Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA


Cuba signed agreement on participation in EXPO-2017 0

Posted on December 27, 2015 by KazCham


On November 18, the EXPO-2017 Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev met with Ambassador of Cuba to Kazakhstan, Commissioner of the national section of the Cuban pavilion at the EXPO-2017 Carlos Enrique Valdes de la Concepcion in Astana.

The sides shared opinions about the prospects of future cooperation in the green energy sphere and signed an agreement on Cuban participation in the EXPO-2017.

Cuba has participated in EXPO exhibitions since the first one in London in 1852 (as a Spanish colony). It has become the 14th country that signed an agreement on the participation. However, 53 world countries and 11 international organizations have officially confirmed their participation in the Exhibition in Astana.

The Ambassador noted these events are a measure of a high level of political relations between the two countries. Cuba understands the relevance of the theme of the EXPO-2017 and plans to produce 24% of the total energy from renewable energy sources by 2030.

EXPO 2017 Logo to Mark Air Astana Aircraft Fleet 0

Posted on November 03, 2015 by KazCham

Astana Times

The first EXPO 2017 logo has been emblazoned on the fuselage of an Embraer 190, the result of a memorandum of cooperation between Astana EXPO 2017 and Air Astana, the largest national carrier in Kazakhstan. The signing ceremony was held on Aug. 17 with the participation of company president Peter Foster and Astana EXPO 2017 Company Chairman Akhmetzhan Yessimov.

All 30 aircraft in the fleet are expected to be marked. The aviation company is the official carrier of the coming exhibition and is also an official partner of the event.

Starting next year, the partners will begin implementing a joint campaign to promote the exhibition in international markets. The Air Astana business network currently includes more than 40,000 agents and passengers traveling with the airline during the exhibition period will be able to visit EXPO 2017 for free.

President Nazarbayev Unveils 100 Concrete Steps at Astana Economic Forum 0

Posted on May 30, 2015 by KazCham

Astana Times

ASTANA – Kazakhstan is embarking on some of the most ambitious reforms in its independent history as President Nursultan Nazarbayev moves to implement his election campaign platform of five institutional reforms.


On May 20, three weeks after Nazarbayev announced in his inaugural speech that a “Plan of the Nation” would be developed to radically change the country, two leading Kazakh daily newspapers published the government’s concrete approaches to implementing those reforms.

The approaches, outlined in the “100 Concrete Steps to Implement Five Institutional Reforms” document, have been published to not only give the country a clear sense of the direction in which the newly reelected leader wants to take it, but also to be used as a checklist by the international community.

“We have now published the 100 Steps for the world to see,” Nazarbayev said in his remarks at the plenary session of the Astana Economic Forum on May 22. “Now the world will be able to track our progress or lack thereof on all of them.”

“One hundred concrete steps are a response to global and local challenges and, at the same time, it is a plan for the nation to join the top 30 most-developed countries in the new historical conditions. One hundred concrete steps will give Kazakhstan a margin of safety that will help the country through a difficult period, implement the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy and strengthen Kazakh statehood. The plan lays out radical changes in society and the state, the main goal of which is treatment of systemic diseases, not just smoothing their exterior symptoms,” outlines the preamble to the document.

The concrete steps, which are shorter and more precise measures, are grouped under the following five institutional reforms: formation of a professional state apparatus; the rule of law; industrialisation and economic growth; identity and unity; formation of accountable government.

According to the document, the first reform suggests formation of a modern, professional and independent public service that ensures high-quality implementation of economic programmes and delivery of public services.

A few steps under this reform are concentrated on new ways to recruit talented candidates for public office, including from the private sector. One of them actually even allows for appointing foreign citizens to positions within the government, a practice better known in the post-Soviet realm in countries such as Georgia and Ukraine. Two more measures stipulate elaboration of a new code on civil service and a re-examination of public servants aimed at cleansing the corps of the less competent. The timeline and terms of such a massive effort are yet to be defined.

