Thirteen companies were part of the mission to Astana and Almaty in February 2014. Led by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) London team, it was the first delegation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to visit Kazakhstan from London and South East England.
Mark Higgins, International Trade Adviser (ITA) for UKTI, is urging UK companies to take advantage of what the country has to offer. Having led the mission Mark says:
The perception of Kazakhstan needs to change. The trade mission earlier this year surpassed all my expectations. I can say that the country has definitely changed and evolved from my previous experiences of doing business there over 6 years ago. For people with open minds and the ability to build long term relationships, with a reliable partner the opportunities are as big as the country itself.
Ernst & Young’s 2012 survey ‘Bridging the Perception Gap’ indicates that Kazakhstan will be one of the fastest growing nations by 2020.
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world. It provides easy trade routes into surrounding countries providing access to 170 million people. It’s ranked 50th by the World Bank for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and offers companies tax breaks in 10 special economic areas.
Kazakhstan’s large oil and gas sector accounts for:
- over 80% of total exports
- rapid economic expansion over the last 8 years
The country is looking at how to diversify its economy in sectors such as:
- food and drink
- Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
- information technology (IT)
Expo 2017 in Astana is expected to attract 2 to 3 million visitors. The project will generate a range of opportunities for UK companies including:
- development of the Expo City site
- development of a ‘Green Village’
- upgrade of transport infrastructure
- implementation of low carbon technologies
- design, engineering, consultancy services
The Royal Agricultural University have been asked to apply for 3 project tenders. The Kazakh government sends 4,000 pupils to the UK every year to study. There is interest in developing partnerships with educational institutions.
Technology provider Concept Com Technologies Ltd from London, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as well as applying for contracts totalling £900,000.
Managing Director, Andy Stewart commented on the value of the mission saying:
The visit proved very useful in enabling the meeting of a variety of decision makers, advisors and those with experience of working in Kazakhstan. I also met with potential partners for selling, distribution and support of the technologies I represent. In particular the briefings by local legal and business firms proved most interesting and helpful. Meeting the entrepreneurs also helped understand the market place and the representative for the city Almaty stated his interest in all 3 of my technologies.
How UKTI helped
UKTI helped British businesses to visit the Kazakh market by using the embassy in Astana. The embassy invited a range of interested parties and potential partners to meet with the UK delegation and discuss possible new contacts, tenders and future opportunities.
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