The Kazakhstan-Singapore Business Forum took place in Singapore today with the participation of more than 500 representatives of the business circles of the two countries. The event was aimed at discussing issues of deepening trade and economic cooperation and the development of priority areas of interaction between business structures of Kazakhstan and Singapore. The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev addressed the forum participants with a welcoming speech.

Ladies and gentlemen!

I am very pleased to welcome you to our forum!

We meet in the anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Exactly 25 years ago, after the historic visit of the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, to Kazakhstan, we established friendly relations for many years to come.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev highly appreciates his friendship with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, and our people will never forget the great contribution of the founder of Singaporean statehood to building strong relations of mutual trust and respect.

Today, Singapore has become one of the most important trade and economic partners of Kazakhstan in Southeast Asia.

We have more than 100 joint ventures in the manufacturing industry, trade, ICT, construction and finance.

However, time does not stand still, new challenges appear, but also new opportunities.

The world is at a crossroads.

Global security and international trade rules are under pressure from many factors. New technologies and innovations are transforming the way of life.

Nevertheless, our country is confident in the future.

President N. Nazarbayev announced the Third Modernization of Kazakhstan, aimed at creating a new model of growth and entry in the top 30 advanced countries in the context of the new global reality.

A clear strategy of the country’s digital transformation is being implemented.

We announced two social packages of measures that ensure the inclusiveness of economic growth and the subsequent growth of income for all citizens.

The first results of this strategy are here.

Kazakhstan’s economic growth rate is ahead of the world average. In 2017, the economy grew by 4.1%, after 10 months of 2018 – by 4.1%. At the same time, non-commodity sectors account for 2/3 growth.

We have done a lot of work to improve the investment climate and liberalized legislation in the field of entrepreneurship. We improved mechanisms for the protection of property rights. Ensured the rule of law. Competition is encouraged. Monopolies are limited.

In order to build effective interaction with investors on the one-stop-shop principle, national companies Kazakh Invest and Kazakh Export have been created.

Today, among the 190 countries of the world, Kazakhstan places 28th in the World Bank’s Doing Business-2019 ranking.

Kazakhstan became an associate member of the OECD Investment Committee and joined the Declaration on International Investment.

I am sure that we have great potential for cooperation. I will share my vision of promising areas.

First - cooperation in the field of innovation.

As you know, Kazakhstan has begun the accelerated introduction of new technologies and innovations, elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our goal is to create a national mechanism and use science, innovations and technologies to prepare for future development.

Singapore rightfully occupies a leading position here. This is proven by Singapore’s successful chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; and the 33rd ASEAN Summit, recently held in Singapore under the auspices of the ideas of Sustainability, Flexibility and Innovation.

The Government of Kazakhstan invites Singaporean companies in the IT sector to cooperate in the systemic implementation of innovative digital methods and technologies, the development of Smart Cities.

We value the experience of Singaporean companies in creating a modern infrastructure in the innovation cluster. And today, right after our meeting, I will specifically visit the Fusionopolis innovation cluster.

We have already created an innovation cluster in Kazakhstan.

Its core is Nazarbayev University, the Park of Innovative Technologies, and the International Center for IT Startups Astana Nub.

The Law on venture financing was adopted.

All this creates favorable conditions for the development of an innovation ecosystem and technologies, venture business.

Today I invited the National Holding “Baiterek” to work with colleagues from Enterprise Singapore on the creation of a joint venture fund to promote start-ups through, and with the help of Singapore, to the countries of South-East Asia, as well as in the opposite direction, including the markets of the EAEU countries.

The second promising area, in my opinion, is cooperation in the field of transport and logistics a.

Kazakhstan, being the first country on the path of the Chinese initiative “Belt and Road”, is actively developing its infrastructural and logistical capabilities.

The multi-modal Eurasian transcontinental corridor was launched, linking Central Asia with Europe through Russia, the Caspian and Black Seas, as well as Iran and Turkey.

5 railway and 6 international road routes provide transit of goods through the territory of Kazakhstan 2 times faster than by sea.

The Kazakhstan section of the International Corridor "Western Europe - Western China" reduces the time for transportation of goods from the port of Lianyungang to St. Petersburg to 10 days.