The announced steps also foresee the introduction of a revamped system of remuneration for civil servants that will rely on performance- and region-based criteria. The latter could be relevant for those working in the oil-producing regions of Atyrau and Mangystau, as well as in Almaty and Astana where life is notably costlier than, for instance, in Shymkent or Petropavlovsk.

The second reform involves the transition from the five-level justice system (first, appeal, cassation, supervising and re-supervising) to a three-level (first, appeal and cassation) system. The aim is to strengthen foreign and domestic investors’ trust in Kazakhstan’s court system. The measures include toughening qualification criteria for the recruitment of judges by introducing a new requirement for a candidate to serve at least five years within the court system and a one-year trial period for newly-appointed judges, improving the public image of police in order to increase the level of citizens’ trust and cut corruption. In general, implementing this reform seeks to ensure property rights by improving conditions for entrepreneurial activity and protecting contractual obligations.

One of the steps under this reform requires expansion of court proceedings that must be decided by a jury, while introducing into laws a category of criminal cases where consideration by jury will be mandatory.

Another “step” stipulates the creation of a municipal or “local” police force, which will work under the control and in close cooperation with local executive authorities and local communities. A widespread practice in the world, it has a brief history in Kazakhstan. In 1992, an institution of local police was introduced but was scrapped after less than a year in favour of a more centralised model.

Within the third reform, the government is eager to attract strategic investors to the country’s agricultural sector that is lagging behind the industrial and services branches of economy. Beyond that, one of the measures stipulates that the tax and customs systems will be integrated. This will open doors to an importer to transport commodities into Kazakhstan before selling them.

The third reform also talks about the extension of the current practice of civil servants making declarations of incomes to declaring expenses as well, starting from January 2017. The following stage could be extended to all citizens, however, no timetable for such an expansion has been defined.

One of the measures talks about strengthening the institution of a “business ombudsman,” a kind of prosecutor on behalf of entrepreneurs. Implementation of those tasks will boost economic growth and diversify industry.

A few steps concentrate on establishing a “multi-modal Eurasian transcontinental transport corridor” that would facilitate quicker delivery of goods between Asia and Europe via Kazakhstan. Among similar measures, construction of a new airport to service the growing needs of Almaty is also mentioned.

Two more steps envisage establishing the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) with a status significantly different enough that it may require introducing amendments into the nation’s Constitution. Those maybe justified by a need to introduce a separate judicial system in the AIFC based largely on the English law and the use of English as “an official language” of the centre, along with Kazakh and Russian. The design of the centre, similar to one used in Dubai, would turn Astana into a major “financial hub for the [Commonwealth of Independent States] CIS countries and West Asia.” The centre would focus particularly on “servicing capital markets and Islamic finances” with a goal to becoming one of the 20 leading financial centres of the world.

AIFC will use the facilities constructed for EXPO 2017 following the exhibition, Nazarbayev announced at the Astana Economic Forum.

On a social side, one of the steps requires the “introduction of mandatory medical insurance” with a “solidary responsibility of state, employers and employees.” Details of this step have not been announced.

The main aspect of the fourth reform concerning issues of “Identity and Unity,” is shaping a “Nation of Common Future” by nurturing a viable middle class as the backbone of a successful nation, which is achieved by sustaining the genuine rule of law and modern and valid political, economic and civil institutions in the society. According to the publication, the ideology of Mangilik El (The Eternal Nation) should serve as a system of common civic values.

Measures to boost domestic tourism and establish encyclopaedia-type information resources and databases systematising presentation of Kazakhstan’s natural and human resources are prominent in the description of the steps under this reform.

The fifth reform involves “creation of an accountable government.” From now on, the heads of public bodies will report annually to the general public on the achievements of their agencies. This will include a concept of “open government” (elaboration of a new law on unhindered access to public information with an exclusion for classified materials), budget and consolidated financial statements, the results of an external financial audit, evaluation of the effectiveness of public policy, public assessment of the results of the quality of public services, online statistical reports from the state agencies and reports on the execution of the national and local budgets.

Further development of an e-government concept, that has seen a highly successful implementation in Kazakhstan, is included in the proposal as reflected in the last of the 100 steps, on establishing a State Corporation of Government for Citizens that is to become a single provider of public services. The arrangement would be modelled on Canada Service and Austrialia’s Centre link.

