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Astana Calling


Foreign Investors’ Council Discusses Industrialisation

Kazakhstan, France Boost Bilateral Relations in Paris

Cyclists Bike Across Eurasia for Charity

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev (centre) at the recent Foreign Investors’ Council meeting in Borovoye

Foreign Investors’ Council Discusses Industrialisation The 27th Plenary Session of the Foreign Investors’ Council (FIC) chaired by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on foreign investors’ participation in the implementation of the second fiveyear stage of industrialisation in Kazakhstan took place at the Borovoye Lake resort on June 12. The agenda of the meeting included discussions on improving the investment climate in the country and protecting investors’ rights. It also examined questions of investment and the transfer of technologies within the second five-year period of industrialisation. During the first five-year period of industrialisation, according to the results of the United Nations (UN) Conference on Trade and Development, Kazakhstan entered the top 20 leading countries in attracting foreign investments and is in the second position among the countries with a transitional economy. Together with foreign investors, more than 100 projects have been implemented. The event also gave President Nazarbayev the opportunity to inform the Council of Kazakhstan’s successful bid to host EXPO 2017.

“Our meeting takes place on the eve of the working visit of Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi. Relations between the two countries have always been at a high level. Eni has over 20 years of experience in Kazakhstan, and the most important point of our cooperation is the North-Caspian project. I am confident that, despite the difficulties encountered, we continue to be able to solve tasks,” Nazarbayev said. Within the Council, the President also visited the exhibition, “Foreign Investments in the Industrial Programme of Kazakhstan 2010-2014,” on June 11. During the visit, Nazarbayev was briefed on projects such as Abu Dhabi Plaza, Astana EXPO 2017, mountain resort Kok Zhailau and the Almaty Medical Centre. Information concerning the development of the ShchuchinskBorovoye resort zone, the Borovoye Country Club and a scientific laboratory complex of Nazarbayev University was also shown to President. Nazarbayev also visited the suburban cottage house designed by the Verny Capital Company.

“Kazakhstan has won hosting of EXPO 2017. Our delegation successfully defended the dossier registration and the other day the EXPO flag was handed over to Kazakhstan. This symbol testifies the confidence in Kazakhstan. I offer to start the event with the ceremony of taking the international exhibition EXPO 2017 flag,” Nazarbayev said opening the event.

“Kazakhstan has won hosting of EXPO 2017. Our delegation successfully defended the dossier registration and the other day the EXPO flag was handed over to Kazakhstan. This symbol testifies the confidence in Kazakhstan. I offer to start the event with the ceremony of taking the international exhibition EXPO 2017 flag.`”

Other main Kazakh speakers included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan Asset Issekeshev. Speakers from other countries included European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Sir Suma Chakrabarti.

– President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Nazarbayev also held a number of bilateral meetings within the Council on issues of energy, transportation, oil and gas development, energy transportation expansion and other issues on June 11. President Nazarbayev and President and CEO of General Electric Oil and Gas Lorenzo Simonelli discussed cooperation in oil and gas infrastructure, energy, transportation and healthcare. Nazarbayev noted the investment activity of the company in Kazakhstan and its readiness to expand. Meeting with Chief Executive Officer of Eni Claudio Descalzi, the parties addressed the company’s participation in the implementation of the Karachaganak and North Caspian projects and interaction with KazMunayGas.

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The Foreign Investors’ Council is an advisory body established by the order of the Head of State in 1998 to promote direct dialogue between the Kazakh government and foreign investors to efficiently address issues related to their investment activities in the country, the economic development and wealth of the country and its people as well as to improve the investment climate of Kazakhstan for the benefit of foreign investors, local and national companies. The main objectives of the Foreign Investors’ Council include providing recommendations to the President and Kazakh government on key investment and economic development issues and analysing and discussing other core investment policy issues upon the instruction of the President of Kazakhstan. Currently, there are 35 heads of foreign and international organisations on the Council.


