INDUSTRY VOICE: Investors face many challenges throughout their investment journey, especially when investing in foreign markets. Red tape, bureaucracy, a lack of verifiable information - these are just some of the hurdles along the way.
Kazakhstan recognises that such obstacles often present barriers to entry that are just too prohibitive for investors when considering a new market. Because of this, the government has taken decisive steps to make it much easier for international investors to do business in Kazakhstan.
In 2017 Kazakh Invest was established to act as a "one stop shop" for current and potential investors. Our specialist team of experts act as a single point of contact to support businesses on their investment journey.
This ambitious decision, coupled with substantive reforms, is clearly paying dividends. The recently released World Bank's 2019 Doing Business report, sees Kazakhstan climb eight places, entering the ranks of the top 30 countries globally for the first time.
The significance of this achievement cannot be overstated. In just five years, Kazakhstan has climbed 25 places. What is more, it is one of only a handful of countries globally to see reforms across every one of the World Bank's indicators since the report was first launched in 2004. These reforms have helped Kazakhstan leapfrog many of the world's leading economic powers including China, France, Poland, Turkey, Japan and the Netherlands.
As the Deputy CEO of Kazakh Invest, I take great pride in the progress that has been made over recent years. Of course, despite these successes we must not be complacent. I remain resolute in my resolve to make it even simpler for international businesses to take the first step on their investment journey.
For investors who may not know where to start, an organisation such as Kazakh Invest is of huge benefit. As an independent state agency, we represent the interests of international businesses by connecting them with government bodies, regulators and local government organisations. By doing so, we help them to easily identify high-quality opportunities for investment. From start to finish, Kazakh Invest works with businesses to ensure that their investment is supported at every stage.
Having spoken to multiple business executives around the world, I am all too aware of the lengthy and often cumbersome process some businesses face when trying to enter a new market. This is not only prohibitive for businesses of all size and scale, but ultimately can be extremely costly in the long run.
One of Kazakh Invest's primary roles is to significantly reduce the need for foreign investors to interact with multiple governmental and regulatory bodies. This saves businesses time and makes the investment journey much more straightforward. In many frontier markets across the globe it can take a significant amount of time to set up a business. However, thanks to government reforms and the work of Kazakh Invest, a business can be set up in just five days in Kazakhstan.
Kazakh Invest has a team of leading international specialists across the globe, which means investors can always speak to a knowledgeable and impartial expert. We are much more than bureaucrats. Our dedicated local team are sectoral specialists with decades of experience working in mining, manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, retail and petrochemicals.
Quite rightly, seasoned investors demand rigorous detail before even considering investing in a foreign business or market.
We have listened to their needs and have developed a package of 70 specialist projects that are earmarked for international investment. These projects, developed in conjunction with Deloitte, come with financial models, feasibility studies, and marketing strategies already complete to enable investors to make informed business decisions.
Of course, having the right product alone does not guarantee investment. Many countries around the globe have untapped potential but present a poor choice for international investors. Above all, investors need to know that the right economic and regulatory conditions are in place to keep their investment secure.
Kazakhstan's government has taken bold and decisive steps over the last two decades to ensure the necessary market conditions are in place to protect businesses and investors. Because of this, Kazakhstan now ranks number one globally for the protection of minority shareholders rights and ranks first globally in the field of corporate governance, according to the World Bank.
Investing is always a challenge that carries with it hard work and a certain amount of risk. Anything that can make the job of an investor easier is of huge benefit. I believe that Kazakh Invest certainly helps to fulfil this objective.