In order to implement all of the above-mentioned reforms, the National Modernisation Commission under the President has been created. The head of the commission is Prime Minister Karim Massimov. It consists of five working groups, members of which include local and foreign experts. The commission will have its own International Advisory Council, with the inclusion of international experts responsible not only for providing recommendations but also “performing an independent systematised monitoring of results in implementation of the reforms.”

International participants in the May 21-22 Astana Economic Forum have commented on the newly published 100 steps document.

According to the Kazinform news agency, Chairman of Russia’s Sberbank German Gref said he experienced something of a “culture shock” after reading it and that Russia should take on board Kazakhstan’s Plan of the Nation and create a mutual plan with Astana called “100 steps together.”

The head of Sberbank called the document “comprehensive and logically well developed.”

“I can quite professionally assess this document. For many years, I was engaged in this topic. I can say that this document is one of the best I have ever seen. If at least 50 out of 100 steps are completed, and I hope that most of them are implemented, it is obvious that Kazakhstan will turn into a fundamentally different country,” Gref said.

Ambassador Umarov takes a Tour of Silicon Valley companies 1

Posted on April 18, 2015 by KazCham

Palo Alto Online

Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan in the U.S., went on a tour of the Tesla car company’s headquarters, along with 34 other foreign ambassadors.  He was on a three-day tour, from March 29 to April 2, of Silicon Valley to learn how emerging technologies in the area might help their countries. In his meetings with business executives, he told about the vast opportunities for American high-tech companies in the context of Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy and “Nurly Zhol” infrastructure modernization program and EXPO 2017 with the theme “Future Energy”.

The Diplomatic Corps members visited incubator 500 Startups, the Khan Academy, Airbnb and  the Napa Valley Vintners among other organizations.

Several ambassadors were interested in Tesla’s energy-storage innovations, which enables its electric vehicles to charge quickly within a half hour. Most of them were curious about the potential of clean energy in their country and how Bay Area companies could lead to more jobs in their own countries.

Kazakhstan seeks to collaborate with Japan to promote the energy sector 0

Posted on November 13, 2014 by KazCham

Environment News Service

 At the fifth meeting of the Kazakh-Japanese Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Massimov said that it will explore collaboration with Japan to manufacture electric and hybrid vehicles.

Massimov remarked that “Japan has high-tech, Kazakhstan has the natural resources and hardworking people,” and that cooperation in the nuclear and automobile sectors will be mutually beneficial.

Over 200 delegates were present at the meeting, including delegates from 40 Japanese companies like Toyota.

Other areas of cooperation indicated by the two parties included telecommunications, space industry, agriculture, transport and metallurgy.

Asset Issekeshev, Kazakhstan’s minister of industry and trade, said that Japan was a priority investor country, and Kazakhstan has implemented a visa-free regime for Japan.

Kazakhstan’s push for electric and hybrid vehicles is in line with its Green economy program, and the Expo 2017 which will take place in Astana from June 10-September 20, 2017.

The Expo’s theme is Future Energy, and Kazakhstan expects over 100 countries to attend the Expo. In its preparation for the Expo, Kazakhstan held the First International Forum “Future Energy: reducing CO2 emissions”  which was intended to be a platform to develop research and innovation projects on issues like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy-efficient technologies and universal access to sustainable energy.

Electric cars were first exhibited in Kazakhstan at the First Kazakhstan International Automobile Show “Astana International Auto Salon 2013,” an event that had gained much spotlight and attention. Kazakhstan had pledged to develop the capacity for producing electric cars and is talking with several companies like Mitsubishi to take forward its plans.

Expo-2017 approaches as construction starts 0

Posted on May 24, 2014 by KazCham

Colibri Law Firm

Administration of Expo-2017 organisers have announced that the construction of major facility – National Pavilion, shall commence in June 2014. It is planned that 26 new facilities will be constructed in total for under the auspices of Expo-2017, including hotel, congress-hall, large parking area and residential complexes.

