Experience of the past few years shows that Kazakhstan's efforts to ensure continuous economic growth and macroeconomic stability were quite successful. For six years in a row the country has experienced a significant growth in its real GDP: year 2000 - 9.8%, year 2001 - 13.5%, year 2002 - 9,8%, year 2003 - 9.3%, year 2004 - 9.3%, 2005 - 8.4%, 2006F - 10%, 2007F - around 9-10%. All the economic achievements of the first decade of Kazakhstan's independence were made possible owing to large-scale political and economic reforms and healthy investment climate.
As an emerging market Kazakhstan is facing many challenges, therefore the Government of Kazakhstan is currently taking steps towards further improvement of the investment climate on the domestic market. In its investment policy Kazakhstan adheres to the principles of stability and predictability; transparent legal norms; protection of investors' legal rights; equal conditions for foreign and local investors; sanctity of contracts; encouraging direct investments to the priority sectors of the economy. In this regard the Government of Kazakhstan tries to take measures after prior consultations and exchange of views with foreign investors, particularly, within the framework of the Foreign Investors' Council (FIC) set up under the President of Kazakhstan in June 1998.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Jean Lemierre, President of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are co-chairmen of FIC meetings which are held twice a year. Well-known companies such as Ernst and Young, Baker and McKenzie, ABN AMRO Bank, TotalFinaElf, ChevronTexaco, BG, Koch Holding, Mitsubishi Corporation, Deutsche Bank, LNM Group, the Euro-Asian Industrial Association sit in FIC.
The issue of creating favourable conditions for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) has been vital for the newly independent country. Adoption of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Of Foreign Investments" in 1994 was conditioned by the need to attract foreign capital into the country's economy. At that time the first contracts were concluded, mainly, in the field of mineral resources development, which offered privileges and guarantees to foreign investors.
The aim of the Law "Of State Support of Direct Investments" which was introduced in 1997 was to attract foreign investments to less attractive sectors of the economy.
The adjustment of economic, particularly, investment priorities, and also the necessity of the improvement of the legislative acts regulating investment activities brought about the need of amending the existing investment laws and preparing the new draft of the Investment Law in 2001 which was passed in early 2003. The new Law summarises the previous experience and improves the means of state support for investments as well as the guarantees for the protection of investors' legal rights.
Since 1993, Kazakhstan has attracted more than US$ 50 bln. of foreign direct investment - the highest per capita indicator in the former Eastern Bloc. Plus Kazakhstan enjoys high level of internal investment (up to 70 bln USD). The share of enterprises involved in producing crude oil and natural gas accounts for half of the total volume of investments, and among the regions the main bulk of investments go to the Atyrau and West Kazakhstan regions.
The Government of Kazakhstan is alive to the problems which still remain in the economy and tries to further improve the investment climate and business environment in the country.
One of its priorities is the task to ensure proper and levelled implementation of market economic legislation and investment laws at the local, grass-roots, level. Next priority is the diversification and modernization, the growth of value added and high-tech component in the economy, so that it becomes self-sustained and non-oil dependent.
In order to level out the disproportions in the country's economy the new "Innovative Industrial Development Strategy till 2015" has been adopted in 2003 and the state investment policy is directed at promoting investments into the following, less attractive fields, which are declared as priority:
Investors carrying out projects in the priority sectors of the economy enjoy a number of privileges stipulated by the state support for investments, particularly, privileges in taxation and customs tariffs.
In general, the measures, which are being taken within the framework of the investment policy, allow Kazakhstan to be one of the leaders on the CIS space on such indicators as the political stability, currency stability and investment climate, volume of FDIs per capita, integration to the world economy, development of securities market legislation, price stability etc.