External news in brief

Kazakhstan advanced from 28th to 25th place in the latest World Bank Doing Business Report released Oct. 24. The report examined the changes in regulation in 12 areas of business activity, including business incorporation, getting a building permit, getting access to credit and protecting minority investors, across 190 economies. It noted starting a business in Kazakhstan became easier after the country began registering companies for value added tax at the time of incorporation and obtaining a construction permit also became easier by streamlining the expert evaluation of the project and improving the process for procuring a new water connection. The World Bank added Kazakhstan strengthened access to credit and improved access to credit information. In resolving insolvency, however, all creditors still have to vote on the rehabilitation plan, regardless of its impact on their interests, which inhibited Kazakhstan’s progress in that particular area.

Kazakhstan’s Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund and British investment firm Da Vinci Capital agreed to form a $100 million private equity fund following the Kazakh-British Business Council meeting in London on Oct. 23. Under the agreement, the new fund will invest at least $40 million in Kazakh companies working in IT and digitisation. The meeting was part of the Kazakh delegation’s visit led by Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko. The programme also included the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum organised by the Financial Times, fDi Magazine, Samruk Kazyna, Kazakh Invest and the Kazakh Embassy in the United Kingdom. More than 200 business executives in the manufacturing, agricultural, chemical, mining, financial, metallurgy, alternative energy, logistics and digital technology sectors attended the forum and were briefed on the extensive business and investment opportunities Kazakhstan can offer. As the country prepares to leave the European Union, UK Department for International Trade Investment Minister Graham Stuart MP noted greater interest by British firms to contribute to Kazakhstan’s economic growth and development.

Prime Minister Askar Mamin participated in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Council of Heads of Government Oct. 25 in Moscow. The CIS is composed of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan (as an associated member state), Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The agenda included trade and economic cooperation between the member countries, including implementing the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2011 and discussing the Free Trade of Services Agreement within the CIS. The sides signed t the concept on digital development cooperation, road map for its execution and strategy on information security. On the same day, the Eurasian InterGovernmental Council of the Eurasian Economic Union took place. On the fringes of the meeting, a free trade zone agreement between the EAEU and Serbia was signed.

The Kazakh delegation joined representatives of 158 countries and international organisations gathering in Baku (Azerbaijan) Oct. 25-26 for the 18th Non-Aligned Movement Heads of State and Government summit chaired this year by the host country. The movement, the largest cooperative effort of 120 countries after the United Nations (UN), was formed at the height of the Cold War and brought together the countries that did not seek to formally align with either side, but rather remain independent and neutral in their decision making. The organisation, which also has 17 countries with observer status, including Kazakhstan, is an important platform for the nation to promote its initiatives across key aspects of the international agenda, reported the Foreign Ministry press service. The summit focused on issues such as the fight against terrorism, threats to peace and security, UN reform, climate change, sustainable development, economic governance and south to south cooperation.

Kazakh chess champion and grand master Dinara Saduakassova became one of the best performing women’s players at the Grand Swiss tournament on the Isle of Man, sharing the title with Harika Dronavalli of India. Both finished with 5.5/11 and split a cash prize of $10,000. The tournament enabled Saduakassova, who is also a four-time world champion, to climb eight spots in the International Chess Federation (FIDE) ranking among female players, scoring 2,505 points. She achieved her first global success in 2010, when she won the World Youth Chess Championships title in the girls’ under-14 category.