The Astana International Forum 2023: Kazakhstan’s Rise as a Strategic Investment Hub and Geopolitical Hotspot

Astana International Forum
The flag map of Kazakhstan welcomes local and foreign experts at the Astana International Forum (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

SpecialEurasia is delighted to announce its participation in the highly expected Astana International Forum 2023, as part of our ongoing commitment to monitoring and evaluating emerging markets and investment prospects in strategic countries like Kazakhstan and the broader Central Asian region.

Our prior visit to Astana during the Parliamentary elections further underscores our dedication to engaging with and comprehending Kazakhstan’s domestic dynamics. Attending this forum presents a unique opportunity for SpecialEurasia and our extensive network to deepen our understanding of Kazakhstan’s economy, fiscal legislation, and investment projects, while also fostering connections with international stakeholders operating in the Central Asian republic and the wider region.

The Astana International Forum: Information Background

The Astana International Forum (AIF), scheduled for June 8th-9th, 2023, in the capital of Kazakhstan, will be an influential platform for global cooperation and peace. Under the patronage of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the forum aims to address pressing international issues, such as climate change, security, and development, with participation from over 1,000 esteemed guests, including government leaders, international organisations, multinational CEOs, and renowned experts. President Tokayev has underlined the forum’s purpose of tackling global challenges and placing cooperation as the fundamental principle governing the international system.

The AIF program encompasses a range of activities, including keynote speeches, panel sessions, armchair discussions, and informative side events. The forum will delve into matters related to foreign policy, international security, and global challenges, providing a platform to discuss diplomatic strategies, multilateral cooperation, and regional stability. Given the emerging threats faced by the world, the forum will accentuate the significance of collective efforts, stressing the importance of diplomacy, dialogue, and global partnerships in achieving enduring peace and stability.

Key issues to be addressed at the forum include customer loyalty, cybersecurity, change resistance, the digital skills gap, and the shortage of technical resources. Through stimulating dialogue on artificial intelligence, blockchain, renewable energy, and smart cities, the forum seeks to foster collaboration between technology pioneers and policymakers, harnessing the power of technology for the betterment of humanity.

Energy and climate change will also be prominent topics on the agenda, with panel discussions focusing on renewable and carbon market development, green energy transition, and economic transformation. Kazakhstan, recognising shared concerns regarding climate change, has prioritised the development of renewable energy as part of its efforts to address rising carbon emissions. The country has set ambitious goals to plant 2 billion trees by 2025, enhance its national carbon absorption capacity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030.

In addition, Kazakhstan is actively promoting the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, known as the Middle Corridor. This critical trade artery connects Southeast Asia and China to European countries, passing through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. By leveraging rail, shipping, and freight networks, the Middle Corridor facilitates trade between China and the European Union. In 2022, cargo shipments along this route reached a record-breaking 3.2 million tons. The AIF will shed light on the significance of the Middle Corridor, highlighting the importance of Central Asian connectivity, integration, and trade.

Astana International Forum SpecialEurasia 1
The banner of the Astana International Forum 2023 in the Kazakh capital (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

Kazakhstan’s economy at glance

Turning to Kazakhstan’s economy, the country boasts the largest economy in Central Asia, surpassing the combined economies of all other regional states. This achievement is attributed to the country’s abundance of natural resources, including minerals, hydrocarbons, and rare earth metals, which have attracted substantial foreign investment, fuelling economic growth and development. Kazakhstan benefits from a highly skilled workforce, and its economy is rapidly diversifying into sectors such as agribusiness, manufacturing, logistics, and finance.

To further enhance economic diversification, the government has implemented various initiatives targeting sectors like transportation, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals, and food processing. The ongoing process of privatising major state enterprises aims to reduce the state’s share of the economy to 18%. Additionally, the government has introduced measures to stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with projections showing that the SME GDP share will reach 35% by 2025.

The economic and social reforms have attracted a noteworthy $410 billion in foreign direct investment between 1991 and 2022. The World Bank acknowledged Kazakhstan’s favourable business environment in the 2020 Doing Business Report, where the country climbed three positions to rank 25th globally.

With its growing role in global trade and active participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (also known as the New Silk Road), Kazakhstan holds immense potential for opening its markets to billions of people. Recognising the significance of digital infrastructure, the country is making substantial investments in widespread broadband internet access. Future plans include the introduction of 5G networks and the establishment of high-quality data centres in both urban and rural regions.


Kazakhstan has emerged as one of the most appealing markets for foreign investors, thanks to its strategic geographical location and abundant natural resources. With its vast reserves of minerals, hydrocarbons, and rare earth metals, the country offers significant opportunities for economic growth and development.

The Astana International Forum serves as a catalyst, drawing the attention of international experts and official representatives to the Republic of Kazakhstan and the broader Central Asian region. This spotlight has turned the region into a focal point for geopolitical and strategic interests, attracting the attention of global powers like the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union, as well as regional actors such as Turkey, Iran, India, and the Gulf Arab monarchies.

The outcomes of this heightened interest could include increased foreign investment, enhanced diplomatic engagements, and the strengthening of economic and political ties between Kazakhstan, its neighbours, and international stakeholders.

Author: Silvia Boltuc

For further information, analyses, or report about the Astana International Forum and Kazakhstan’s investment opportunities, please contact us at

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