ALMATY — Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore Dr. Koh Poh Koon led a large business delegation to Almaty April 19-22, as part of the Future China Advanced Leaders Programme. The delegation consisted of the State Minister for Communications and Information and Health of Singapore Chee Hong Tat, IE Singapore (International Enterprise Singapore), Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), as well as Singaporean companies representing the agri-business, construction, education, energy, finance, manufacturing and real estate sectors.
The aim of the visit was to explore development and business prospects in Kazakhstan, one of the core countries in the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative.
One of the main highlights of the trip was the Almaty-Singapore Business Forum, which was attended by Akim (Mayor) of Almaty city Baurzhan Baibek and leading Almaty-based companies.
Participants of the forum covered investment and business opportunities in infrastructure projects, especially within the Silk Road Economic Belt.
During the forum, State Minister for Communications and Information and Health of Singapore Chee Hong Tat stated that among all Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan is a leader in terms of economic development. According to Chee Hong Tat, Kazakhstan has a great potential to play a significant role in ensuring regional development, which provides good opportunities for investments within Eurasian Economic Union from South-East Asian economies. He stressed that Kazakhstan is an important onland hub, while Singapore is an important sea gate within the One Belt-One Road initiative, which can be efficiently utilised in joint investment projects.
Speaking at the forum, Baibek stressed that Kazakhstan is a country that has a significant transit and transport potential. Its unique geographic position opens up huge economic opportunities for the country.
In turn, Dr. Koh Poh Koon stated that Kazakhstan is of great interest for Singapore. Its unique location on the Great Silk Road makes it a gateway to Central Asia and the market of the Eurasian Economic Union. The delegation came to Almaty to understand what role Almaty will play in the future and to implement plans for cooperation, he said, adding that given its transport-logistics, railways and communication advantages, Kazakhstan is considered a “safety belt” in the New Silk Road Economic Belt. Therefore, Kazakhstan is a very important partner for Singapore and for those intending to do business in this part of the world, he noted.
Following the forum, the leadership of the Almaty Socio-Entrepreneurial Corporation (SEC) signed an agreement on premium membership in the Singapore-based Kazakhstan – Asia-Pacific Trade & Investment Chamber (KAPTIC).