ASTANA – Kazakhstan will make a major move to attract more foreign investors this year when it passes a new law to create better conditions for them, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced at the official opening session of the Asian Development Bank’s 47th annual board of governors meeting here on May 4.
Addressing the more than 2,000 delegates to the meeting from 64 ADB member countries, President Nazarbayev said the country will accelerate progress in the area of attracting investments as a key component of the country’s efforts to ensure sustainable economic growth. “The basis of our economy is active work aimed at attraction of investments, both foreign and domestic. We are eager to create as favourable investment climate as possible,” he noted.
The President further added that a new law fostering foreign investments will be adopted in Kazakhstan this year. Under the bill, investors will be exempt from corporate income tax for ten years, which would be a significant relief for investing businesses. Besides, the law will also bring about the payment of investment subsidies and ease in the processes of bringing foreign labour into the country. The new legal act will also provide for further stability and predictability of business-related legislation in Kazakhstan.
With regard to administrative procedures, Nazarbayev proposed a “one stop shop” investment mechanism and said the institute of Investment Ombudsman for cooperation with investors has been established.
In his remarks, noting the 20th anniversary of cooperation between Kazakhstan and ADB, the President said the bank invested around $3.5 billion during the period. Since last year, Kazakhstan began acting as a donor within the Bank’s activities.
“Kazakhstan has signed agreements on mutual protection of investments with 14 Asian countries. The share of investments from Asia reached 17 percent of the total investments [in Kazakhstan] in 2013,” the President said. “The ADB is a major source of long-term investments to the countries of Central Asia, Middle East and South East Asia. Moreover, the credibility of the bank spreads beyond the Asia-Pacific region, which is proved by participation in Bank’s activities by such leading countries as the U.S., Canada, and Germany.”
Speaking of Kazakhstan’s attractiveness to foreign investors, Nazarbayev emphasised “a consecutive phase of the Silk Way renaissance which will definitely be heralded as the new era of Asian development.” Kazakhstan is strategically positioned to become a bridge between East and West, he explained.
“Our country actively participates in the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme. Under the programme, jointly with the Bank, we implement a crucial project on the reconstruction of the Western Europe – Western China transport corridor,” the President said.
“The world’s most dynamically developing region, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and many other countries, is also the most heavily populated one, which is a basis of the growing market demand,” the Kazakh leader said. “According to experts, by 2050 more than half of the world trade, investments and GDP will accumulate in Asia. This trend will be reinforced by growing urbanization, formation of large agglomerations, and increasing manufacturing capacities. This scenario leads to the rise of the region and beginning of the ‘age of Asia.’”
According to Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan, bordering the region with such enormous growth potential, may well be considered by investors as a hub for creating new chains of value added productions, integration of financial markets, and strengthening of cultural ties and multilateral cooperation. This potential presents new and major opportunities for businesses operating in Kazakhstan.
The Kazakh President also underscored that joint activities by Kazakhstan and ABD are aimed at facilitating economic growth in the entire Asian region.
“Kazakhstan is among the most attractive investment destinations in the CIS,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said earlier at the same ADB board of governors gathering which lasted from May 2-5.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, Kazakhstan is among top 50 countries with the easiest markets to do business in, making it a good choice for international businesses. This helps attracting foreign businesses and diversifying Kazakhstan’s economy. Already, more than $190 billion were invested as foreign direct investment in the country since its independence in 1991.