The Day of the German Economy was arranged in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the 24th time on the 6th of October. The event rallied over 300 Kazakh representatives from the public and private sectors as well as representatives of German businesses that are active in Kazakhstan or considering expanding their business into the country.
At the event, updates of German-Kazakh business relations and of the general state of the Kazakh economy were heard from 24 speakers. Diplomats from both sides participated and spoke in the event, and for example Kazakh Invest and the Investment Committee of Kazakhstan delivered their contributions.
The event included two special sessions; one about the possibilities in the logistics business in Kazakhstan and one about possibilities in the strategic resources sector. Logistics is a hot topic currently, as transit of cargo via Russia is very difficult or impossible, and so companies are looking for opportunities to transfer their goods for example from China to Western markets via Kazakhstan and the Central Asian corridor. Kazakhstan also remains a country very rich in natural resources, and is attracting investment from companies wishing to apply for subsoil exploration and use licenses.
The general mood of foreign business in Kazakhstan right now is positive and optimistic. Many companies that previously considered Russia as their main market in the East Europe and Central Asian region are now shifting their interests to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and other countries in the region. Many firms have left Russia completely and are looking for alternative markets in Central Asia.
If the closed economy of Turkmenistan is discounted, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan together form 90 % of the Central Asian region´s economy. They are the region´s most populous nations and are expecting a rise in living standards which will create large new consumer bases for Western products and services. The negative outlook of Russia as an investment target is resulting in an acceleration of this development.
Uzbekistan has made huge reforms in the past 5 years, in effect for the first time creating possibilities for Western companies to operate in the market. Although the Kazakh business environment is still ahead in terms of development, Uzbekistan is catching up. In an ideal situation, we would see friendly competition between the Central Asian countries which would result in a faster development pace in the whole region while creating a multitude of opportunities for foreign business.