ASTANA – On May 24, the fourth international investment forum Astana Invest 2013 took place within the framework of the Sixth Astana Economic Forum (AEF) at the Palace of Independence in Astana.
The event was organised by the akimat (city government) of Astana and JSC Astana Innovations with the support of the government of Kazakhstan.
The event promoted the investment potential and attractiveness of Astana city and its brand as a forward-looking, high-tech and intensively developing city of the world and helped support initiatives to improve the investment climate, encourage the inflow of domestic and foreign investment to the economy of the city and expand international investment dialogue between representatives of the domestic business community and foreign investment companies.
The event brought together over 740 delegates from more than 14 countries, including government officials, foreign company executives, major investors and representatives of national companies, development institutions, international investment companies, financial institutions and foreign and domestic business communities.
Speakers included Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, Mayor of Astana Imangali Tasmagambetov, Deputy Mayor Kanat Sultanbekov, JSC National Company Astana EXPO 2017 Vice Chairman for Strategic and International Relations Akmaral Omarova, French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq, GIZ/AgenZ Executive Director Andreas von Schumann, BBC Channel Commercial Service Head Sergey Stanovkin, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Partner Hazem Galal, EADS Kazakhstan LLP Director General Silvere Delaunay, Vinci Construction Grands Projects Advisor for Strategic Affairs Tahar Saiah, Ernst & Young Centre for Smart City Innovation Executive Director Bill Hutchison, Ros Roca Group Vice President Salvador Roca and many others.
Andreas von Schumann, the representative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and executive director of the GIZ/AgenZ Agency for Market-Oriented Concepts, highlighted EXPO 2017 as an engine for transformation. He noted Astana’s thriving development and the city’s commitment to “ushering in a new era.”
“Kazakhstan’s ambition is to earn a place among the leading powers of the world, and this is apparent in a number of recent commitments, starting in 2010 when Kazakhstan took over the chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and continuing with the ongoing proposal for a Eurasian Union as a further link between Asia and Europe. Hosting the Astana Economic Forum in 2013 for the sixth time, Kazakhstan has established an outstanding annual event to address and discuss possible solutions for present-day economic, financial and social challenges in Kazakhstan and the world. Aiming to become one of the 50 most competitive nations in the world, with an investment climate that attracts domestic and international investors—the fourth international investment forum made a special contribution to this,” he said.
Von Schumann also expanded on the topic of his speech, the use of mega-events as drivers of development. “The goal of these events is to strengthen Kazakhstan’s private sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to mobilise investors and to develop market segments, e.g. tourism, sustainably. They can work as a driver and catalyst of transformation for Kazakhstan, and if well planned and optimally realised, can contribute towards effectively boosting the country’s growth path.”
French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq pointed out that France favours joint projects with Kazakhstan and voiced France’s intention to be a future investor.
“I wish we would double our exports to Kazakhstan to balance our exchange at least partially. Astana’s development projects may contribute to expanding economic ties between the countries. It is important for our businesses to participate in diverse development projects. We want to be future investors,” she said.
Bricq noted that the capital of Kazakhstan would be growing rapidly in anticipation of EXPO 2017 and French companies could provide tailored solutions for infrastructure to serve five million expected visitors at the expo.
The forum provided an international dialogue platform to share expertise and discuss the most relevant issues in the industry, establish new business contacts, make important investment decisions and develop ideas and projects aimed at the modernisation and economic development of Astana.
Forum participants discussed important issues such as attracting the foreign business community and implementing goals for investment development of the region; attracting foreign direct investment in the industrial and innovative development of the region; the capital’s investment proposals to foreign partners; prospects for the development of public-private partnerships and tools of state support for foreign investors.
At the opening ceremony of the forum, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov noted the achievements of Kazakhstan in improving its business environment, supporting entrepreneurship and creating a favourable investment climate.
“Astana, being the young capital of the republic, has become the epitome of progress and the dynamic changes of modern Kazakhstan, and has given a powerful impetus to the economic development of the country. With the support of the head of state, the city has become a major political and economic centre of the country, as well as the centre of the most important international events in the region,” he said.
