Kazakhstan: Diversifying the economy

MAY 25, 2012 – Under new plans, Kazakhstan’s foreign investors may have to do more to diversify its economy.

For years international economists have told Kazakhstan that it needs to diversify its economy away from energy and mineral extraction which have formed the basis of its relatively recent wealth.

A diversified economy is a far stronger, more stable economy and the Kazakh government knows and understands this.

Kazakhstan has already taken significant strides to broaden its industrial base but more needs to be done and now, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh president, has told foreign companies the country needs their help.

“We’re asking for wider participation,” he told delegates at a business conference in Astana on May 22, according to Reuters news agency.

“This is negotiable. We should decide this together so it’s profitable for both Kazakhstan and you.”

Mr Nazarbayev’s speech lacked specifics but he did link diversification with building a new “Silk Road” between Europe and China.

Energy companies and large miners already support local towns across Kazakhstan, often building vital secondary industries to support their main sites.

Following Mr Nazarbayev’s speech, though, it’s likely foreign investors may have to do more still.


This article first appeared in the May 25 issue of the Kazakhstan News Extra newssheet. To subscribe click here

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