In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted that France is one of the key partners of Kazakhstan in the European Union, and our country pays great attention to the development of bilateral cooperation with them.
“Regular contacts at the highest level also indicate the high level of relations between the two states. We expect that the upcoming visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Kazakhstan will give a new impetus to bilateral cooperation,” the Head of State said.
Currently, there are more than 160 companies with French capital in Kazakhstan, including such TNCs as Orano, Alstom, Air Liquide, Airbus and others. The trade turnover between the countries in 2018 increased by 32% and amounted to US$ 4.5 billion.
“I think this is a very good indicator, however, we should all strive to constantly improve it. Positive dynamics is maintained in the current year. Over 9 months, the trade turnover has been increased by 5.5% and amounted to US$ 3.4 billion. As for now, the total volume of French investments into Kazakhstan’s economy in various spheres is about US$ 16 billion,” the President said.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan has provided conditions for successful business, implemented systemic reforms aimed at improving the business climate, reducing barriers and increasing the investment attractiveness of the country.
The President drew the attention of French businessmen to a wide range of areas for expanding cooperation and invited them to partner in the implementation of joint projects in the agricultural sector and other sectors of the economy.
“Kazakhstan has wide opportunities in the production of competitive agricultural products. Our country has 25 million hectares of arable land and more than 186 million hectares of pastures. These are huge resources and reserves. Geographically, we are close to the Chinese, European, middle Eastern and Indian markets, which have a large capacity and good solvency,” the Head of State shared the prospects of cooperation.
The importance of cooperation in innovation and digital economy was also noted in the speech. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also called to expand cooperation in the financial sector and engagement in the activities of the Astana International Financial Centre.
“There are innovation clusters in the country, such as Nazarbayev University and the Park of innovative technologies. Astana Hub International Technopark of IT startups was opened. We are ready to create the most favorable conditions for the introduction of French innovations and technologies in Kazakhstan,” the President stressed.
Focusing on the development of Kazakhstan’s transit and transport infrastructure, the Head of State said that important international corridors connecting Asia and Europe via Kazakhstan, the “Nurly Zhol” programme is being implemented, which interfaced with the global Chinese initiative “One Belt, One Road”. In addition, in order to expand the transport and tourism potential, an Open Skies regime was introduced for the Kazakhstan's leading airports
“I have decided to open the sky over Kazakhstan. This regime has been introduced in 11 airports. This will lead to proper competition between all aviation companies, including Kazakh ones. Of course, this will have a beneficial effect on the aviation capabilities of our country in terms of not only the transportation of passengers, but also the organization of cargo flows between Kazakhstan and Europe,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.
The President also confirmed the interest of our country in studying and implementing the successful French experience in tourism and emphasized his readiness to receive tourists from France in Kazakhstan.
In turn, co-Chairman of the Kazakh-French business Council Yves-Louis Darricarrère noted the desire of investors to develop joint projects with Kazakhstan.
“I would like to emphasize the aspiration and desire of French companies to develop collaboration with the Kazakh enterprises on a long-term basis. They hope to develop additional projects, indeed, they are determined to work with the Kazakh authorities,” Yves-Louis Darricarrère underscored.
The meeting was also addressed by Ahlem Friga-Noy, Head of Total Kazakhstan, Philippe Christodoulou, Vice President of Air Liquide, Didier Pfleger, Senior Vice President for the Middle East of Alstom, Nicolas Mohr, Senior Vice President of Renault, Isabelle Lauzon, Senior Vice President of IDEMIA, Nicolas Maes, CEO of Orano mining, Pietro Cala, Regional Director of Vicat and other representatives of the French business.
Following the meeting, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed confidence that this event will contribute to the strengthening of the Kazakh-French relations, and be the beginning of new mutually beneficial projects.