The economic, business and human potential of Astana opens significant opportunities for investment, development of advanced manufacturing and development of the knowledge industry, Akhmetov added. Its convenient location in the centre of Eurasia allows easy access to the considerable communication opportunities of the city. Through these and other factors, it is hoped that Astana will become a driving force of economic modernisation and the introduction of advanced innovation in the country, defined as a goal by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
“Our country is characterised as the most attractive in the region for investment. Over the years, the country has attracted more than 170 billion dollars in foreign direct investments. Kazakhstan is the leader in terms of accumulated foreign investments per capita, being well ahead of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Prime Minister Akhmetov said.
Speaking of promising areas of development in the capital, Prime Minister Akhmetov pointed out that Astana is being formed according to a concept of cities of the future based on smart solutions and smart technologies.
“At present, work has begun on the second stage of the industrial-innovative modernisation of the country. The first stage has already helped to create in Astana and in the country as a whole a wide range of new businesses and productions. Businesses play a key role in this process. We invite all interested entrepreneurs and investors to interaction and cooperation,” the head of the government said.
In his welcoming speech, Astana Mayor Imangali Tasmagambetov announced that Astana has proceeded to the formation of a second industrial park covering 450 hectares.
“Given the experience of the functioning of this institutional structure, we started to create a second industrial park on an area of 450 hectares. Here, our business partners will find most favourable conditions,” Tasmagambetov said.
Under these conditions, future investors will receive a subsidised loan rate from second-tier banks and a partial guarantee of 50 percent of their collateral, a simplified procedure for attracting foreign workers and a two-fold reduction in administrative procedures.
In addition, after commissioning the industrial park it is planned to completely abolish taxes on land and property as well as corporate income tax and return the sum of value added tax, which cuts investors’ expenses, back to 12 percent.
“An industrial park covering an area of 600 hectares is already functioning in Astana. Presently, it includes 46 projects with a total investment of up to 1.2 billion dollars, including a project on production of General Electric locomotives, Talgo passenger cars, Alstom electric locomotives and Eurocopter helicopters, the total output of which only last year totalled 500 million dollars,” Tasmaganbetov said.
The mayor also noted three projects will be developed and implemented on the eve of EXPO 2017 in Astana.
“The Astana Green City project suggests solutions for the capital in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. The Astana Mobility project aims at updating and improving the quality of transport infrastructure and the logistics of the city within the framework of EXPO 2017. The Welcome to Astana project focuses on the unification of infrastructure, the hotel industry and service sector of the city in accordance with international standards,” he said.
The forum programme included visiting an exhibition of the capital’s investment projects and a unified industrial-innovative exhibition.
According to the press service of the Astana Innovations JSC, the forum meetings resulted in the signing of ten memoranda of cooperation between Kazakh and foreign companies. These included the following:
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) (Kazakhstan State Railways) on the construction of a plant to produce diesel engines with the participation of GE Transportation (USA), Transmashdizel (Russia) and JSC Remlokomotiv (KTZ).
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and the Vietnamese Sovico Holdings Company on the Dragon City project, a property complex with a total area of one million square metres located on a plot in the Botanical Park, worth 1.2 billion dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and the Indox Cryo Energy SL Company of Spain on projects worth 150 million dollars covering activities such as organising the transportation of liquid gas, implementing a solid waste collection management system and organising the production of municipal specialised equipment.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city, SampoRosenlew Ltd. and Samruk Kazyna Invest on the construction of an engineering plant to produce municipal agricultural machinery, worth 28.7 million dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and the Energia Scientific and Production Association of Russia on the implementation of an investment project on localisation of the production of wireless sensor networks ahead of EXPO 2017, worth 662,250 dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and the Ragnisas Company of France on the implementation of an investment project to build a plant for assembling LED lamps, worth 12.9 million dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and Business Process Outsourcing Company LLP on the implementation of an investment project to build a theme park, worth 25 million dollars.
A memorandum of Cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and the Industrial Innovation Company Astana Yutariya Ltd. on the implementation of an investment project for the KazTexExpo automated production complex, worth five million dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and AllurGroup LLP on a project to build a specialised service centre for Peugeot cars assembled in Kazakhstan, worth three million dollars.
A memorandum of cooperation between the akimat of Astana city and Special Equipment Plant LLP to produce specialised equipment for municipal urban development, worth 2,649,007 dollars.