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Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov (left) meets with his French counterpart Loran Fabius in Paris

Kazakhstan, France Boost Bilateral Relations in Paris Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov met June 10 with his French counterpart Loran Fabius, French President’s Counselor on Multilateral Cooperation Jaque Audibert and Co-Chairman of the Kazakh-French Business Council and President of the energy company Total Upstream Yves-Louis Darricarrère. Among the topics discussed were preparations for French President François Hollande’s visit to Kazakhstan at the invitation of President Nazarbayev at the end of this year. Idrissov noted the forthcoming visit should mark the achievement of the new mutually-beneficial agreements, which will expand the fields of joint activities between the nations, preeminently in the economic sector. Cooperation in the trade and economic fields is one of the main components of the Kazakh-French strategic partnership. In this context the parties marked the successful work of the intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation and the business council that allow objective discussion and dealing with urgent economic issues. “By the end of 2013, France was fifth among the leading trading partners, with a volume of trade that exceeded $6 billion. In terms of direct investments into Kazakhstan’s economy, France holds fourth place. For the years of cooperation this figure amounts to more than $10 billion,” Idrissov stated. The two sides expressed their intention to further develop cooperation in areas such as aerospace, manufacturing of Eurocopter helicopters, nuclear energy and mechanical engineering. The other focus of negotiations was the activation of cooperation between the regions of the two countries. The ministers also discussed the possibility of establishing direct flights between Astana and Paris, which would provide an important impetus to Kazakh-French cooperation as well as developing tourism, enhancing business contacts and promoting investment. Idrissov noted that Kazakhstan attaches great importance to cooperation in the field of education. “Joint research projects and studies are being successfully developed between the universities of our countries. We welcome the establishment of Kazakhstan-Sorbonne University in Almaty and the opening of French schools,” he said.

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The main topic of negotiations in the field of multilateral cooperation was the new agreement on expanded partnership and cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the European Union (EU). “New agreement is the opportunity to consolidate the personal and privileged nature of our partnership, in which we have to take into account the mutual interests in equal proportions,” Idrissov stated. He also expressed his hope that the parties will be able to finalise the text of the document during the next round of negotiations in order to sign it in October in Brussels. The Kazakh foreign minister also addressed mutual liberalisation of the visa regime, expressing hope for the support of the French side on this matter. “It is necessary to emphasise the growth in mutual trips of our citizens. Every year, more than 100,000 Kazakh citizens visit European countries. In this regard, the current visa regime between Kazakhstan and the EU does not correspond to the existing realities and goals of the development of political and economic dialogue,” he said. Idrissov stressed that Kazakhstan considers France an important and reliable partner in the framework of international organisations. “We express our special gratitude to France for the positive attitude towards our request for status as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. Kazakhstan is ready to give priority in considering the requests of the French side in the framework of the UN,” Idrissov said. Noting the significant scientific and technological level of development and implementation of green technologies in France, Idrissov urged French companies to take an active part in the preparations of EXPO 2017. Idrissov’s visit continued on June 11, during which he participated in the approval of the Astana EXPO 2017 international exhibitions bureau dossier by the General Assembly and met with the managing body of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO.


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Australian Cyclists Jess Mumford and Dan Rule rode through Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon (pictured) as part of their 23,000-kilometre, 23-country bicycle trip

Cyclists Bike Across Eurasia for Charity Australian cyclists Dan Rule, 26, from Creswick, Victoria, and Jess Mumford, 26, from Murwillumbah, New South Wales, are in the midst of a 15-month, 23,000-kilometre bicycle trip across 23 countries, including Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh landscape also reminds them of Australia, with its wide open spaces. The two camped at Charyn Canyon on their way to Almaty and were also amazed by the mountain views. They also noted that Astana seems to be a city that is on the way up.

“Our goal is to cycle across the great landmass called Eurasia,” Rule told a reporter for The Astana Times.

The most difficult part about their time in Kazakhstan, they said, has been the wind, which has made both cycling and playing ultimate Frisbee difficult. They have taught Kazakh youth to play indoor ultimate Frisbee to help combat the elements.

The two are fundraising for Ultimate Peace, an organisation that builds bridges of friendship between youth in communities divided by conflict using the sport of ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee calls for on-field conflicts to be resolved by the players under an honour system. Participants then bring that experience to their communities. The centrepiece of Ultimate Peace is an annual camp for Israeli, Palestinian and Arab youths, and the cyclists want to raise 100,000 Australian dollars during their Creswick-to-London bike ride. Kazakhstan is the 11th country the duo has passed through. The amount of time they spend in each country differs depending on its size and if they stop to teach or play ultimate Frisbee. For the first seven months of their trip, they experienced exceedingly hot weather and monsoons. The two would ride in the early morning or late in the day to avoid the heat. The harsh conditions have eased a bit recently.

