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Business environment in Kazakhstan

Economy & Business Overview

On 21 May 2015 within the VII

Kazakhstan has quickly become a regional economic powerhouse thanks to its macroeconomic stability, improved business environment, and vast energy and mineral resources. Kazakhstan’s economy grew at an impressive average of 8% per year over the past decade. The country weathered the global financial crisis well through a dexterous response, combining fiscal relaxation with monetary stabilization. During the global economic crisis, Kazakhstan’s economic growth slowed down to 1.2% in 2009, while the annual growth rate subsequently increased to 5% and 6% in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The country’s economic diversification and industrialization programs are expected to help economy maintain a healthy growth rate over the medium term.
Kazakhstan's economic development strategy focuses on:

  • modernization and a shift towards growth from non-oil sources;
  • industrial diversification, innovation, investment in human capital;
  • international trade integration for job creation;
  • Strengthening governance, the business-enabling environment, and private-sector enterprise.

Kazakhstan’s “brand perception” is at its highest in several years with increased awareness from established and non-established investors, especially in the areas of energy, industrial and automotive divisions, high-tech, telecommunication infrastructure and business. Established foreign investors in Kazakhstan view the country as the most attractive post-Soviet investment destination and highly value Kazakhstan`s macroeconomic and sociopolitical stability, as well as its competitive corporate tax rate.

The Government of Kazakhstan has made significant efforts to remove bureaucratic obstacles to investment and the creation of an attractive business environment, which has been consistently reflected in the last three editions of the World Bank’s Doing Business report (up 8 spots between 2011 and 2014) as well as other internationally recognized indices.

50th (out of 189) - World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking 2014
50th (out of 144) - World Economic Forum Competitiveness Ranking 2014-2015
22nd (out of 189) - World Bank Investor Protection Index 2013
27th (out of 144) - World Economic Forum Macroeconomic Environment Ranking 2014-2015

The Government's efforts to strengthen the state's fiscal balance, reduce the national debt, and aid the recovery of the banking sector following the 2007-08 crisis, prompted Fitch Ratings to upgrade Kazakhstan's sovereign rating to BBB + with a stable outlook in November 2012. Similarly, Moody’s Investors Service revised Kazakhstan’s sovereign credit outlook to positive from stable in August 2013.

Kazakhstan’s business-friendly laws support the growth of foreign investment and stronger economic growth. In 2013, FDI amounted to almost $24.14 billion, the equivalent of 10% of GDP. FDI has introduced new forms of technology and jobs for domestic firms and subcontractors that partner with foreign entities, while transferring skills and know-how to the indigenous labor force. While the majority of FDI to date has been channeled into the oil, gas and mining sectors, and their associated services, the Government emphasizes promoting FDI into other industries in order to the country’s dependence on extractive industries, as part of its 2050 strategy.

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