sectors with enormous potential. In addition, agribusiness is another area where Kazakhstan could play a crucial role on a bigger stage. This sector is of particular importance at a time of global concerns about soaring prices and food price inflation. Together with Russia and Ukraine the FAO regards Kazakhstan as having one of the highest untapped agricultural potentials in the world.

In President Mirow's words, the EBRD is making its contribution to unlock Kazakhstan's potential. The Bank however is more than an investor, it is also a catalyst and a facilitator bringing together interested parties to mutual benefit.

"We remain committed to support the prosperity of Kazakhstan through a strong and vibrant enterprises sector which has a potential which goes beyond the country’s boundaries. Central Asia today is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. We are here to make our contribution to put this process on a sound footing and we are convinced that this is a win-win-situation for all countries of the region, their economies, businesses and people," he concluded.

The Kazakhstan Investment Forum entitled "Kazakhstan, Investments, Industrialization, Innovations" attracted about 1,500 participants representing major international corporations and Kazakh companies, government officials, entrepreneurs, as well as scientists and economists.

The Forum panels revolved around three key themes, including the governmental policy for industrial and innovative development and investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector. Another key topic was the development of Kazakhstan's capital markets, seen as a key factor in helping reduce the dependence on foreign currency borrowing.

As part of the Forum, the organisers exhibited over 120 industrial and innovation projects worth a total of US$ 45 billion. The projects represented investment opportunities in agro-industrial, chemical, energy, construction and transport infrastructure sectors, as well as in the mining and steel-producing industries.

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