ABU DHABI, 16th January, 2017 (WAM) — Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, today called the Emirati business people to increase investments in infrastructure, mining, energy and agriculture sectors, which are vital for the Central Asian country as it plans to earn a place among the most advanced countries in the world in the coming decades.

With more than US$2 billion of Emirati investments in Kazakhstan and some 200 Emirati companies operating in the country, the UAE is Kazakhstan’s largest Arab trading partner, he said.

The Kazakh President was speaking at a meeting with Emirati business leaders in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, and H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

Since 2010, Kazakhstan has been working on an industrial development plan to decrease its reliance on oil and has already launched over 1,000 projects. It is now looking forward to becoming one of the 50 most advanced countries of the world by 2050, Nazarbayev said.

He was referring to the five-year State Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development, SPAIID, a large-scale industrialisation programme adopted by the country in 2009 to cover the period from 2010 to 2014.

Highlighting the country’s economic assets, Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan produces 500 tonnes of copper and lead and has large swathes of agriculture lands. Companies willing to invest in agriculture will be exempted from tax for five years, he added.

The UAE is among the 110 countries that will take part in Expo 2017 Astana, which Nazarbayev described as a “historic event.”

Kazakhstan is also keen to benefit from the UAE’s experience in running free economic and industrial zones, which marks another area of strong economic co-operation between the two countries, the President noted.

Mohammed Thani Murshid Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Nazarbayev’s visit would strengthen economic relations between the two countries as they would build on their economic and natural assets.

In recent years, Emirati companies increased their presence in Kazakhstan’s key sectors and markets, he added.