The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development expects to invest more than $660 million in Kazakhstan by the end of 2013 and $1 billion over the next 18 months, bringing total spending to around $6.6 billion since the EBRD began operations in the country in 1993, according to the EBRD website.
Despite not being in the European Union, Kazakhstan continues to benefit from European assistance because of its Soviet past and close ties with the Europe and so the nation can make take full benefit from its huge oil potential. Developing roads and rail networks has been a priority of the EBRD to allow the country to benefit fully from its oil production, the second biggest in the region behind Russia.
Along with EBRD investment, another $9.3 billion has been mobilized from other sources to help fund more than 160 projects in Kazakhstan.
"This should be our largest year in the last three years,” said Phil Bennett, vice president of the EBRD. “We're very proud of what we've been able to do, and also very proud of the cooperation that we're getting from the central government, as well as municipalities, in order to get these projects put in place," he has said.
The ninth-largest country in the world and former Soviet state has undergone major political and economic changes since it became independent in 1991.
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Through the EBRD, the country has been able to modernize its energy sector ensuring that energy shortages are a thing of the past and modernize roads leading in and out of the country, which has helped trading relations with neighboring countries Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Mongolia and China.
Kazakhstan has recently seen $400 million pour in from the EBRD to help the country develop renewable energy projects as part of a $12 billion program across the region. The country has adopted a new feed-in tariff law which is the rate at which the national grid buys electricity from renewable sources and should help the renewable energy compete with fossil fuel-powered generators.
The banking sector remains weak as it continues to recover from the global financial crisis. Nonperforming loans account for more than 30 percent of total loans. The third largest bank in the country continues to restructure as the country prepares economic integration with Russia and Belarus who all seek to create a common economic space.