On the border with China, modern warehouses of the dry port “Khorgos - Eastern Gate” were built. It is the largest logistics park in Central Asia.

In the west of Kazakhstan, in the Caspian Sea, a modern port infrastructure has been created, which increased the loading capacity of the ports of Aktau and Kuryk.

All this may be interesting for your companies that have extensive experience in the development of transport and logistics complexes not only in Singapore, but also in the region.

The third area is cooperation in housing construction.

Kazakhstan has implemented large-scale programs for housing construction and providing citizens with preferential mortgage lending, affordable and high-quality housing. The country is being urbanized. Four major agglomerations are consistently developing.

Just before I met you, I was at the Office of the Housing and Development Board of Singapore.

HDB experience is very interesting. We will study it and develop a vision of how the Singaporean experience can be applied in the housing policy of Kazakhstan.

The fourth area is investment in the development of the manufacturing industry and non-commodity exports.

We continue to diversify the economy and invite investors to the metallurgy, oil refining, chemistry, and engineering sectors.

We have 12 special economic zones and 22 industrial zones with different sectoral orientation and different preferences.

Kazakhstan has a large number of projects in the design and development of the production of copper, gold, rare and rare earth metals, including lithium and vanadium, phosphate raw materials and much more.

We are interested in investing in geological exploration, new technologies for enrichment and processing of raw materials.

We have begun a large-scale modernization of the agro-industrial complex. Structural reform and diversification of the agricultural sector is underway. The scientific, technical and technological re-equipment of the entire industry has begun. All this provides great opportunities for investment in the food industry.

The Government of Kazakhstan is actively working to develop trade with China and with other neighboring sales markets - this makes export-oriented agribusiness especially attractive for investments.

Tomorrow I will be in Beijing, where we plan to continue our dialogue with Chinese colleagues in this direction.

A new area for our economy is the development of tourism. For this purpose, the specialized company KazakhTourism has been created, as well as special conditions for companies interested in the development of tourism infrastructure.

With the opening of new flights connecting Kazakhstan with Southeast Asia, we invite interested Singaporean companies to implement joint tourism projects and express our readiness to open a direct flight with Singapore.

The fifth area of ​​cooperation is participation in the privatization and work of the Astana International Financial Center.

In Kazakhstan, a campaign is underway to privatize the largest state-owned mining and metallurgical companies, oil and gas enterprises, energy, transport and communications, and infrastructure.

Last week, on the AIFC Stock Exchange, the first trading in shares of privatized enterprises took place.

The national company Kazatomprom was the first company listed on the stock exchange; The successful IPO on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the AIFC confirmed its status as a leader in the global uranium industry. This is a good signal for the Singapore business.

In the near future, large national assets in the telecommunications, aviation, railway and oil and gas industries will be put up for IPO.

The AIFC is the only financial center in the region of Central Eurasia, the work of which is governed by English law. An independent Court and the International Arbitration Center guarantee the fairness and protection of the rights of the parties. The participants were granted tax benefits up to 50 years, simplified currency, visa and labor regimes.

Therefore, the Government of Kazakhstan invites Singaporean companies, banks and financial institutions to work together at the AIFC.

Ladies and gentlemen!

These are the main areas of cooperation that are beneficial for business, and which, in my opinion, will allow us to bring our countries even closer together.

In this regard, for me, a symbolic event is the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the promotion and mutual protection of investments.

The great Lee Kuan Yew once said: “If I were to describe in one word why Singapore succeeded, that word would be trust. It was our trust that allowed foreign investors to establish their factories in Singapore”.

This statement seems to me decisive, fundamentally important in establishing business relations.

As well as one of the basic principles that our President Nursultan Nazarbayev adheres to, in working with foreign partners: “cooperation based on trust; working together on mutually beneficial terms”.

Kazakhstan is a country that investors trust and with which it is profitable to work!

I will cite only one fact.

In the past 10 years alone, about $ 250 billion of foreign direct investment has been invested in the economy of our country. This brought us to the 1st place in Central Asia: more than 70% of investments in the region fall to Kazakhstan.

The Government of Kazakhstan is ready to provide full support to your projects and is open to dialogue on the whole range of issues.

I invite Singapore to actively cooperate and implement new joint projects!

I wish success to all forum participants!

Thank you for attention.

Published: 21 November 2018



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