Kazakhstan though has consistently been leading its neighbours, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in terms of attracting the most FDI projects.
On a whole, FDI into west Asia has been fluctuating since January 2003, the year fDi Markets began recording greenfield investments, to May 2011.
In total, from January 2003 to May 2011, Kazakhstan has received 319 projects out of a total of 590 for the region, with the majority of these investments being made into the financial services, metals and coal, oil and natural gas sectors, with 43, 40 and 31 projects respectively. This is similar to the rest of the west Asia region with coal, oil and natural gas being the most prolific sector, with 92 greenfield projects, followed closely by metals with 69 and financial services with 64.
The country’s main investor is Russia, followed by the US and then by the UK. According to fDi Markets, Russia-based companies have made 65 greenfield investments into Kazakhstan. US projects accounted for 37 of the total but no US-based companies have made investments so far for 2011. In total, the UK has invested in 26 projects making it the third most prolific source country but it tops the chart so far for 2011 accounting for seven projects, 31% of the total number of projects for the period January to May.
One of the possible reasons why Kazakhstan has been so consistently on top of the west Asia FDI table is because the country’s government and leadership has been very active in hosting several significant international business events.
The country’s capital city, Astana, held the fourth Economic Forum in May 2011 to assess economic challenges facing the global economy and to find ways to shape economic development. In May 2011, it also hosted the Foreign Investors’ Council and the annual conference of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
In the first five months of 2011, the country has attracted 22 projects, if Kazakhstan manages to continue to attract investments at this rate, it could reach a total of 52 projects for the year, an amount previously only beaten by 2008, when the country attracted 62 FDI projects.