ASTANA – Kazakhstan is able to offer stable political, social and economic conditions and sufficient infrastructure for global investors, said Kazakh Invest Deputy Chairman of the Board Marat Birimzhan. In an exclusive interview with The Astana Times, he indicated the country’s agriculture, transportation and logistics have great potential and should be attractive for investors.
The past year was full of uncertainties, economic downturns and unpredictable decisions by some state leaders and 2019 promises to be difficult as well.
“Most notably, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU) and trade wars between the United States and China, as well as sanctions between Russia and the EU, have created considerable barriers for international investors. All this means that investing in 2019 is unlikely to get easier, especially in regions where uncertainties will be felt the most,” he said.
In this uncertain time, Kazakhstan is able to offer stability, security and a business-friendly investment climate. He emphasised the country has the mineral resources to produce advanced technologies that are central to modern world economies.
“Our nation is at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. For centuries, it has been critical to East-West trade routes. With low production costs, abundant natural resources and direct access to a rapidly growing regional market of 500 million people, our nation is ready to do business,” he noted.
“The World Bank estimates that there are over 5,000 unexplored deposits of mineral reserves still present in Kazakhstan valued at more than $46 trillion. Advanced technologies are… heavily dependent on the rare earth metals that Kazakhstan can extract and process,” he added.
The country’s geographic position makes it a regional hub creating opportunities to invest in logistics and offer a faster transportation route across its land.
“Kazakhstan is playing a crucial role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which creates many opportunities for investors in the infrastructure, logistics and transportation sectors… Kazakhstan is central to the New Silk Road project, as major international transport corridors such as Western Europe-Western China, TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe, Caucasus, Asia) and the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route will run through Kazakhstan, cutting the time it takes to move goods between Asia and Europe by two-thirds,” said Birimzhan.
Agriculture, which received particular attention from the government, should be attractive to investors.
“The government has placed a particular focus on agribusiness, where Kazakhstan has unparalleled potential. We are one of only a handful of countries globally with exactly the right conditions for growing wheat and grain without artificial irrigation… Kazakhstan’s arable land represents an area larger than the entire United Kingdom, meaning there is incredible potential for investors willing to think big,” he noted.
Kazakhstan offers global investors an institutionalised system and particular economic benefits.
“Investment and tax benefits are being offered to investors, especially for priority projects. These include exemptions from corporate income tax and land tax for up to 10 years and from property tax for up to eight years,” he added.
Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), launched in 2018, also offers global investors an internationally recognised system for doing business and investments and provides certain benefits in the country.
“The AIFC is governed by English common law and English is also the official language of the AIFC. It offers its participants tax exemptions for 50 years, a simplified visa and employment regime and will connect Astana with other global financial centres such as Dubai, Singapore, London and New York,” he noted.
Kazakh Invest was established in 2017 to give investors timely and impartial support.
“We provide end-to-end support to foreign investors and businesses seeking to capitalise on Kazakhstan’s progressive, business-friendly environment. Our dedicated team of specialists offers timely and impartial advice on key investment projects across a range of national industries. We have international representatives in many of the world’s leading economic centres and act as a single point of contact for businesses setting up or investing in Kazakhstan,” noted Birimzhan.
“Even though many countries around the world are putting up barriers and creating obstacles for investors, businesses should feel confident that Kazakhstan will continue to actively facilitate and support global investment,” he added.