The Country that Respects Tradition While Driving Innovation
A country that prides itself on international collaboration of all kinds, Kazakhstan is flexing its economic and cultural credentials to attract the next generation businesses and tourists.
1991 was a momentous year for Kazakhstan. The country declared its sovereignty. With this newfound independence came the expectation of international relations, including building ties with trade partners, business travelers and opening up the economy to opportunity and investment. The world was on the brink of a digital revolution, and Kazakhstan was ready to join in.
Building bridges and international cooperation has become a national theme for Kazakhstan, and the sentiment is championed everywhere from business to foreign policy. In 2017 it became the first Central Asian country to serve on the United Nations Security Council.
Powering an economy
The importance of international cooperation extends beyond Kazakhstan’s approach to geopolitics and defines its economic strategy. The country is one of the founding members of the Eurasian Economic Union, thanks to its position as a natural transit route and now accounts for 70 percent of transit traffic passing between China and Europe, while enhancements to transport links will further increase this figure.
The Kazakh economy has come a long way since independence and is currently undergoing the ‘Third Modernisation’ program. The nation is embracing digital and developing innovative technologies in e-commerce, mobile banking, and 3D-printing. To power this boom, its digital infrastructure is undergoing heavy investment, providing broadband internet access across the country.
Its economy, which is larger than all other Central Asian economies combined, is supported by a highly skilled and multi-lingual workforce and plentiful natural resources. The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in the capital city of Nur-Sultan has been designed specifically to nurture investment and business opportunities. It has elevated the country to the most favored destination for overseas investment in the region.
As Kazakhstan continues to promote its privatization program, the AIFC has a key role to play in empowering the rapidly expanding private sector; government measures to boost the growth of SMEs are predicted to increase their share of GDP to 35 percent by 2025.
The AIFC opened on the former site of Expo 2017 Astana. This international event is a reflection of modern Kazakhstan. It brought together over 110 countries and almost four million visitors to discuss ‘future energy’. As a country with a key role in global energy markets, Kazakhstan was, and continues to be, acutely aware of the importance of innovative and practical energy solutions for future generations.
Emblematic of established and independent Kazakhstan, the AIFC building is the latest addition to the capital’s eye-catching skyline. Nur-Sultan has become a stunning example of modern architecture, designed to reflect Kazakhstan’s journey and heritage, and its ambitious plans for the future.
Respecting tradition while pushing innovation
Nur-Sultan is more than just the financial hub of Kazakhstan and going beyond the city limits opens up places that even the most seasoned traveler will love to explore. The old capital of Almaty in the south of the country is a cultural hub, while Shymkent, Taraz, Turkistan, and Semey are all up and coming tourist gems in the Kazakh landscape.
Kazakhstan is a country that has always been led by explorers and pioneers. Its history of nomadic tribes continues to influence modern-day culture, reflected in the food, the music, the clothes, and the crafts of Kazakh people. This country has successfully integrated into the global community while maintaining its folk traditions and customs; modernization is at the heart of Kazakhstan’s plans for the future, but this will not come at the expense of its past.
As Kazakhstan marks the 30th year of its independence, it’s important to reflect on the journey it has been on. While it’s impossible to be certain of what the world will look like in 30 years, you can be sure that Kazakhstan will maintain their economic momentum, cultural traditions, and deepen its connections with the rest of the world.