More than 150 delegates gathered in Nur-Sultan on Sept. 6 in the frames of the Kazakhstan-Germany business forum to explore the country’s opportunities in the industry, energy, and logistics.
With investments worth nearly $5.3 billion since 2005, Germany is one of key partners for Kazakhstan. The country’s non-resource sector gets nearly 90 percent of the German investments.
Heads of central and local government agencies, national and quasi-state companies, representatives of industry and regional business associations, as well as heads of leading German companies, including Siemens, Deutsche Bahn, SAP, Becker Mining Systems AG, Knauf, and Wilo, attended the forum organized by the Kazakh Embassy in Germany and Kazakh Invest.
According to First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar, Kazakhstan has a lot to offer: vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves remain the backbone of the economy, but the progress toward diversification into other sectors is being made.
Sklyar also mentioned preferences offered to them at the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) (tax exemptions extending to 50 years, simplified currency exchanges, and simplified visa and labor regimes) as examples of the aforementioned support for investors.
According to him, they approved a draft of a new concept of Kazakhstan’s investment policy, focusing on increasing the investment attractiveness of the country in the face of increased ESG [environmental, social, and corporate governance] requirements, global energy and technological transition. Measures to optimize and simplify tax regimes, subsidies and other incentives for investors in priority sectors of the economy are included in innovations.
In 2021, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Germany attained $2.2 billion (6.4 percent more than in 2020) and $1.2 billion in goods only in the first half of 2022.
The potential of Kazakhstan to increase exports to Germany for more than 140 commodity items worth around 1 billion euros (US$1 billion) was stressed by Sklyar.
Dominik Schnichels, co-chair of the Kazakhstan-Germany intergovernmental working group said that Kazakhstan and Germany have huge potential to implement joint projects across many areas. He underlined the increased importance of cooperation in the food security, energy freedom and supply chain sectors of the economy despite the post-pandemic crisis and the current geopolitical situation.
According to Schnichels, Kazakhstan has great potential in many areas of the economy important for Germany: these are both non-renewable energy sources and the development of a very relevant direction for the world – production of renewable energy sources and human potential.
The interest of the German delegates in Kazakhstan’s potential to increase the supply of traditional energy resources to Germany and in the production and subsequent export of green energy was shown at the meeting, as well as the importance of Kazakhstan as a trade and investment partner in Central Asia and as a transit country for the transportation of goods from Asia to Europe was stressed.
The data from the Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development shows the increase of the volume of transit cargo shipments from Germany through the territory of Kazakhstan by 47 percent to 2,300 tons in the first half of this year.
Kazakhstan’s interest in the development of close ties with Germany in the automotive industry was demonstrated by Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan Kairbek during his meeting with Schnichels.
According to Uskenbaev, 14 projects worth $719.4 million have been implemented creating more than 2,200 jobs as part of the Kazakh-German cooperation in the sphere of industry. A major joint project with CLAAS on the production of agricultural machinery was especially highlighted by him. At least 80 tractors have been produced by the company this year.
They also introduced the principle of individual support and follow-up with every investor. The Prime Minister now also acts as an investment ombudsman of the Council of Foreign Investors, which operates with the participation of the Head of State. Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is Central Asia’s only international financial center with an independent court and an international arbitration center based on English law. They have created special economic and industrial zones in priority sectors of the economy in almost all regions of the country. A center of excellence in medical education and science is situated there, as well as many technology parks for the development of nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and the innovation economy in the country.
According to the First Deputy Prime Minister, the transport framework created by Kazakhstan and its integration into global transport corridors is very important due to international transport links connecting Europe and Asia through Kazakhstan.
R. Sklyar said that it was only about a part of institutional reforms aimed at improving the investment climate and business climate in our country.
The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Germany, together with “NC “KAZAKH INVEST” JSC, with the support of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy and the Representative Office of the German Economy in Central Asia in Almaty, organized the event during the visit of the German delegation, headed by the co-Chairman of the Kazakhstan-Germany Intergovernmental Working Group, and director of foreign economic policy of the Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection of Germany, Dr. Dominik Schnichels to Kazakhstan. The meeting between the German delegation and the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also took place during the visit.
The event was headlined: “Adaptation to the New Rules of Global Business – Common Opportunities in Industry, Energy and Logistics”.