Challenges Facing Central Asian Region in Spotlight of Major Investors’ Forum in Almaty

ASTANA – Lack of access to the sea is a major disadvantage for Central Asian countries, as they miss out on 20% of their development potential, Chairman of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) Management Board Nikolai Podguzov said at the 46th annual meeting of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) in Almaty, reported on May 15.

ADFIAP’s 46th Annual Meetings in Almaty. Photo credit:

The second challenge Podguzov named is water and energy supply. The region needs more water resources, considering low water-use efficiency.

“The third challenge is a dependency on raw materials and exports of commodities and labor. Around 51% of all Central Asian exports are oil, gas, and minerals,” Podguzov said.

Lastly, Central Asia is at risk of the consequences of climate change, including droughts and rising temperatures, which could lead to glacial melting, causing soil degradation and worsening conditions for agriculture and food security.

Nikolai Podguzov. Photo credit:

ADFIAP Vice Chair Mominul Islam stressed the significance of attracting investments in infrastructure projects.

“Our priority is to exchange best practices in sustainable infrastructure and promote economic, environmental, and social development. Central Asia certainly has issues related to the social aspect, so it is imperative that the projects we are engaged in focus on the environmental state and consider other important aspects of the region,” he noted.

Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Yerulan Zhamaubayev addressed the importance of increasing the investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan for economic growth, highlighting the country’s commitment to supporting economic and investment cooperation at the international level.

Yerulan Zhamaubayev. Photo credit:

The participants of the forum noted that the investment attractiveness of Central Asia is increasing amid the dynamic development of the economy and regional trade. 

Over the past two decades, the volume of foreign direct investments (FDI) in the region surged 17-fold to $211 billion, with Kazakhstan attracting 75% of all the FDI. Overall, Kazakhstan’s economy has attracted approximately $370 billion in FDI over the past 30 years.

According to Podguzov, this year’s primary investments will be allocated to the Kyrgyz Republic, totaling $2-3 billion. The EDB will invest between $1.1-1.2 billion in Kazakhstan, as it did last year.

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