Kazakhstan may be young, barely 20 years old, but it has done some incredible things to advance human society. Many archaeologists, for example, believe humans first domesticated the horse in this area in around 3,500 BC.
By the 13th century, Kazakhstan was a central hub on the Silk Road. The trade route that went from China to Europe travelled right through the region, making it an important way station for traders.
Today, it’s not passing traders and travellers bringing Kazakhstan wealth; rather it is the country’s untold natural resources. The 9th largest country in the world has an abundance of minerals, metals and other valuable commodities – giving it huge economic potential and attracting foreign investors from all over the world.
For Kazakhstan to receive forgiven investment, it first had to prove it was economically stable. This stability was showcased in the early 2000s: it was the first former member of the Soviet Union to repay all its debt to the International Money Fund, doing so seven years ahead of schedule.
In 2002, the US Department of Justice granted the country market economy status under US trade law – this allowed it to improve international economic necessities such as currency convertibility and wage rate determination. Since then, Kazakhstan has made a major push to receive investment from all over the world.
In May 2011, Kazakhstan hosted an investment forum in the nation’s capital city, Astana. The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Thomas Mirow, gave the opening address and highlighted the economic opportunity that lie in the country.
“Kazakhstan is truly a place where Asia meets Europe,” he said during the speech, “[it has] developed an ambitious development plan, based on economic diversification and innovation. European investors are welcome to take an active part in our development.”
Kazakhstan is rich in a number of different resources. Its biggest export is oil and yet despite this most of its deposits have yet to be tapped – it has been estimated that the total quantity of oil in Kazakhstan is over six billion tons. With that much oil sitting beneath the surface, the nation’s only three refineries are not capable of processing all that potential output.
Agriculture also plays a major role in the Kazak economy, accounting for over 10 per cent of the nation’s GDP in 2005. The country’s chief agricultural exports are livestock products – specifically leather, meat and wool – and crops such as wheat, cotton and rice.
A new nation with enormous potential, and a strong recent economic record, Kazakhstan is putting itself in a great position to majorly improve its economic output. The country needs foreign investors to push the economy in the right direction and tap into the nation’s massive potential.