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Astana drops anchor in Africa

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The mutual interests between the former Soviet republic and the African continent have led to new ties that will grow stronger thanks to the new railway joining Kazakhstan to the Persian Gulf.

“Developing good relations with African countries is one of the top foreign policy priorities for Kazakhstan. We see this as beneficial not only for us but also for Africa, as well as for the entire region of Central Asia where we are located”. These were the opening words of an official document, entitled “Kazakhstan and Africa – Right Time to Build Ties, Seek Mutual Benefit”, signed by Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and released on 11 June 2015. In the document, the Astana government underlined its intention to strengthen its relationships with nations across Africa.

Economic motivations lie at the heart of the former Soviet Republic’s interest in the African continent. Seen as a macro-region, Africa has become a priority trading partner for the Central Asian country, a fact that was prominently announced in the New Economic Policy programme (Nurly Jol) outlined in November 2014 by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. For a long time now, foreign direct investments (FDI) have been a key factor in Kazakhstan’s economic development.

Between 2000 and 2014 the country managed to attract over €1.8 billion in FDI. Based on the country’s own positive experience with foreign investments, the search for new developing markets, such as those in Africa, has become a priority for Kazakhstan. 

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