UAE steps up investment in Central Asia’s largest economy


Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a number of trade agreements, under which the two countries will implement investment projects worth $900 million.

The documents meant to boost cooperation across a wide range of economic sectors were signed as part of Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov’s visit to Abu Dhabi this week.

“The government of Kazakhstan continues to improve the investment climate,” Smailov said, calling on Emirati partners to use all available cooperation opportunities.

“Despite the global crisis, the inflow of foreign direct investment into our country in the first quarter of this year increased by 54% to $6.8 billion,” he added.

The United Arab Emirates is Kazakhstan’s main strategic, commercial and economic partner in the Arab region, particularly in the petrochemical, energy, transport, logistics services, agriculture and space sectors. UAE direct investment in Kazakhstan over the past 16 years has amounted to over $2.6 billion.

Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, Smailov met Musabbeh Al-Kaabi, who heads the Emirati state-owned Mubadala Investment Company, which holds $285 billion in assets and ranks 13th among sovereign wealth funds in the world. Following the meeting, Al-Kaabi expressed interest in investing in Kazakhstan’s green energy, finance, mining, oil and gas sectors.

As part of the visit, Smailov also held negotiations with Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General and CEO of ADQ – one of the largest holding companies in the region with direct and indirect investments in more than 90 companies.

In total, the Kazakh delegation presented Emirati companies with 40 investment projects worth $6.5 billion in mining, agriculture, oil and gas, and construction.

“We have serious potential in the areas of energy, chemical industry, agriculture, mining and metallurgical complex. In this context, I would like to offer to participate in the implementation of new projects specially prepared taking into account the current situation in the world,” the Prime Minister stressed, according to his press service.

Smailov also highlighted the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Trade Route (TITR), known as the “Middle Corridor”, as a main pivot to realize transcontinental trade potential and attract private investment. Kazakhstan is actively developing the Trans-Caspian international transport route, Smailov said, adding that there are plans to build a shipbuilding plant along the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The TITR stretches from the Chinese seaport of Lianyungang to the Sino-Kazakh border, through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Georgia to Europe. The goods are transported by rail to the Kazakh seaports of Aktau and Kuryk and then sent to the international maritime trade port of Baku (Port of Baku) in Azerbaijan by ships via the Caspian Sea. In Azerbaijan, containers are transported along the 826 kilometer Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Georgia and eventually Turkey. The route then splits in two, both leading to Europe – one of them passes through the Turkish cities of Mersin and Istanbul and the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, the other stretches to the Ukrainian city of Chernomorsk via the Black Sea.

In 2021, transit and container traffic on TITR exceeded 25,000 twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEU), increasing by 20% compared to 2020. Participating countries aim to increase cargo volume sixfold along of the road to reach 3.2 million tons per year.


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