News Digest: Foreign Media on’s Nasdaq Debut, Aport Apples and More

ASTANA – The Astana Times has selected articles on Kazakhstan published in international media. This week’s foreign media digest covers Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican, Almaty’s aport apples, Nasdaq IPO from, and more.

Photo credit: Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock.

Fintech heavyweight valued at $17.5 billion in tepid Nasdaq debut was valued at $17.51 billion when its shares debuted 0.5% above their offer price on Friday, a day after the Kazakhstan-based banking and fintech giant fetched $1 billion for its investors in an upsized IPO [Initial Public Offering], reported Reuters on Jan. 20.’s American depositary shares opened at $92.50 each, compared with their IPO price of $92.

Kaspi looks beyond London listing to brighter lights of New York

The boss of $18 billion fintech Kaspi said the U.S. was the “natural home” for an ambitious technology company after it became the latest London-listed group to sell shares in New York in search of higher valuations and better liquidity, reported the Financial Times on Jan. 21.

Kaspi raised just over $1 billion for existing shareholders through an offering on Nasdaq this week, less than three years after it first listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Mikheil Lomtadze, Kaspi chief executive, told the Financial Times that the London listing “was an incredible milestone for us, especially at the beginning of our journey”. But he added that “the U.S. is the market which will give us access to a wider pool of investors and another level of recognition”.

Tajikistan’s foreign policy harps on intense cooperation with Kazakhstan, Rahmon says

The development and strengthening of cooperation with Kazakhstan remains a priority in Tajikistan’s foreign policy, said Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, as reported by Trend on Jan. 25.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Murat Nurtleu, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, who arrived in Tajikistan for an official visit.

The meeting covered a wide range of Tajik-Kazakh cooperation issues. The parties expressed satisfaction with the sustained expansion of the strategic partnership between the two countries, elevating their relationship to an alliance level. The remarkable achievements of Tajik-Kazakh relations in the past year were also underscored.

Kazakhstan updates forecast on Middle Corridor-run cargo transit growth

Trend news agency published an article on Jan. 23 about Kazakhstan’s plan to increase the capacity of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR, or Middle Corridor) from 6 to 10 million tons of cargo by 2025.

The relevant statement was made by Kazakh Minister of National Economy, Alibek Kuantyrov, during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

As he noted, Kazakhstan is taking additional measures to increase the capacity of the TITR. In particular, new railway lines are being laid, and the infrastructure of ports located on the Caspian Sea (Kuryk, Aktau) is being expanded.

Kazakhstan looks to strengthen position as transit country between Asia, Europe

Kazakhstan hopes to strengthen its position as a transit country between Asia and Europe by strengthening the TITR, through which cargo bypasses Russia, Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko told EFE in an interview. 

Vassilenko informed EFE that “today, the attention of many countries of the world is directed to expanding the capacity of the TITR, which starts in China and passes through the territories of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Türkiye, and ends in Europe, thus bypassing Russian territory.”

He added that an investment forum will be held in Brussels on the 29th and 30th, where new measures to strengthen TITR will be discussed.

Kazakhstan seeks FAO support in promoting exports of aport apples

The Times of Central Asia reported on Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s meeting with Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, on Jan. 20 in Rome.

Tokayev and Dongyu attended a presentation of the famous Kazakh aport apples as part of the FAO’s One Country One Priority Product program, the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture reported.

“Kazakhstan is widely known as the birthplace of apples,” the President said. “Aport apples grow in the vicinity of Almaty, the largest metropolis in our country and my hometown. Translated from Kazakh, ‘Almaty’ means ‘place of abundance of apples.’”

Aport apples are distinguished by their large size, distinct smell, and their succulent nature. One of the main landmarks in Almaty, the first sight to greet visitors to the Kok-Tobe mountain, which looms over the city, is a granite statue of an apple with water gushing from its core.

Kazakhstan’s actions to address nuclear and biological risks

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace announced an upcoming event, which will take place on Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C.

“Please join the Carnegie Endowment and the Council on Strategic Risks for a hybrid panel on Kazakhstan’s increasingly global role in the changing threat landscape of weapons of mass destruction. The discussion will feature Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the United States of America Yerzhan Ashikbayev, the Honorable Andrew Weber, and Dr. Toghzan Kassenova. It will be moderated by Shannon Green, senior fellow at Council of Strategic Risks,” the release informs.

Upon the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan found itself in possession of the world’s fourth-largest nuclear weapons stockpile and the former union’s most significant biological weapons factory. Kazakhstan’s subsequent decision to return and dismantle these weapons has solidified its position as a leader in nuclear and biological risk reduction. For the last thirty years, Kazakhstan’s actions have served as a core model for regional and international security.

Pope Francis meets with President of Kazakhstan

Vatican News published an article on Jan.19 about Pope Francis’ audience with President Tokayev to discuss the importance of “the urgent commitment to promote peace and stability in the world.”

Following his meeting with Pope Francis, the President met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

According to a statement issued by the Holy See Press Office, the discussions were “cordial,” and “appreciation was expressed for the positive bilateral relations between the Holy See and Kazakhstan.”

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