13. Information Center -The US International Development
Finance Corporation (DFC) and Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) have signed an agreement to
invest about $1 billion in various projects across a wide range of economic
sectors, Kazakhstan’s government said in a statement on Friday, Caspian News reports.
The document was signed as part of DFC chief executive Adam
Boehler’s trip to Central Asia to meet with government officials and highlight
investment and development in the region.
According to a statement issued by the Kazakh government,
the document was signed immediately after the two sides discussed expanding
collaboration in agribusiness, logistics, tourism, infrastructure, finances and
technologies. At the same time, the parties to the agreement stressed the need
to implement projects and initiatives aimed at developing Kazakhstan’s private
The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
is America’s development bank partnering with the private sector to finance
solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Along
with investing in energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology,
DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in
order to create jobs in emerging markets. Astana International Financial Center
(AIFC) is like financial centers in Singapore and Dubai, following British
securities and corporate law, and offering visa and tax waivers to global
financial investors. Members of AIFC are exempt from Kazakh corporate income
tax, individual income tax, land tax and property tax for 50 years.
On January 7, the government of the United States,
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan announced the
launch of the Central Asia Investment Partnership to bolster economic
opportunities in Central Asia.
As part of the initiative, DFC, AIFC, and the Ministry of
Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan will make all possible efforts to
raise at least $1 billion over five years to support projects that advance
private-sector led growth and increase economic connectivity within Central
Asia and the broader region.
According to a joint statement, the Central Asia Investment
Partnership will “advance private sector led projects that exemplify
international standards for quality infrastructure and promote inclusive,
transparent, and sustainable investments.” The initiative will work through the
C5+1 platform launched in 2015 for dialogue and cooperation between the five
Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan – and the United States.
Both US and Central Asian officials are convinced that
the Central Asia Investment Partnership is an important step in advancing US
efforts to support economic growth and prosperity for the region amid the
economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We each committing $500 million to invest in infrastructure
in Central Asia,” Boehler said in his video address posted to
“And one of the things we all agreed on is that it’s very
important to look at big infrastructure projects, but just as important if not
more to look at small and medium sized businesses, to look at minority and
women businesses as well. Because we only think about this pandemic that we all
going through — what’s going make it different is investment in small
entrepreneurial people and businesses,” he added.
Harsh restrictions imposed by the Kazakh government to curb
coronavirus outbreak halted most economic activities in Kazakhstan, causing
many people to lose their jobs.
Output in the services sector fell 6.1
percent, after the government ordered to shut down most public places,
including beauty shops, hairdressers, gyms and fitness clubs, food and non-food
covered markets, cinemas and beaches. According to a survey conducted
by the country’s National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, restrictions imposed by the
authorities affected 800,000 or more than 60 percent of small and medium
businesses in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, specialists from Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) believe Kazakhstan’s
economy will reach pre-crisis levels as early as the end of 2021 — thanks to
the government-led initiatives to support local businesses.
“These measures played a role — they did not allow economies
to fail even deeper and will help countries recover faster,” said Evgeny
Vinokurov, chief economist at EDB.