An American Firm Wins EXPO 2017 design idea for the Expo 2017 Exhibition Site 0

Posted on November 01, 2013 by KazCham

Expo2017, October 22, 2013 An American architecture firm will design the EXPO2017 Astana Exhibition Hall in Kazakhstan. The Chicago-based Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture Company will design the 173.4 hectare Expo grounds that will include housing projects, socio-cultural, education and health-care facilities, shopping centers, parks and boulevards.

The Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Contest Jeremy Rifkin says, the project of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture is the most practical in terms of both sustainable development and architectural and artistic design and its further use after EXPO-2017.

According to the press release issued by the American firm,  “AS+GG’s design was selected as the winner of the international competition that featured 105 entries from all over the world including Coop Himmelb(l)au, Zaha Hadid Architects, GMP International, Massimiliano, Studio Pei-Zhu, UNStudio, Snohetta, HOK, Isozaki, Aoki & Associates, and Safdie Architects.”

“International Expositions take place every 2 or 3 years and last for a duration of 3 months. The most recent International Expo was in Yeosu, Korea in 2012. Each Expo chooses a specialized theme that generates the discourse of the architecture, events, and demonstrations of the event. The theme for the upcoming Expo in Astana is “Future Energy.” The theme is aimed at finding ways to achieve qualitative changes in the energy sector, primarily for the development of alternative sources of energy and new ways of transportation. Finding sustainable energy supplies is a critical and growing global concern.  The solution to these concerns ensures economic growth and improved social standards while reducing the burden on the environment.”

“AS+GG’s design for EXPO-2017 will embrace the Future Energy concept by becoming the first Third Industrial Revolution city, where energy consumed by the Expo community will be provided from renewable sources. Buildings will become generators of power and their energy will be stored using innovative technologies while being distributed by a smart grid.  The Expo community will provide infrastructure to encourage and support the use of vehicles that use renewable fuels.”

“The forms and language of the buildings are designed to reduce their energy needs and operate as “power plants” that harness energy from the sun and/or wind,” says AS+GG Partner Gordon Gill, FAIA. “The buildings will use this power directly or supply it to the district-wide smart grid for storage or use.”

“AS+GG is currently working on projects for clients in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States. The partnership was founded in 2006 by Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill and Robert Forest.”

The advantages of the project is that all of the objects after the exhibition can be changed, disassembled or converted, that is, the demolition of the buildings is not required. Overall, the general layout and buildings were designed using the principles of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable design. The expressive architectural signature of the EXPO-2017 object is unique, it will provide great benefits not only to Kazakhstan, but also to the global community, as it will push the boundaries of science and its applications for future energy and preserving the nature. Symbolically, the winning design stipulates that all the energy consumed by the visitors of the EXPO exhibition will be generated from renewable sources. And all the buildings would serve as a power plants that use solar and wind energy. The exposure by the participating over 100 countries to the new horizons of alternative energy would provide a boost to sustainable growth and caring attitude to the mother nature.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014. The developer of the “EXPO-2017 construction site will be NC “JSC “Astana EXPO-2017”.

Kazakhstan Plans to Rewrite its Innovation Strategy by Hosting EXPO-2017: Will it work? 0

Posted on September 26, 2013 by KazCham

The Central Asia-Caucasus ANALYST, 4 September 2013

As part of its Innovation Strategy, which is designed to develop skill-intensive sectors and to promote innovative business practices through alternative energy, Kazakhstan will host World EXPO in summer 2017.

At a time when the Kazakh government is working to reinvent itself, World EXPO-2017 is a promising opportunity to develop socially and economically by creating new businesses and promoting the use of green energy. As a result, the government is investing substantial time and money into the event. Kazakhstan chose alternative energy as the topic for EXPO in hopes of attracting the newest technology in order “to share it with the least developed and developing countries,” according to Ambassador to the UN Byrganym Aitimova.

