Kazakh President Outlines Promising Areas of Cooperation with Singapore at Forum

ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev highlighted several promising areas of cooperation at the Kazakhstan-Singapore business forum on May 23, reported the Akorda press service.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Kazakhstan-Singapore business forum. Photo credit: Akorda.

Starting with the large-scale reforms currently implemented in Kazakhstan, the President mentioned a recent decree aimed at significantly liberalizing the national economy. He spoke about the launch of a new investment cycle with a strategic goal of attracting $150 billion in foreign direct investment by 2029 to ensure that Kazakhstan remains a major regional investment hub.

“We are well aware of the importance of providing comprehensive government support and prompt decision-making for investors. For these purposes, we have established an Investment Council with high powers to oversee strategic investment projects,” he said.

Tokayev noted that bilateral trade totaled $1.8 billion, and Singaporean investments in Kazakhstan exceeded $1.7 billion last year, expressing optimism that these figures could double in the coming years.

The first area of collaboration he identified was urban development, with the construction of a new integrated metropolis in Kazakhstan being an ambitious project. Dubbed the “Singapore of Central Asia,” this area of 1,000 square kilometers will be developed as a special economic zone with the master plan created by Singaporean company Surbana Jurong.

The President also highlighted Kazakhstan’s readiness to supply critical raw materials and natural resources to Singapore, emphasizing the potential for long-term cooperation with companies such as Indorama, interested in exploring copper and phosphate deposits in Kazakhstan.

“Considering that global demand for rare metals will quadruple by 2040, Kazakhstan, which has approximately 5,000 unexplored deposits, can become a reliable partner for the joint development of this potential,” he stated.

Tokayev called for expanded partnerships in renewable energy, clean energy production, technology transfer, and waste management, noting Singapore’s advanced waste-to-energy plants and innovative waste management technologies.

“For a long time, geographical remoteness and insufficient connections have hampered economic interaction. Today, thanks to globalization and infrastructure development, countries are more interconnected than ever,” he said, citing the synergistic partnership between the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) national railway company and Singaporean PSA International to enhance the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.

The President also welcomed the privatization of Qazaq Air by the Vietnamese company SOVICO Group, which will boost air traffic between Kazakhstan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He emphasized the importance of cooperation in agriculture, inviting Singaporean companies to create joint agro-innovation centers and work on precision agriculture and efficient water resource use.

Tokayev also highlighted opportunities in biotechnology and medicine, noting the rapid growth of Kazakhstan’s pharmaceutical market and plans to localize production with companies such as Pfizer, Roche, GE Healthcare, and Philips.

“We welcome the plans of the Baiterek national holding and the Forebright company to create an investment fund to finance joint research, as well as the production of medicines and biological products,” he said.

In the digital sector, Tokayev expressed Kazakhstan’s aspiration to become a leading technological and IT hub in Eurasia, emphasizing cooperation in R&D projects, startups, and education, particularly in artificial intelligence.

The President also drew attention to the competitive advantages of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in attracting investments, noting that over 2,000 companies from 80 countries operate at the AIFC. He hoped for an increase in Singaporean companies at the AIFC, whose number now exceeds 30, highlighting ongoing cooperation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in fintech, green finance, and Islamic banking.

“The creation of the Kazakh-Singapore Direct Investment Fund in the AIFC can serve as a platform for financing joint ventures in both countries,” he concluded.

At the end of the forum, a signing ceremony took place in the presence of Tokayev and Heng Swee Keat, the Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, leading to several significant documents, including an agreement on strategic cooperation between Kazpost and SingPost, a declaration on the launch of a digital corridor between KTZ Express and Global Digital Trade Corridor, and a memorandum of further cooperation between KTZ, PSA KZ Pte, KPMC, and G-trans Service.

Additionally, the business forum resulted in the signing of several other important documents, including investment agreements, memoranda of understanding, and cooperation agreements.

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