UAE-Kazakhstan Business Forum launched in Astana

ASTANA — The activities of the UAE-Kazakhstan Business Forum were launched in the Kazakhstani capital, Astana, with the participation of a senior delegation from the country.

The business forum, which started yesterday and ended today, coincided with the first meeting of the Kazakhstan-UAE Joint Commission for Consular Issues.

The forum was headed by Mohammed Sharaf, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Economic and Trade Affairs, with the attendance of Dr. Mohammed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Ambassador to Kazakhstan; Humaid bin Salim, Secretary-General of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Khalifa Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and representatives of several government institutions and companies in the country, in addition to several senior officials and businessmen from both countries.

Sharaf expressed the appreciation of the UAE’s government to Zhenis Kassymbek, Minister of Investment and Development, the Kazakhstani Government and the delegation from Kazakhstan for hosting this interactive forum that aims to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, to advance the level of commercial exchange and investment co-operation and achieve the vision and ambitions of leadership of both countries.

Sharaf said, “The UAE and Kazakhstan have ambitious plans for economic diversification, which represent a solid foundation for fruitful economic co-operation and the exchange of economic knowledge and expertise, based on beneficial integration and achieving common benefits for the two friendly countries.”

He called on both the delegations from countries to achieve the maximum benefit from this forum, to achieve greater co-operation and promote greater partnerships in different economic sectors, notably traditional and renewable energy, agriculture, tourism, logistic services and trading and investment, while highlighting their governments’ agreement to provide all means of support for these initiatives and partnerships, which will benefit the two friendly countries and their people.

He mentioned the Expo Astana Exhibition, which will be launched in less than a month, which represents a major opportunity to exchange knowledge and strengthen commercial and investment exchange, while also providing an opportunity to constructively benefit from the Kazakhstani experience in hosting the exhibition, adding that the UAE will host this exhibition in Dubai in 2020.

He pointed out the non-oil commercial exchange between the two countries, stating that the level of this exchange does not currently reflect the horizons of the strategic relations between the two countries, as the non-oil commercial exchange for 2016 totalled around US$246 million compared to $273 million in 2015, a decrease of around 10 percent. This encourages greater work from both sides to reach their desired level of commercial and economic relations, and overcome all the barriers to the growth and prosperity of these relations, to achieve the overall benefits from their combined economic strength, he added.

Sharaf highlighted the Emirati investments in Kazakhstan and their size, which reached over $2 billion during the period between 2005 and 2016, adding that there are 200 successful Emirati companies working in Kazakhstan, adding that some of the most important companies that invest in Kazakhstan include Al Dar Properties, the Abu Dhabi Plaza subsidiary of Al Dar Properties and the largest Emirati investor in Kazakhstan, and Al Hilal Bank.

Sharaf praised the successful partnerships between the two countries, with DP World signing an agreement with Kazakhstan to launch a private economic area in the city of Aktau, overlooking the Caspian Sea, in January 2017.

Ambassador Al Jaber highlighted the achieved bilateral co-operation between the two countries, while stressing the UAE’s enthusiasm to strengthen co-operation with Kazakhstan in different fields, including trade, investments and qualitative partnerships in the sectors of food security, energy, infrastructure, transport, logistical services, real estate and other areas.

The forum was headed from the Kazakhstani side by Zhenis Kassymbek. Altaev Nurzhan Bauyrzhanovich, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, discussed the most prominent investment opportunities in Kazakhstan while highlighting the importance of the agreements that were signed on the sidelines of the forum. Maksat Kabashev, Chairman of the Board of Kazakh Invest, presented an introductory presentation on what his company provides as opportunities for investors and highlighted the government’s role in supporting them, while mentioning the most important reasons to invest in Kazakhstan and its most important sectors, including food security, tourism, education, health, import and export, technology, culture and sports.

On the sidelines of the forum, several Memorandums of Understanding, MoU, were signed. Eng. Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, signed an MoU between the City of Abu Dhabi and the City of Astana.

Humaid bin Salim also signed two MoUs between the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Atameken, in Kazakhstan, which relates to strengthening the opportunities for investment and business between the UAE and Kazakhstan.

Khalid Al Kindi, CEO of the UAE-Kazakhstan Investment Group for Education, signed a contract to establish the group while successful meetings were held that accompanied the forum between UAE businessmen and the Mayor of Astana state, the Kazakhstan National Fund and the Kazakh Investment Authority, which is a government authority that focusses on supporting and facilitating investors’ matters.

The forum is considered a platform for communication with demonstrations and discussions about the atmosphere and environment for investing in both countries, in addition to presenting opportunities and investment projects in various sectors in Kazakhstan.

Humaid bin Salim, as well as Mohammed Saeed Al Raqbani, ?General Manager of Dubai Investments Industries; Amer Ali, Representative of DP World and Executive Director of the Dubai Maritime City Authority; Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber, and Dr. Abdulrahman Al Naqbi, General Director of the Department of Economic Development in Ras al-Khaimah, made introductory presentations to promote the available opportunities for investments in the country.

Source: Emirates News Agency