Japan to Help Kazakhstan Develop Its Health and Finance Sectors
Despite major economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, newly signed investment projects between Japan and Kazakhstan to develop the latter’s energy, finance, and health care sectors signal that Kazakhstan continues to maintain an attractive investment climate. During a September 16 online meeting hosted by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Japan, Japanese companies committed to allocating $46 million to three projects in Kazakhstan, two of which will be implemented in the country’s energy capital Atyrau. In total, Japan has invested around $7.3 billion into various initiatives and programs in Kazakhstan since its independence in 1991, becoming one of the top investors in the country.
As part of the recent agreements between Japan and Kazakhstan, Japanese companies will build a new multifunctional diagnostic facility in Atyrau, which will also become the center of medical tourism to treat people both from Kazakhstan and abroad. Once constructed, this facility will support the country’s healthcare capacity while its medical tourism aspects could make it an attractive regional destination. In addition to providing financial resources, the project aims to enhance human capital in the Kazakhstani medical sector. Notably, it will seek to help Kazakhstani medical specialists gain skills and expertise in the field, through trainings and internship programs, coordinated between Kazakhstan’s Caspian Medical and Japanese medical and investment companies, including Kitahara International Hospital, Medical Excellence Japan, and Nippon Investment Operating Company.
The second project worth $13 million will work closely with the Astana International Finance Center (AIFC) to introduce blockchain technologies in agriculture, industry, and infrastructure. In coordination with AIFC, Japanese companies will set up the Security Token Offering-based cryptocurrency exchange system thus contributing to AIFC’s goal of becoming a center of finance both regionally and globally. With the legalization of data mining in Kazakhstan and a welcoming attitude toward blockchain technologies in the country, this initiative could further boost country’s data mining potential and contribute to economic growth and diversification. The project will also speed up the digitization process in the country and improve the efficiency and quality of business activities.
As part of the third and final project of the agreement, Kazakhstan’s Umirzak-Service and Japan’s Nippon Investment Operating Company and Snin EiTec will construct an $8 million plant for metal production. Output will be utilized in the construction, oil, and mining fields.
According to the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Japan Yerlan Baudarbek-Kozhatayev, the agreements will provide an opportunity to foster increased cooperation between small and mid-size businesses of two countries. Given that Japanese SMEs account for around 50 percent of Japan’s GDP in manufacturing sector, Kazakhstan’s close partnership with Japanese businesses will allow the former to promote business activities and advance sustainable and viable business environment and regulations in the country. Indicative of favorable investment climate in the country, increased investments from Japan are also likely to draw other investors to Kazakhstan thus helping the country achieve its goal of attracting more resources into its energy, mining, agriculture, finance, and healthcare sectors.