— How do you assess the work of the Council during this period?
— For two decades of its existence, the Foreign Investors’ Council — the brainchild of the Head of State — has done a great job. In my opinion, over the years, the Council has become a constructive dialogue platform between the Head of State, the Government and the foreign investors themselves. There are several working groups that solve serious issues to improve the country's investment climate under the FIC. Many events have been held with the participation of members of these working groups.
Today, interaction between investors and Kazakhstani state bodies has been significantly improved, good contacts have been established, and a constructive dialogue is underway. Based on this, I believe that the evaluation of the FIS activities should be only positive. However, to stop at what has been achieved is not worth it, there are many big challenges ahead.
— What, in your opinion, is the role of FIC in the implementation of the task of joining the world’s 30 developed countries by Kazakhstan?
— In the eyes of foreign investors, Kazakhstan should build exactly the investment climate that would attract more investors, and keep those who already operate on our market.
The image of Kazakhstan in the international arena, one way or another, is being formed, including at the expense of the views of the members of the Council, those investors who are already working here. Therefore, the role of the FIC in terms of achieving Kazakhstan's ambitious goal of entering the top 30 world powers cannot be overemphasized. To achieve this goal, Kazakhstan needs to have a transparent business environment, good laws, and consistent enforcement practice. If domestic and foreign investors build their successful economic activity here, this will help the country enter the club of thirty world economic leaders.
— The Head of State N. Nazarbayev noted that the attraction of foreign investments to Kazakhstan should be used to transfer knowledge and new technologies to our country. Is it possible to do this to the full?
"Much remains to be done in order to assess whether we are doing this to the full. At the moment, in my opinion, Kazakhstan is doing very well. This is evidenced by the presence of a large number of foreign investors in the country. We can look at the problem in the context of the main and auxiliary industries that are being formed in the state. They will show how successful the activities of these or those companies were in terms of technology transfer, as well as the import of skilled labor. We need to increase our efforts in this area, since today, without the transfer of new technologies, without the preparation of qualified workforce, it will be impossible to achieve the target.
— In June this year, the President will chair 31 FIC plenary meetings on the agenda "Accelerated Modernization." What exactly can be offered for our country to achieve this task?
— Without the latest technologies and skilled workers it will be difficult to move into the top thirty world leaders. We need to borrow skilled workers from near and far abroad. Because, one way or another, despite the fact that we want to protect our labor market from the influx of foreign labor and maintain an acceptable level of unemployment in the country, we probably will not do without, even temporarily, borrowing a skilled worker force. This is one point.
Regarding the transfer of new technologies, everything is clear. To fulfill the tasks set by the Head of State on modernization successfully, it is necessary to introduce new technologies, digitization in all spheres of life. Only then will we be aligned with other developed and developing countries that are striving for renewal.
— Thanks for the interview.
For reference: the Foreign Investors’ Council chaired by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was established in 1998. The Council today includes the heads of 30 foreign companies and international organizations.