On May 28, they also had some students they had taught at Almaty International School travel to Astana, where a match was scheduled again youth from QSI Astana. It is believed to be Kazakhstan’s first ultimate Frisbee inter-school match. After Kazakhstan, the pair plan to cycle into Kyrgyzstan and over the mountains to Uzbekistan. They also expect to pass through Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London in November. It’s a long journey, but they say, fundraising for their friends at Ultimate Peace has given the trip purpose. Donations can be made to Ultimate Peace at:

Before the trip, neither were devoted cyclists, but they did love the outdoors and say they have gotten strong as the ride has progressed. Also, experiencing the world at such a slow pace has allowed them to interact with local people and enjoy experiences, they said. “We have found that nearly everyone in the world has a story to share about riding a bike. This has helped us find common ground with all sorts of people,” said Rule. Rule and Mumford have slept mainly in their two-person tent, which they carry on their bikes. But they have also been able to stay with members of the cycling and ultimate Frisbee communities along the way. In cycling through Kazakhstan, the bicyclists have come to love Kazakh food, meats, breads, beers and tea, they told a journalist for The Astana Times.

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Australian Cyclists Jess Mumford and Dan Rule


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Also In The News... •

Kazakhstan to begin visa-free regime with South Korea An agreement on one month of mutual visa-free travel for Kazakh and Korean holders of ordinary passports will be signed during the June 18-20 official visit of South Korean President Park Geun-hye to Kazakhstan, said Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexey Volkov. The Kazakhstan-Korea Business Forum will take place during the visit, talks will be held at the highest level and a package of documents are expected to be signed. Tourism and medical development, research technologies and student exchanges will be also discussed during the visit. (

Kazakh ambassador meets with Vietnamese foreign minister in Hanoi Kazakh Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumahanov met June 6 with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. The parties discussed the status and prospects for bilateral and multilateral political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation and expressed interest in further strengthening cooperation in those spheres and others. During the meeting, Zhumahanov conveyed a personal message from Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov to Pham Binh Minh about supporting Kazakhstan’s candidacy for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-2018. (

International Astana Mining & Metallurgy Congress to be held in June The fifth International Astana Mining & Metallurgy Congress (AMM 2014) was held in Astana on June 12-13. The congress unites global political, business, financial and scientific leaders in the mining and metallurgical industries every year to foster the development of mutually advantageous partnerships, introduce innovations and attract investments. An international forum, a large exhibition, the Golden Hephaestus industry competition, round tables and master classes are included in the congress programme. (

March of peace and reconciliation to start in Astana The Way to the Roots March of Peace and Reconciliation will travel through cities in Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Greece and Bulgaria from June 11 to August 13. Executive Director of the march and its movement Ruslan Abdullin says the march will start in Astana and will continue in Kazan, Moscow, Kiev, Uman, Odessa and Sofia. (

Around 1 million people to visit Borovoye in 2020 According to the Committee for Tourism of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, around 1 million people will visit the Shchuchinsk-Borovoye resort zone in northern Kazakhstan’s Borovoye region in 2020. The Shchuchinsk-Borovoye resort zone is one of the most popular recreation areas among local citizens. According to statistics that include only data on visitors arranging tours through tour operators, in 2013, 94,811 people visited the area, including 89,032 residents of Kazakhstan and 5,779 foreigners. (

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Kazakhstan has 61 visa-free destinations: Visa Restriction Index 2014 With 61 visa-free travel destinations, Kazakhstan has been ranked 66th, along with Cuba, Ghana and Belarus, in the Visa Restriction Index 2014. Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom ranked first with visa-free access to 173 countries while Afghanistan was last at 93, with visa-free access to 28 countries. Global leader in residence and citizenship planning Henley & Partners and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest database of travel information, conducted an analysis of visa regulations of 219 countries and formed the ranking according to the number of visa-free destinations the countries’ citizens enjoy. Generally, European countries ranked at the top. The best-ranking countries in the post-Soviet space were Russia, where citizens enjoy visa-free access to 95 destinations, and Ukraine with 77 destinations. (

Kazakhstan to host International Physics Olympiad The International Physics Olympiad IPHO 2014 will be held in Kazakhstan in July. Around 700 participants from over 80 countries will gather in Astana for the competition, which will be held from July 13-21 at the Nazarbayev University. In the first round, young physicists will attempt challenges demonstrating their knowledge of theory. In the second round, participants must carry out experiments. The competitor who earns the most points will win. Kazakhstan’s team consists of five people. They started preparing for the upcoming competition two years ago, and this year’s goal is to make the top 10. (



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