Qatar and Kazakhstan Sign US$25 Billion in Deals, Strengthen Relations


The deepening partnership between Qatar and Kazakhstan, underscored by a recent round of trade agreements and investments, reflects a commitment to advancing economic cooperation and mutual prosperity.

By Giulia Interesse

From February 13-14, 2024, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan embarked on a state visit to Qatar, engaging in pivotal trade and investment discussions with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The culmination of these talks resulted in the signing of commercial agreements worth US$24 billion, symbolizing a robust commitment to advancing economic cooperation and fostering mutually advantageous partnerships between the two nations.

Al Thani articulated Qatar’s ambition to rank among the top 10 investors in Kazakhstan, underlining Kazakhstan’s readiness to enhance exports to Qatar across 60 non-resource commodity items valued at US$250 million. Furthermore, he proposed a target of elevating bilateral trade to US$500 million in the near term.

The potential for cooperation between Qatar and Kazakhstan spans across diverse sectors including agriculture, transport, logistics, and tourism. In addition to these, both nations inked agreements addressing extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, employment regulations for Kazakh workers in Qatar, and collaboration in digital innovation and aerospace sectors within Kazakhstan.

This article delves into the deepening relations between the two countries and examines how these newly forged agreements will mold the economic and investment landscape between them in the foreseeable future.

Key agreements signed between Qatar and Kazakhstan during the meeting

During Tokayev’s visit to Qatar, a series of deals and agreements were signed, signifying deepening ties between the two nations.

UCC Holding, headquartered in Qatar, secured two energy contracts covering seven projects within Kazakhstan. The initial contract with QazaqGas involves the establishment of two gas treatment plants, with capacities of 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) and 2.5 bcm annually respectively. Additionally, the agreement also entails the construction of a new compressor station, the main gas pipeline, and the second phase of the Beniu-Bozoy-Shymkent gas pipeline project.

In a separate deal with Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry, UCC Holding committed to constructing a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant with a total capacity of approximately 1,100 MW in the Kyzylorda region. Additionally, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a gas treatment plant with a capacity of 6 bcm in the Kashagan field was signed.

Furthermore, during the summit, Qatar’s Power International Holding (PIH) also signed an agreement to acquire Kazakhstan’s Mobile Telecom Services from the National Telecommunications Company (Kazakhtelecom).

Background: Qatar-Kazakhstan relations

Diplomatic ties between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Kazakhstan were first established in 1993, and the two countries have since built a strong diplomatic and economic partnership.

Doha’s first investments in Kazakhstan were made in 1997, following Kazakhstan’s capital relocation from Almaty to Astana in 1997. Qatar is also behind the funding for the construction of the Astana Mosque, a key landmark in Kazakhstan’s capital city.

Following Kazakhstan’s capital relocation from Almaty to Astana in 1997, Qatar demonstrated its commitment to this partnership by investing in the construction of Astana’s infrastructure. Both nations have consistently backed each other on the global stage and collaborated on projects of mutual interest.

The Middle East remains pivotal to Kazakhstan’s foreign policy agenda, striving to foster productive ties with all regional nations, of which Qatar holds a special place. Over the years, Doha has offered substantial backing across various sectors, including politics, commerce, economics, investments, culture, and humanitarian endeavors.

Additionally, the relationship between Qatar and Kazakhstan is characterized by strong cooperation between their leaders, regular exchange of delegations, and joint project implementations.

Bilateral trade and investment ties

The trade relationship between Kazakhstan and Qatar has witnessed significant growth, with trade turnover nearly doubling to US$4.8 million from January through July 2023, compared to US$2.8 million during the same period in 2022.

Over the period spanning from 2005 through 2022, Kazakhstan has successfully attracted Qatari investments totaling US$56.6 million, reflecting the deepening economic ties between the two nations.

As of 2020, cranes accounted for 66 percent of exports from Kazakhstan to Qatar whereas the bulk of imports from Qatar were fabrics garnets amounted to 43 percent of total imports from the Gulf country.

Future prospects: Strengthening economic collaboration between Qatar and Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s investment landscape offers attracting opportunities across a spectrum of industries, attracting keen interest from Qatari investors. From agriculture, food security, education, and healthcare to energy, renewable resources, mining, and other critical sectors, Kazakhstan presents a diversified platform ripe for investment.

The Qatar Chamber actively advocates for Qatari businessmen to explore these prospects, focusing on Kazakhstan’s Comprehensive Privatization Plan and a myriad of investment ventures spanning agriculture, mining, petrochemicals, tourism infrastructure, livestock breeding, dairy production, and more.

On the other hand, Kazakhstan eagerly anticipates harnessing Qatar’s substantial expertise, particularly in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petrochemical production. As Qatar stands as one of the world’s leading LNG exporters, its knowledge and capabilities hold significant promise for Kazakhstan’s economic diversification and foreign investment protection efforts. Kazakhstan aspires to establish itself as a nexus for commerce, finance, education, healthcare, tourism, and excellence in food production.

Qatar has made significant infrastructure investments in Kazakhstan, consolidating bilateral relations. Moreover, Qatar emerges as a pivotal contributor of aid to Kazakhstan, with notable projects including the establishment of the Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani School, a maternity hospital in the Almaty region, and the inception of the Abu Nasr Al Farabi Mosque in the capital, initiated during His Highness the Father Amir’s inaugural visit in 1999.

The tourism sector between the two nations is also witnessing steady growth, further propelled by Qatar Airways’ launch of direct flights since November 2021.

All in all, the evolving partnership between Qatar and Kazakhstan reflects a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship poised for continued growth and cooperation. With the recent signing of agreements and investments spanning various sectors, both nations have demonstrated their commitment to deepening economic ties and fostering sustainable development.

Related reading
Back to top