Kazakhstan’s Strategic Investment Plan to Boost Economic Growth, Attract Global Brands

ASTANA — Gabidulla Ospankulov, the chairman of the Investment Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recently spoke about the nation’s ambitious strategies to attract investments, identify promising investor countries, and leverage leading companies to meet Kazakhstan’s economic growth targets in an interview with Kazinform news agency.

Gabidulla Ospankulov, the chairman of the Investment Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo credit: Gov.Kz.

With a goal to elevate the national economy to $450 billion by 2029, Ospankulov outlined a multifaceted approach to creating an investor-friendly environment. 

To attract $150 billion in investments by 2029, Kazakhstan is implementing comprehensive measures to foster a favorable ecosystem, including state preferences, protection against corruption, and the minimization of bureaucratic barriers. 

“The world is now competing for investors. Neighboring and the most developed countries are trying to attract them. Therefore, we must stay ahead in this competitive environment,” said Ospankulov.

Investment attraction requires a holistic approach that considers legislative systems, business protection, and regional attitudes toward investors. The Kazakh government is adopting a new “package solutions” approach by offering county-specific investment programs for foreign organizations, facilitated through 68 embassies.

One practical example is the industrial zone in Astana, where the government proposed that a local businessman establish a fiber cement production plant to improve the quality of materials sourced from abroad.  

“We will share this investment opportunity with embassies to attract leading companies in fiber cement technology to Kazakhstan,” said Ospankulov. “This showcases a complete cycle and package solution for investment attraction, creating mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Foreign investments and challenges

Ospankulov emphasized the crucial role of foreign investments due to the limitations of the state budget. 

“The state has social obligations, such as building hospitals and cultural facilities, which restrict its ability to invest heavily in the economy,” said Ospankulov, noting that the primary focus is attracting foreign investments while encouraging domestic investors to reinvest and expand their activities. 

Ospankulov identified challenges in attracting investments, including infrastructure and bureaucracy.

“In any business project, an investor considers the region’s roads, electricity, thermal capacity, and water when calculating their investment and business plan. It is the most expensive part of the project,” said Ospankulov. He added that the state should assist through public-private partnerships or reimburse businesses for infrastructure costs. 

To address the bureaucracy issue, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the investment headquarters to expedite solutions, as some outdated or incorrect procedures need to be corrected in the legislation.

“The investment headquarters ensures faster decision-making in favor of investors, as seen with PepsiCo. The investment board has addressed the issues several times. The investor has started construction, and the first products are expected in 2026,” said Ospankulov. 

Ospankulov noted that Kazakhstan has attracted investments from the Netherlands, the United States, Switzerland, China, and South Korea.

“For example, during the recent visit of the President of South Korea to Kazakhstan, a business forum was organized, where major projects were signed, including the opening of a full-cycle Kia plant for the production of cars worth over $200 million,” said Ospankulov.

He added that the Almaty Region will soon host a salty snack factory in the Alatau economic zone with an investment of over $160 million, creating over 1,000 jobs and boosting the region’s economy.

Prospects for global brands

Despite the absence of several global brands in Kazakhstan, the market’s growth and population increase are changing the landscape. 

“Now that Astana’s population has exceeded one million, new global brands such as Superdry and Ralph Lauren have appeared in shopping malls,” said Ospankulov.

Companies such as General Electric, Samsung, Medison, and Kia are making substantial investments in the industrial sector. 

“There is an increase in the number of investment projects and their volumes. For example, the national company Kazakh Invest implemented more than 40 major projects last year worth $1.1 billion. Over 45 major investment projects totaling $1.5 billion are planned for 2024,” said Ospankulov.

Kazakhstan’s strategic location between China and Europe, favorable cargo transportation conditions, and natural resources offer significant production potential. 

“Recent legislative changes provide companies with affordable access to raw materials, attracting multinational companies,” said Ospankulov.

He highlighted specific upcoming projects, including investments from the Saudi Arabian energy company ACWA POWER in renewable energy, GE HealthCare in medical equipment production, and Roche in pharmaceuticals. 

“These companies signed agreements and approved business plans. I believe they will start implementing their projects within the next one or two years,” said Ospankulov.

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