Georgia and Kazakhstan seek deeper economic ties
Georgia and Kazakhstan signed a bilateral collaboration agreement in the tourism sphere. The agreement aims to help boost tourism between the two countries. Mikheil Janelidze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, signed a deal with Kanish Tuleushin, the Deputy Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan.
The Georgian delegation traveled to Kazakhstan to attend the fifth Astana Economic Forum on May 21-23, where Georgia’s tourism potential and investment capabilities were presented. The Georgian delegation met with the representatives of the Kazakh Ministries of Transport and Communications, Industry and New Technologies, as well as representatives of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association for exploring future economic and political cooperation.
At the meeting the key topics were tourism, transportation, trade and investment. In addition, bilateral meetings were held with the delegation of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism of the Czech Republic, as well as with the executive director of Sweden Travel and the Tourism Industry Federation.
Kazakhstan, according to the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst digest, the country is among the 50 largest FDI spenders world-wide, as the total stock of Kazakhstan’s direct investments abroad amounted an estimated $16 billion in December 2011. One of the destination countries for Kazakh businessmen is Georgia, as the country’s total OFDI (Outward Foreign Direct Investment) to Georgia exceeded $2 billion in 2008, making it one of the largest sources of foreign investment in the country.
Investments in Georgia, as Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst reports, are mostly in banking, construction, energy, and tourism. Kazakhstan has invested in several Tbilisi hotels, including the Radisson, built and upgraded energy export facilities (e.g. the oil terminal in Batumi), grain terminals, and other infrastructure.
Other investments include tourism development in Georgia’s Adjara region and energy systems in Tbilisi. Kazakhstan’s second largest bank, Bank Turan Alem, appears to have been actively involved locally in most of these as partner and developer.
By Ia Natsvlishvili