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Astana, 22nd February: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) is supporting the Kazakh government’s economic diversification programme by investing up to around $1 billion in projects to be identified in collaboration with the Kazakh Ministry of Industry & Trade and the Kazakh National Wealth Fund ‘Samruk-Kazyna’.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed February 18th in Astana between the three parties. The document was signed by Samruk-Kazyna’s Chairman, Kairat Kelimbetov, Minister of Industry & Trade, Aset Isekeshev and Olivier Descamps, EBRD Business Group Director (South Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus).

The three parties will seek to increase their cooperation with a view to identifying, preparing and implementing industrial and infrastructure projects in Kazakhstan, which will be based on sound market principles, commercial viability, higher standards of corporate governance and transparency, as well as utilization of modern and environmentally-friendly technology.

The EBRD will continue to play an important role in economic diversification and innovation in Kazakhstan, and the further integration of the country into the global economy, with a view to provide the private sector with additional opportunities for growth and development. The Bank will consider providing equity and debt financing for eligible projects and will seek to mobilize necessary technical assistance for their implementation.

In addition, the EBRD will cooperate with other international financial institutions and commercial lenders with a view to attracting further investment to the Kazakh economy. This will help Kazakhstan reduce its dependence on primary industries and commodity exports.

The Memorandum underpins the EBRD’s key role as the single largest investor in Kazakhstan outside the oil and gas sector. Since the beginning of its operations, the Bank has committed over €2.4 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy - which itself attracted additional investment worth more than €5 billion.

The EBRD’s 2011 Annual General Meeting will be held in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

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