SPIEF 2024: Kazakhstan’s Enhancing Ties with Russia and Asia

Kazakhstan flag
The flag of the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan (Credits: Foto di engin akyurt su Unsplash)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 43 Issue 1
Author: Natalia Butyrina

Russia is gearing up to host the 27th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2024), a pivotal annual event that unites Russia’s business partners and provides a platform for bilateral agreements while addressing current global issues.

As one of Russia’s key allies, Kazakhstan will participate in the event, aiming to strengthen its established partnerships with Moscow and Beijing and to forge new connections with the growing economies of Asia.

SPIEF 2024: Information Background

On June 5th-8th, 2024, Russia will host the 27th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2024). SPIEF is a platform for discussing issues of international development and establish new cooperation ties among participants.

The Forum will be attended by guests from Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Africa, Venezuela, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, EAEU and ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).

The SPIEF 2024 business program comprises 4 thematic tracks:

  1. Transition to a multipolar model of the world economy.
  2. The Russian economy: goals and objectives of a new cycle.
  3. Technologies providing leadership.
  4. Healthy society, traditional values and social development — priorities of the state.

In the 2024 upcoming edition, the organizers have plan 11 bilateral business events in the format of business dialogues with foreign partners.

In addition, the Business Twenty Regional Consultative Forum (B20) will be held within the framework of the international track, an event combining the work of international business associations and events highlighting the prospects for the development of business cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Notably, Kazakhstan’s significant role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will enhance the country’s outcomes from this format.

Read also | Kazakhstan’s Role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its Contribution to Stabilise Central Asia

SPIEF 2024: Kazakhstan explores new cooperation opportunities with Russia and China

SPIEF 2024 will serve as a catalyst for Kazakhstan to strengthen its ties with Russia and China while exploring new opportunities with other Asian countries. Astana enjoys diverse cooperation with Moscow and Beijing across various sectors, including the economy, infrastructure, energy, transport corridors, counterterrorism, and security.

As a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Astana is actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Additionally, Kazakhstan plays a crucial role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

For many years, Kazakhstan has actively participated in SPIEF, a key event for attracting investments and fostering international cooperation amidst modern geopolitical turbulence. Astana’s involvement in SPIEF has been highly productive, bringing together business representatives, investors, and experts from around the world. This participation has offered Kazakhstan valuable opportunities to attract investments, develop international partnerships, and promote its economic and innovative projects.

As stated by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Russia Dauren Abayev, the main topic is the basis of multipolarity is the formation of new growth centers, confirming once again Astana multi-vector foreign policy under the Presidency of Qasym-Jomart Toqaev.

Kazakhstan and Russia share deep historical ties and have renewed their partnerships in modern times. Their cooperation extends across various sectors, including energy, transport, and trade. As members of multiple international organizations, Moscow and Astana have developed a robust and mutually beneficial relationship. The border between the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan is the longest continuous border in the world, stretching 7,598.8 kilometers. Research by the Eurasian Economic Development Bank indicates that about 80% of Kazakhstan’s GDP and 20% of Russia’s GDP are generated in the border area. Additionally, both countries are strategic littoral states of the Caspian Sea, highlighting their significant regional influence.

Currently, over 70% of mutual transactions between Russia and Kazakhstan are conducted in rubles, reducing dependence on foreign exchange fluctuations and enhancing bilateral interactions. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) also plays a crucial role in facilitating trade between the two neighboring countries by providing additional trade preferences among its member states.

Kazakhstan and Russia collaborate on various projects and investments. For instance, the national company KazMunaiGas is involved in developing oil fields in Russia, which supports the expansion of Kazakhstan’s oil industry. Meanwhile, the Russian company Lukoil is set to jointly develop offshore fields in the Caspian Sea region of Mangystau. Additionally, an oil refinery is under construction in Astrakhan to supply Kazakhstan with petroleum products.

Kazakhmys is actively working on copper and gold deposits in Russia. Astana is also fostering industrial growth through the development of industrial parks, such as the one in the Turgai region, aimed at attracting investment and advancing industrial enterprises.

At last year’s forum, Kazakhstan and Russia extended intergovernmental agreements on the transit of Russian oil, increasing volumes to 10 million tons until the end of 2033.

The volume of cargo transported along the INSTC, which connects Russia with India via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran—including the Caspian Sea route—has significantly increased. By 2025, the capacity of this corridor is expected to reach a record 10 million tons of cargo per year.

Furthermore, the Eurasia railway project, which links Russia, Kazakhstan, and China, is designed to improve transport infrastructure and boost trade turnover among these countries.

The positive development of industrial and trade cooperation between Astana and Moscow is evident in specific figures. Currently, businesses from both countries are executing 135 projects worth $26.5 billion. Additionally, 67 joint projects valued at $14 billion are being developed in key sectors such as mechanical engineering, metallurgy, and the chemical industry. These joint efforts are expected to create over 11,000 jobs.

To accelerate and synchronize the modernization of checkpoints along the Kazakh-Russian border, 29 out of 30 checkpoints will be reconstructed by the end of 2027.

The expansion of the INSTC, envisioned to become a major global transport artery benefiting all Eurasian states, is under consideration. Furthermore, the development of a transport route utilizing the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, part of which runs through the Mangystau region, is also a focus.

In 2023, bilateral trade reached a record high of 2.5 trillion rubles, or 12.6 trillion tenge. Last year, 75% of mutual settlements were conducted in national currencies. Russia remains one of the largest investors in the Kazakh economy, and Kazakh investments in Russia are also substantial.


In recent years, Asian countries have emerged as key centers of the global economy, playing a crucial role in shaping world politics. SPIEF 2024 will highlight the opportunities and prospects for Eurasian cooperation. Experts note that many leading Asian countries are strategic partners of Russia, and Kazakhstan, as a comprehensive strategic partner, plays a significant and growing role in joint projects. SPIEF could serve as a bridge to establish new agreements between Astana and key Asian players.

The forum has historically addressed issues such as cross-border cooperation in the Caspian Sea, the fuel and energy sector, transport, customs procedures, ecology, border security, combating drug trafficking and illegal migration, and regional development. Kazakhstan’s participation in SPIEF allows it to showcase its economic achievements and attract investments for strategic projects.

Meetings at SPIEF create incentives for expanding trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan plays a vital role within the EAEU, and SPIEF will feature a new dialogue format for small and medium-sized businesses. Moscow-Astana cooperation is strategically important and will continue to expand through projects aimed at developing trade and economic relations. Participation in SPIEF is increasingly important for Kazakhstan’s economic development amid modern global challenges.

In the context of current global instability, a stronger network of economic alliances will benefit all regional players, ensuring regional stability and sustainable growth.

Read also | Kazakhstan: A PESTEL Analysis

*Analysis in media partnership with Kaspiskij Vestnik. For further information, reports, or consulting related to Central Asia, contact us at info@specialeurasia.com.

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