Doha, October 10 (QNA) - HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will start tomorrow a state visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan. During the visit, HH the Amir will discuss with HE President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and senior officials the development of relations between the two countries in various fields of cooperation, in addition to discussing regional and international issues of common interest.
Also, His Highness will participate in the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which will take place in the Republic of Kazakhstan, with the participation of a number of Their Excellencies leaders of member states, heads of governments, regional and international organizations, and guests of the summit.
The relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Kazakhstan started nearly thirty years ago. The establishment of the bilateral relations at a high level began in 1993 and have continued to grow well in many fields. After the transfer of the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan from Almaty to Astana in 1997, Qatar allocated its first investments to contribute to the construction of the new capital. The State funded the building of Astana Mosque, which is one of the most important landmarks in the new capital. The two countries support each other on the international scene and the development of projects of common interest.
The Middle East occupies a special place in Kazakhstan's foreign policy priorities, and it has been keen to consolidate fruitful and beneficial relations with all countries of the region. The State of Qatar has occupied the most important position in Kazakhstan's foreign policy, as it was one of the first Arab countries to recognize Kazakhstan's independence and establish diplomatic relations with it. Throughout these years, Doha has provided extensive support to Kazakhstans initiatives and proposals in the political, commercial, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian fields.
Kazakhstan has strong diplomatic relations with Qatar which has been keen to expand mutual visits between the two sides over the past few years. Doha recently participated in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Kazakh capital. During the conference, Doha expressed its appreciation for the leading role of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Central Asian region and its activities directed at ensuring peace and stability in Asia and the world at large.
Qatar also lauded Kazakhstan for the decision it took in the early years of its independence on ceding its fourth nuclear arsenal in the world, which had led to universal recognition of its role in the world nuclear system, the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, as well as the establishment of a unique low-enriched uranium bank under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Kazakh territory. Qatar also hailed CICA as a positive contribution to the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Asia.
Qatar and Kazakhstan enjoy a high level of cooperation, reflected in the close brotherly relations between the leaders of the two countries, the exchange of delegations, and the implementation of large joint projects. HH the Amirs visit to Kazakhstan is an important opportunity to consider the current situation and prospects for the development of the Kazakh-Qatari relations, especially in areas of trade, economy, and investment, and to exchange views on the most important developments in the regional and international arenas.
Qatar was one of the first countries to provide medical assistance to Kazakhstan during the first wave of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State has also contributed to the revival of the Islamic culture of the Kazakh people through the establishment of the Islamic Cultural Center (Nur-Astana) in 2005 under the directives of HH the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
The visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Kazakhstan comes within the framework of creating a platform for mutual understanding on ways to strengthen political and economic relations, develop and enhance trade exchange between the two countries, and create bilateral investment partnerships that support increasing Qatari investments in Kazakhstan.
There is a joint keenness of the leaders of the two countries to advance and consolidate the bilateral relations in various fields. The bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, oil and gas, geology, transport, and banks is developing significantly. There are also close relations between national companies, and the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has been increasing. In 2020, the volume of trade exchange has quadrupled compared to 2019.
Over the course of nearly three decades of close relations between Qatar and Kazakhstan, the two countries have witnessed notable development at the level the cooperation, most notably the establishment of the Qatar-Kazakhstan Joint Higher Committee, which had held five sessions resulted in the signing of several agreements and memorandums of understanding.
In more than two decades, Kazakhstan has managed to become an economic and geopolitical success story, and over the years Kazakhstan has demonstrated its commitment to multilateralism and the city of Astana has become a world leader in the fields of nuclear disarmament and an active mediator of dialogue between cultures, religions, and civilizations.
Qatar Chamber encourages Qatari businessmen to explore investment opportunities in Kazakhstan. The Chamber recently participated in the Almaty Investment Forum in Kazakhstan which saw a wide international participation. Qatari investors are interested in establishing new investments outside Qatar in line with the country's strategy for economic diversification, considering Kazakhstan as a promising destination for foreign investments because of its wide investment opportunities.
In 2017, Qatar Chamber hosted a large delegation of 50 Kazakh businessmen who met with their Qatari counterparts at the "Made in Qatar" exhibition and discussed ways to enhance cooperation relations. During that visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Qatar and Kazakhstan chambers with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the private sector and exchanging information on the economy and investment.
Qatar Chamber and the Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the cooperation between the Qatari and Kazakh private sectors and the exchange of visits between the business community in the two countries, to establish joint projects and exchange experiences between Qatari companies and their counterparts in Kazakhstan.
The Republic of Kazakhstan seeks to create various partnerships at various economic levels with the State of Qatar, and to significantly promote the level of trade exchange between the two countries.
The Qatari-Kazakh relations are characterized by sophistication and durability, culminating in mutual visits at the highest leadership representation, which contributes to strengthening the bilateral cooperation and exchanging experiences and knowledge in many fields that serve the advancement of the Kazakh and Qatari economies.
HH the Amir's visit to Kazakhstan will contribute to creating a platform for mutual understanding on prospects to strengthen political and economic relations, develop and enhance trade exchange between the two countries, and create bilateral investment partnerships that support the Qatari investments in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is keen on attracting Qatari investors to take advantage of the opportunities it has abound. The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) has been established to be a platform that serves the protection of the rights of foreign investors in the financial sector, and a center for arbitration, and to contribute to strengthening the financial regulatory authorities.
