FIC Discusses Investment Policy, Innovative Development

ASTANA – The 26th plenary meeting of the Foreign Investors Council took place on May 22 in the Astana Rixos Hotel under the chairmanship of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The theme of the meeting was Kazakhstan’s innovative-technological development up to 2020.

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The implementation of investment policy in Kazakhstan has been discussed at the 26th plenary meeting of the Foreign Investors Council.

According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, during the meeting the council’s participants discussed the implementation of investment policy to improve the investment climate in the country and covered issues of promoting foreign investment in the development of local content, technology transfer and mastering new products with high added value.

The meeting also considered a number of government initiatives in implementing the Innovative Development Concept up to 2020. The concept, taking into account the current challenges, includes the main areas such as developing scientific competence, smart technology transfer and forming an innovative environment.

During the meeting, President Nazarbayev suggested a “Triple Seven Initiative” to promote the implementation of innovative projects.

He suggested setting a common goal of practical implementation of innovative approaches.

“Kazakhstan will give particular priority to those who establish innovations. I urge you to help our business, education and science to regroup, and set them toward innovation. This will allow you to increase the effectiveness of your own production, and then local content will be completely different, innovative. For the practical implementation of these approaches I suggest … the Triple Seven Initiative, which can be implemented through joint efforts within one year. Number one is to attract at least seven world-famous scientists to Kazakhstan. Number two is to supply seven Kazakh companies with high-tech orders. Number three is to support seven innovative start-ups,” Nazarbayev said.

The president also suggested a subject for the next Foreign Investors Council meeting. He believes it is practical to discuss the participation of foreign investors in the implementation of Kazakhstan’s second industrial five-year plan in 2014. The president has instructed the government to work out the concept by this November and complete development of the programme by next May. He would like to approve it after coordinating it with investors at the next Foreign Investors Council meeting in May 2014.

“The decision to establish the council was made 15 years ago. It happened during general consultations with the Cabinet and the state commission on investments and management of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The decision was made to invite executives of different international companies to take part in the council. Twenty-five meetings have been held since then. Our council has expanded significantly over the years and I consider it a natural process. It reflects a growing interest in Kazakhstan on the part of the international business community and the constant flow of foreign investment,” he stressed.

This year, the Foreign Investors Council has experienced some changes in its structure. Sir Suma Chakrabarti joined the council replacing Mr. Thomas Mirow. Sir Chakrabarti has headed the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development since July 2012. He has extensive experience at the highest political positions of the United Kingdom and he has also worked closely with CIS countries.

“I am sure Sir Suma Chakrabarti will make a great contribution to our Council. At the same time I would like to recall that, at the time, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development contributed to the birth and creation of the Foreign Investors Council in Kazakhstan,” President Nazarbayev said, introducing new participants.

President Nazarbayev also introduced Chairman of the Board of Directors of JP Morgan Chase International Dr. Jacob Frenkel and the new CEO of BG Group, Chris Finlayson.

The Kazakhstan side of the Foreign Investors Council has also changed.

“I would like to introduce to you the new Council members, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dossayev and Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies Yerlan Khairov,” Nazarbayev said, introducing the new Kazakh members.

The president noted a growing interest of major foreign companies in Kazakhstan, as evidenced by a high inflow of foreign investments to the country’s economy.

The participants of the 26th plenary meeting of Foreign Investors Council include heads of the biggest foreign companies working in the country, such as Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips Ryan Lance, President and CEO of General Electric Transportation Lorenzo Simonelli, President of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company Thomas Enders, Chairman of Russia’s Sberbank German Gref, CEO of Airbus John Leahy and others.

The Foreign Investors Council is a consulting and advisory body chaired by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. It was established by the president in 1998 in order to improve the investment climate in the country, as well as to step up interaction between the government and the leading foreign investors in Kazakhstan.