Despite the challenges posed by putting on such a large event, Kazakhstan is ambitious that if implemented effectively, World EXPO-2017 could help the nation to build its economy and spur “diversification and competitiveness.” In order to achieve this, Kazakhstan should take three major steps in preparation for and implantation of the event. First, the government should be careful to invest only in infrastructure and enterprises that will be of impact when EXPO-2017 is over. Second, public-private partnerships (PPPs) should be utilized to increase cooperation with and secure investment from the private sector. Finally, Kazakhstan should continue to invest in human capital through education and training even though infrastructure will require significant financing.

The end result will not be known until 2017, but the future looks bright and green in Kazakhstan.

EXPO-2017 commissioner: Kazakhstan in interested in attracting advanced technologies 0

Posted on July 27, 2013 by KazCham

D. Mukhtarov, Trend, July 12, 2013,

The bilateral meetings were held among Kazakh First Deputy Foreign Minister, commissioner for the EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition Rapil Zhoshybayev, Deputy Commissioner General of Expo 2000 in Hanover, director of Messe M?nchen GmbH Norbert Bargmann, chairman of the Bavarian Council for Economic Promotion Otto Viskhoi, as well as the management of a number of Bavarian leading companies, engaged in the production of alternative energy, energy efficient and “green” technologies, reconstruction and modernization of urban infrastructure on “Smart City” projects, in Munich on July11-12, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.

During these meetings, the Bavarian business representatives were informed about the preparation for EXPO 2017 in Astana, as well as opportunities to participate in the implementation of the national project. In particular, Zhoshybayev stressed that Kazakhstan is interested in attracting the world’s foremost technologies, related to the exhibition theme “Energy of the Future”. The Bavarian companies have these technologies.

German entrepreneurs stressed that Kazakhstan is a very perspective and attractive market. There are favorable natural conditions (sun, wind, etc.) for the development of alternative energy and a favorable location in the center of Eurasia, as well as great attention and the country’s leadership’s support for transition to a “green” economy.

A decision about holding EXPO in Astana in 2017 has become an additional incentive to implement long-term projects in Kazakhstan, as well as within the exhibition. The results will be targeted to other regions of the country, as well as potential markets of neighboring countries in the future.

Bargmann shared his experience of holding EXPO in Hanover in 2000. The sides have thoroughly discussed a wide range of issues to organize the exhibition in Astana. Following the meeting, he voiced his intention to take an active part in EXPO in Astana in 2017.

Dominican Republic Supports EXPO-2017 Bid 0

Posted on November 06, 2012 by KazCham

Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Oct 26, 2012

Kazakh delegation visits Santo Domingo

A delegation from Kazakhstan visited the Dominican Republic on October 19 as part of the program to advance Astana’s bid to host EXPO-2017.

National coordinator of the Astana EXPO-2017 bid and Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Rapil Zhoshybayev, met in the capital, Santo Domingo, with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, Axel Wittkop, and Ambassador at Large, Rafael Melo. It was the first visit to the Dominican Republic by a Kazakhstani delegation at this level since diplomatic relations were established in July 2011.

A presentation on the Astana bid highlighted the proposed “Future Energy” theme, which is relevant to people around the world and reflects Kazakhstan’s many anti-nuclear and environmental initiatives aimed at resolving global issues in security, the environment and the search for new energy sources. Mr. Wittkop confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic would send an official note of support for Kazakhstan’s bid.

The two sides went on to discuss developing bilateral cooperation through expanding agreements and the possible formation of an intergovernmental commission, as well as organizing a visit to Kazakhstan by Dominican officials and business representatives.

2017 will mark 166 years since the first International Exposition was held in London’s famous Crystal Palace, specially constructed to showcase the goods of many different countries. Today, in keeping with its traditions, the Expo of the 21st century continues to offer a unique and fascinating insight into the values and priorities of different nations and how they interact.

Astana has accumulated considerable experience in hosting major international events such as the OSCE Summit, the 7th Winter Asian Games and meetings of the World Islamic Economic Forum, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the CIS and other international organizations.

Kazakhstan would be the first post-Soviet state and the first Central Asian state to host an Expo. On 22 November 2012 delegates from the 160 member states of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) will elect the host country for EXPO 2017.

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