ASTANA – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev paid an official visit to Paris on Nov. 29-30, where he met with heads of several French companies to discuss investment and cooperation opportunities, the Akorda press service reported.
The President committed to deepening relations with France to advance common economic and political interests.
“The GDP grew 2.5 percent over the first 10 months of this year, which is better than expected. Despite disrupting existing supply chains, our exports increased by almost 50 percent ($63.8 billion). In the first six months of 2022, foreign partners have invested around $15 billion in our economy, which is almost 30 percent more than in the previous year,” Tokayev said.
He emphasized that Kazakhstan plans to attract $150 billion in foreign direct investments over the next seven years. The most promising areas of investment cooperation include the agro-industrial complex, real, natural resources, energy, transport and logistics and digitalization sectors.
Tokayev invited French companies to consider investment opportunities in Kazakhstan and emphasized France as its key economic partner.
“In the first nine months of 2022, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and France increased by 12 percent. Today, more than 170 French companies operate in Kazakhstan, significantly contributing to the country’s economy. I believe establishing France’s Trade Representation Office in Kazakhstan could contribute to building up our cooperation,” he said.
The same day, Tokayev held separate meetings with several top executives.
Total Energies Chair and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Patrick Pouyanné noted that the company has already invested $12 billion in Kazakhstan’s economy and is confident that it will remain one of the country’s biggest investors in the future. The company also plans to build a 1 GW wind power plant in the country’s southeast.
Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge signed an agreement with the Kazakh government to invest 50 million euros (US$51.8 million) in projects for producing and maintaining electric locomotives and equipment for rolling stock, as well as railway infrastructure.
The President also discussed renewable energy projects with Électricité de France (EDF) Chair and CEO Luc Rémont and the company’s experience in nuclear energy technologies.
Cooperation in the nuclear industry was discussed with Orano S.A. Chair Claude Imauven. He noted that KATCO, a joint mining venture between Orano and Kazatomprom, produces 15 percent of annual uranium production in Kazakhstan and 7 percent of global production.
Air Liquide CEO François Jackow said that the company had already implemented several projects in Kazakhstan worth 120 billion euros (US$124 million). The Air Liquide Munay Tech Gases A joint venture supplies hydrogen and nitrogen to Pavlodar and Atyrau refineries. The venture has also built a new production unit to supply nitrogen to Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries (KPI).
During his visit, Tokayev also met with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher and founder of the French Institute of International Relations Thierry de Montbrial. The counterparts expressed confidence that Tokayev’s visit and the negotiations he held would give a new impetus to the bilateral relations.