The Kazakhstan-United Kingdom Investment Forum was held on November 8th at Mansion House – the residence of the Lord Mayor of London. The event was jointly organised by the Corporation of London City, the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and Kazakh Invest National Company. It was supported by the Kazakh Embassy in the UK. Attendees included: Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London; Baroness Emma Nicholson, the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan; Agris Preimanis, head of the representative office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kazakhstan; as well as heads of top British transnational companies and private investors.
Kazakh representatives – including Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Ambassador to the UK; Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the Astana International Financial Centre; and Birzhan Kaneshev, Deputy Chairman of the Kazakh Invest National Company – delivered a number of speeches at the Forum. These touched on Kazakhstan's ongoing economic modernisation, the country's investment strategy, as well as new opportunities for investment co-operation between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom.
Representatives from UK business and financial institutions were introduced to Kazakhstan's privatisation programme, as well as the activities of both Kazakh Invest and the AIFC.
In his speech, Ambassador Idrissov noted that during 25 years of co-operation between Kazakhstan and the UK, relations have continued to strengthen and the two countries have formed a strategic partnership. As one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan's economy, Britain has become an important trading and economic partner. The two countries have actively co-operated on a number of priority projects, including the establishment and development of both the AIFC and the national privatisation programme, as well as projects within the 'One Belt – One Road' initiative.
Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the AIFC, noted that the AIFC offers a number of privileges for investors. Their contributions will continue to create favourable conditions for attracting investment in Kazakhstan.
“The AIFC has every opportunity to become the gateway to Eurasia, providing trade and financial flows between the countries of the West and the East", said Kelimbetov.
Birzhan Kaneshev, Deputy Chairman of the Kazakh Invest National Company, highlighted new opportunities for sectoral and regional projects. He noted that the UK direct investment into Kazakhstan's economy exceeded $20 billion. According to Kazakhstan's National Investment Strategy, the UK is a priority country for attracting investment, thereby ensuring co-operation between the two countries will strengthen.
Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord-Mayor of the City of London, stressed huge potential for co-operation between the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan both in terms of 'One Belt – One Road' initiative and the development of the AIFC. In particular, London is ready to provide as much support to Astana to become the largest financial centre in the region. In addition, Great Britain can take an active role in realising the privatisation programme in Kazakhstan.
During individual sessions, participants discussed in detail the AIFC's upcoming activities, including the AIFC Court, the International Arbitration Centre, the Astana Stock Exchange, and others.
Following the Forum, a Memorandum of Co-operation was signed between Kazakh Invest National Company and the British Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between Kazakh Invest National Company and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In addition, Mr Kairat Kelimbetov signed a tripartite agreement with the City of London and the London Stock Exchange for the training and development of Astana Stock Exchange personnel.
The Forum also saw representatives of the Kazakh delegation meet with British companies operating in Kazakhstan, as well as and potential investors. Companies included Aggreko, Metalysis, Sentinel, WilliamHare, ConnectIreland, International Development Ireland, and others.