(TBY) is a leading provider of investment consultancy services and publisher of annual information resources on national economies and business environments. Following on the heels of its successful The Business Year: Kazakhstan 2011, TBY has begun production on the follow up issue for 2012 to highlight the ongoing opportunities on offer in this Central Asian economic powerhouse.
Kazakhstan burst forth onto the global stage in 1991 as the second-largest member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Since the start of the millennium, the country has averaged near 10% GDP growth until 2007, and has been the second-largest recipient of FDI throughout the CIS region. Following liquidity injections from the National Oil Fund, established in 2001 to ward off the dangers posed by commodity price swings, the government has successfully defended the real economy throughout the global financial crisis. Via its Business Road Map 2020 program, Kazakhstan is actively looking to create higher levels of value-added from its extensive natural resource base, and improve the spread of economic diversification across the country. The government has also actively sought to improve the business environment for foreign investors, and has seen its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey surge from 74th in 2010 to 59th in 2011. GDP growth has responded in turn, up by 4% in 2010, while IMF estimates put it at 5.6-6.5% over the 2011-2012 period.
Kazakhstan is also looking to leverage its role as a key land transit state between Europe and China through highway upgrade projects, while seeking to expand its trading relations through the Customs Union it has with Russia and Belarus. The oil and gas sector has been a key mainstay of the economy, generating the wealth needed to provide the economy with new growth opportunities across the board. Additionally, the strengths Kazakhstan holds in the mineral resources and agriculture sectors allow it to punch well above its weight in not only regional but also international trading terms.
The Business Year presents the real opportunities and those creating them—diplomats, business people, civil servants, and key stakeholders—to introduce Kazakhstan and its many unexpected faces in the world of business.