The government of Kazakhstan has prioritised attracting FDI as part of its vision of achieving sustainable development and handed the keys to the country’s FDI promotion strategy to the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).
“We must clearly understand that attracting foreign investment will develop the economy and allow us to solve the issue of the quality of life of the population, create new jobs and solve social issues,” said prime minister Askar Mamin in a note on April 22, as the government set up the Coordinating Council for Investment Attraction and appointed Mr Mamin investment ombudsman.
The AIFC will become the working body of the Coordination Council and act as a one-stop shop coordinating the task of attracting FDI and promoting Kazakhstan’s investment image. The numerous bodies that so far have shared different investment promotion responsibilities, from national investment promotion agency Kazakh Invest to sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and national holding company Bayterek, will now fall under the coordination of the AIFC in their dealings with foreign investors.
“The proposed measures will allow to consolidate and quickly form investment subsidies for investors and begin a comprehensive work to increase the volume of net direct investments. At one of the next meetings of the government, a complete list of all necessary measures for the implementation of new approaches and the corresponding Roadmap will be submitted,” said finance minister Alikhan Smailov.
The government has also pledged to address some concerns raised by the domestic and international business community such as rule of law, the volatility of the tenge, infrastructure and allocation of land, decriminalisation of tax offences and migration. The foreign affairs ministry has prepared a bill addressing each point, and the document is now being assessed by the economy ministry, according a government note published on April 22.
“We are ready to work through the new approach regulations and actively work in the new structure in the future, which will not only attract investments, but also better understand the system challenges that exist in the economy,” said Agris Preimanis, chair of the Kazakhstan Foreign Investors Association and country director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Kazakhstan attracted 56 greenfield FDI projects worth an estimated $6.8bn in 2018, up from 25 projects worth $6.4bn a year earlier, according to greenfield FDI monitor fDi Markets.