Baiterek Holding is a significant financial institution in Kazakhstan, working actively to attract investments to the country. In an interview, Aizhan Urazova, Director of the Holding’s Department of International Cooperation, spoke about the institution's work in 2022 and their plans for the future.
– How does Baiterek Holding attract investors?
Baiterek Holding has a strong focus on attracting significant foreign investors to implement projects in Kazakhstan, and all of the Holding's subsidiaries work towards this goal.
Firstly, Baiterek Holding negotiates with investors during official visits by high-level representatives of Kazakhstan, such as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the Prime Minister. In 2022, we participated in 11 such visits, which enabled us to engage with potential investors and promote investment opportunities in Kazakhstan.
Secondly, our international department plays a critical role in promoting the Holding's investment image by ensuring its participation in major international investment events.
Moreover, the Holding's Chairman is a Co-Chairman of the Kazakh-Spanish Business Council and a Deputy Co-Chairman of the Kazakh-German Business Council. These councils actively promote trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and these countries, which in turn can facilitate investment opportunities.
– What are the benefits of partnering with Baiterek Holding for foreign investors considering the Kazakhstani market?
– Baiterek Holding actively collaborates with investors and the business community to find, attract, and support investment projects, with a focus on providing one-stop-shop customer service.
Upon contacting Baiterek Holding, investors' ideas, projects, and proposals are thoroughly evaluated for potential application. Baiterek Holding aims to implement projects in strategic areas that support the priority sectors of the Kazakhstani economy, such as industrial and innovative development, promoting the export of national products, financing SMEs, developing the agro-industrial complex, and supporting real estate developers.
– What were the outcomes of Baiterek Holding's efforts to attract investors in 2022?
In 2022, Baiterek Holding achieved significant success in attracting foreign investments by signing approximately 30 agreements and memorandums. These documents focused on establishing and developing cooperation in infrastructure and industrial projects, supporting small and medium-sized businesses, and developing non-commodity exports. In addition, the Holding signed three memorandums with Qatari flagship companies on cooperation in financing projects in the agro-industrial complex.
By the end of 2022, the Holding's subsidiaries had signed several agreements with partners from China, the USA, Europe, and Uzbekistan, aimed at attracting investments totaling $600 million.
– What does Baiterek Holding do to improve its investment image?
– Baiterek Holding has a strong commitment to sustainable development and is focused on promoting environmental efficiency and protection, social responsibility, and good corporate governance practices based on internationally recognized standards. The international business community highly values this approach, and many foreign and international financial organizations view it as a positive indicator of the Holding's activities.
In addition, the Holding has also adopted the principles of the UN Global Compact, which are aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination, including gender discrimination. In recognition of this, UN Women in Kazakhstan invited Baiterek Holding to join the UN Women Empowerment Principles (WEP). In 2022, the Chairman of the Board signed an application to join this initiative. The Women's Empowerment Principles represent a global approach to advancing gender equality and are aligned with the Holding's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.
– How can Kazakhstan become more attractive for large foreign investors?
– Kazakhstan is a country that places a great deal of importance on attracting foreign investment. In fact, as noted by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Council of Foreign Investors held in Astana last summer, Kazakhstan continues to be an investment magnet among the Central Asian countries. Our legislation provides for various guarantees of investor rights, such as legal protection of activities, guarantees for the use of income, exemption from customs duties, tax preferences, and the availability of an investment ombudsman.
Baiterek Holding recognizes the importance of improving the investment climate in Kazakhstan and is actively working to diversify the country's economy in four key areas: ensuring food security, developing industries for the energy transition and decarbonization, developing transport and logistics, and promoting priority sectors of the Kazakhstani economy.
It's worth noting that Kazakhstan has a relatively high sovereign credit rating. According to Fitch Ratings, Kazakhstan's credit rating is BBB with a stable outlook, and according to Moody's Investor Service, it is Baa2 with a stable outlook.
– Please share your plans for 2023.
– In 2023, Baiterek Holding will continue to expand its partnerships with current investors while seeking new 'anchor' investors. Our top managers will participate in seven investment events abroad during the first quarter of the year to showcase investment opportunities in Kazakhstan. Additionally, the Holding will host the seventh meeting of the Kazakh-Spanish Business Council in May 2023 in Astana. This event is held every two years, and we anticipate a large delegation from Spain consisting of representatives from major Spanish businesses and government agencies.
We remain dedicated to enhancing our investment cooperation with foreign partners and achieving a high-quality expansion of our partnerships.