Developing business ties and promoting EXPO-17
On October 25, Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, paid an official visit to France and held bilateral talks with French representatives. He also addressed a French-Kazakh business forum and promoted Astana’s bid to host EXPO-2017 with delegates to the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), which will select the host country in December.
Mr Kelimbetov was received at the Élysée Palace by the Deputy Secretary General for Economic Affairs, Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron emphasized that President Franҫois Hollande considers it crucial to continue strengthening the strategic partnership between France and Kazakhstan. Mr Macron also reiterated the support of France for Kazakhstan’s imminent accession to full WTO membership.
At the business forum organized by the French-Kazakh business council and Movement of French Enterprises (MEDEF), Mr Kelimbetov addressed representatives of over 40 French companies investing in Kazakhstan, including major enterprises such as Total, Alstom, Areva, EADS Eurocopter, Vika, Thales, Lactalis, Bouygues and Vinci, as well as the banking sector.
The Deputy Prime Minister outlined the economic progress and future priorities of Kazakhstan and urged the French business community to participate actively in the ongoing industrialization of Kazakhstan, with particular focus on the development of local content and technology transfer. Over USD 70 billion is being invested under the state program for industrial innovation, of which USD 15 billion is set aside for the development of 400 new enterprises.
He also encouraged more involvement in Kazakhstan by the French small and medium business sector, which was well represented at the forum. Among the major companies interested in Kazakhstan for potential investment was the telecommunications giant Orange.
An active Q&A session after the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech demonstrated that the audience was both well informed on the large development programs currently underway in Kazakhstan and monitoring the current investment climate.
Later, Mr Kelimbetov addressed an official reception celebrating Kazakhstan’s Republic Day, where he outlined the successful strategy for developing the capacity and prospects for using alternative sources of energy in Kazakhstan.
He went on to highlight Astana’s bid to host EXPO-2017 on the proposed theme of “Future Energy”, which is relevant to people around the world and reflects Kazakhstan’s many initiatives aimed at resolving global issues in security, the environment and the search for new energy sources.
The Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Richard Jones, spoke of the importance of Kazakhstan’s work in developing alternative sources of energy and urged the audience to support Astana’s EXPO-2017 bid.
UN Under Secretary General Philippe Douste-Blazy endorsed the relevance of the “Future Energy” theme and the Deputy CEO of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Hervé Bernard, outlined Kazakh-French cooperation on the development of solar energy and on behalf of the French Government, called for support for Astana’s bid to host EXPO-2017.