Kazakhstan - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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Demand in this upper middle-income market goes beyond the few best prospect sectors detailed in this report (see Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports and Investment). Kazakhstan’s strategic aspiration is to become a modern, diversified economy with a high value-added and high-tech component, and the government is cognizant of the need for foreign expertise to accomplish this goal. To this end, the government continues to develop international partnerships and has agreed to projects with the United States, China, and EU countries worth billions of dollars.

Like other former Soviet republics, much of Kazakhstan’s infrastructure is outdated and needs modernization. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) both finance major infrastructure and financial, corporate, and agricultural projects in the country. EBRD approved a new strategy for Kazakhstan in 2022, which is based on three major pillars: fostering private sector competitiveness and connectivity, supporting pathway to carbon neutrality, promoting economic inclusion and equality.

Economic activity returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021. Despite an increase in COVID-19 containment measures during the first half of 2021, robust activity in the second half supported real GDP growth of 4 percent for the year. Growth was driven by continued fiscal expansion, strong consumer credit growth, and reduced COVID-19 restrictions. Due to a strong recovery in household consumption, retail trade rose by 6.5 percent and retail loans, including mortgages, by 40 percent in 2021. After contracting by 3.4 percent in 2020, total capital investment rose modestly by 2.6 percent, driven by solid growth in housing construction. Reopening the economy has increased activity in face-to-face services and manufacturing industries mainly aimed at the domestic market.

The creation of Kazakhstan’s Investment Council with independent observers, the new Investment Policy Concept until 2026, new National Development Plan 2020–2025, the 2021 Environmental Code and Low Carbon Development Strategy by 2060 (Doctrine) are significant initiatives that enable Kazakhstan to promote more inclusive and greener development. Along with a continuing focus on further improvements in the investment climate, the top prospective economic sectors remain agriculture, education, extractive industries, franchising, healthcare, ICT, infrastructure (hard and soft), power generation, renewable energy sources, best available technologies for various industrial sectors, clean energy and green technologies, transport & logistics, safety & security, and tourism. U.S. companies that seize this moment to explore the country’s business and investment opportunities have the potential to capture significant market share in this growing middle-income country.