World Economy

France, Kazakhstan to Sign 15 Economic Deals

France, Kazakhstan to Sign 15 Economic DealsFrance, Kazakhstan to Sign 15 Economic Deals

French President François Hollande arrived in Kazakhstan on Friday for a two-day forum in a country with vast uranium and gas reserves and infrastructure contracts on offer. Over 250 delegates representing national companies, private businesses, and financial institutions are expected to attend the event.

Fifteen agreements worth $530.3 million are to be signed as part of the Kazakh-French business forum, RFI reported.

Hollande is due to meet with President Nursultan Nazarbaev and other senior officials during his stay in the Kazakh capital. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Hollande to raise human rights concerns during his meetings with Kazakh officials.

Nazarbayev said the relations between Kazakhstan and France are at “the level of strategic partnership.”

Cooperation between Kazakhstan and France is mostly concentrated on oil and gas, mining, aerospace, nuclear power, banking, and agriculture sectors.

Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources, being the world’s main supplier of uranium, as well as a source of manganese, iron and petrol. The country has plans to invest in waste-disposal, aeronautics, urban transport, construction, health and tourism.

In the first nine months of 2014, the bilateral trade turnover between Kazakhstan and France reached $4.7 billion. Kazakhstan mainly exports oil, metals and chemical products to France, and imports industrial equipment, medicines, cosmetics, cars, food. The two countries cooperate in the production of aircraft and spacecraft.

Over the past decade, French investments in Kazakhstan’s economy amounted to about $10.8 billion. Around 150 French companies have been registered in Kazakhstan.

Located between two powerful neighbors, Russia and China, Kazakhstan is one of the four countries forming the Eurasian Union, an economic block of former soviet states that Russia is looking to enlarge.

Hollande is the third French president to visit Kazakhstan, following François Mitterrand in 1993 and Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009.