(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
I am pleased to welcome all Kazakhstan and UK delegates to this forum - the latest in a series of programme initiatives co- sponsored and organized through a unique relationship between Shell in Kazakhstan and UKTI. The UK delegation is led by Professor Charles Hendry, The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan, returning here after his first visit almost a year ago when he accompanied Prime Minister Cameron.
As I am sure you are aware the objective of the UK Kazakhstan Supply Chain Programme established in 2011 , is to facilitate sustainable partnerships between UK and Kazakhstan companies.
Our thanks to Campbell Kier and to Shell in Kazakhstan for their sustained cooperation with UKTI, to deliver this important programme.
We are very grateful for the excellent, expert cooperation of MINT and NADLoC – the success of this programme relies on their knowledge of Kazakhstan’s supply chain companies.
I am very pleased that the major operating companies TCO , NCPOC and their representatives are able to contribute to the forum today to provide an overview of forthcoming opportunities and guidance to new to market companies on the requirements to prequalify, tender and operate in country.
Kazakhstan is widely acknowledged as the most economically developed of the former Soviet central Asian republics. GDP growth in 2013 is likely to be in the range of 5 to 6 percent (source:World Bank / IMF), the oil and gas sector contributing 16 percent of economic growth.
Kazakhstan possesses world class oil and gas reserves (30 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 45.7 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves) but there are technical, commercial and environmental challenges to extraction such high sulphur content, access to exports routes, harsh climatic conditions with the need for engineering expertise and technical application and innovation .
By combining UK technology and experience with the knowhow and invention which is available in Kazakhstan we are confident that we will competitively find solutions and develop not only opportunities within Kazakhstan but the possibility to export solutions to hydrocarbon markets across the world.
In December 2012, President Nazarbayev announced at the World Economic Forum that Kazakhstan is on the brink of joining the top 50 economic performing countries in the world and launched a plan for the country’s development until 2050 to become one of the top 30 economies.
It is notable that the development of entrepreneurship and the encouragement of SME’s are central planks to the 2050 strategy, alongside a major proposition to expand skills development and education. These are areas where the UK can make a major contribution.
We have our own experience of developing SMEs. This vital component of the supply chain requires nurturing if it is to flourish, with steps taken to reduce barriers and restrictions and allow entrepreneurs to focus their efforts and energies to do what they do best- setting up and growing businesses.
This forum and the ongoing partnership programme is part of our efforts to support Kazakhstan to achieve its new industrial development goals including expanding the SME community. We are ready willing and able to support your industrial expansion and through the adoption of international competitive practises to also increase exports from Kazakhstan as a major regional and international hub.
You can find other images of this Forum on: Flickr