The AIFC operates according to a legal framework similar to that of the Qatar Financial Center, which supports the joint investment environment, and enables the Qatari investor to enter into investment partnerships in Kazakhstan and achieve good gains. The Center seeks to develop many basic rules that support the advancement of the financial business sector. These rules include asset and property management, insurance and reinsurance, Islamic finance, and financial markets. These measures will serve as an opportunity that Qatari banks can exploit to enter partnerships with investment banks in Kazakhstan.
Qatar and Kazakhstan have many capabilities and potentials that push them to achieve greater rates in terms of increasing the volume of trade exchange, and the volume of mutual investments, by activating the relations between the private sector and businessmen on both sides to play a greater role and enter successful strategic and investment partnerships. Perhaps, the availability of regular flights to transport passengers and goods is one of the important mechanisms in raising the volume and rate of trade exchange and activating the relations of the private sector in the two countries.
The Qatari investments in Kazakhstan are estimated at nearly USD 113 million, of which USD 100 million belong to Qatar Investment Authority in the field of infrastructure, and USD 13 million for Qatar Fund for Development. Work is currently underway on a USD 13 million financing project for establishing a school carrying the name of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in the capital Astana.
The third phase of Kazakhstan's economic modernization is very similar to Qatar National Vision 2030 as both aim to improve the lives of citizen. The third modernization of Kazakhstan aims to divide power, increase democracy, and increase the responsibility of parliament and government.
Qatari companies are also considering participating in Kazakhstan's privatization program to enter the energy sector. In several meetings with Qatari government and private companies, delegations from Kazakhstan put forward about 40 investment projects worth about USD 4.6 billion in the sectors of agriculture, mining industry, petrochemicals, tourism infrastructure development, livestock breeding, dairy production, infrastructure development and others.
Kazakhstan is exerting great and important efforts at the highest level in the field of investments with the State of Qatar and has been keen on offering all opportunities to upgrade the economic and investment relations to reach the excellent level of the political relations between the two countries and fraternal friendly relations between the leaderships of the two countries. This is reflected in the efforts made to overcome the obstacles to doubling the volume of trade exchange and developing trade relations. For example, businessmen in Qatar are currently studying the import of meat and food from Kazakhstan, but the obstacle lies in the transportation mean due to the lack of a direct trade route between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Qatar's economy is open to the world and welcomes all investors, which has been evident over the past few years, as the country has sought to boost foreign investment in line with its strategy of economic diversification. As a result, Qatar currently has investments in many countries around the world.
Qatari investors are interested in investing in Kazakhstan which is a promising destination for foreign investments considering its wide and varied opportunities. Qatar Chamber encourages Qatari businessmen to explore the investment opportunities in Kazakhstan, especially in the city of Almaty.
Qatar has succeeded in continuing its balanced growth towards economic diversification and independence, in line with its National Vision 2030 and the Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. The State has sought to accelerate the implementation of initiatives and actions aimed at strengthening its leading regional position as an ideal destination for business and investment.
Qatar has been keen to provide a stimulating business environment for foreign investors, as well as to establish effective engagement with global markets by relying on advanced infrastructure such as Hamad International Airport and Hamad Port, as well as free, logistics and industrial zones.
Qatar has made remarkable progress in building an economy that is one of the fastest growing economies in the world thanks to the sound economic policies adopted by the State to stimulate investments in all sectors. The Qatari economy achieved a real growth rate at constant prices of 2.5% during the first quarter of 2022 on an annual basis, according to data issued by the Planning and Statistics Authority. The GDP at constant prices reached about 166.26 billion riyals in the first quarter of 2022.
Kazakhstan is looking forward to benefiting from Qatar's great expertise, especially in the fields of LNG production and petrochemicals. Qatar has retained the title of the world’s largest LNG exporter, accounting for 27.6% of the global LNG trade. In June, QatarEnergy announced the list of international companies it has chosen for the Nort Field East expansion project, which is estimated to cost about $28.75 billion. The project aims to boost the country's exports of natural gas and will increase Qatar's LNG production capacity to 110 million tons per year by 2026.
Qatar has been able to strengthen its reputation globally as a trustworthy and reliable energy provider. Through the North Field East expansion project, QatarEnergy and its partners reinforce their commitment to the transition to low-carbon energy and to the safe and reliable supply of cleaner energy to the world.
Kazakhstan has significant strategic borders with many countries such as China and Russia, which gives it a strategic importance and helps it play an important role in connecting these countries with the GCC countries. Kazakhstan takes many measures that promote economic diversification and protect foreign investment, in a bid to be a commercial, financial, educational, health and tourism center, along with its excellence in food production.
Kazakhstan is also rich in natural resources. It has a distinct geographical location and a large area that supports the work in the fields of mining and agriculture. The country ranks fifth globally in the export of wheat, and it is also among the twenty oil-producing countries with 1.5 million barrels per day and seeks to double its production to be among the top seven oil-producing countries during the next 15 years. Kazakhstan also occupies the first place globally in uranium production, and there are many fields open to Qatari and foreign investors to benefit from investing in this sector.
Kazakhstan has vast land, beautiful nature, free economic zones and an attractive business environment for investors, and there are talks to invest in agriculture to help Doha achieve food security. Besides, Kazakhstan is distinguished for its mineral resources, and there are plans for Qatari investment in the mining industry in Kazakhstan. (QNA)