You have undoubtedly heard about Xi Jinping’s recent state visit to Buckingham Palace, where the Court of St James rolled out “the reddest of red carpets” for the Chinese president. As it turns out, another state visit was scheduled closely on its heels. The carpet may not have been quite as red, but it was nonetheless an eventful one, for Kazakhstan.
On 3 November Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s president, met the Queen, the Prime Minister, and many major businesses. Nazarbayev is currently facing what might be the most serious domestic turbulence since he became president of the central Asian nation 25 years ago. Three months ago Kazakhstan altered its monetary policy and allowed its currency, the tenge, to free float. Its value has been reduced by over a third since then, and since August its central bank has spent close to US$ 2bn in a futile attempt to defend it. In a move to bolster confidence in its plummeting economy, Kazakhstan ousted its central bank governor on 2 November.. In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for Kazakhstan’s economic growth to 1.5 percent, down from an average of 8.4 percent from 2000-2011.
Now Kazakhstan is unveiling its most ambitious privatization plan since Nazarbayev took office 25 years ago. Stakes in 60 state-owned companies will be sold.. And back in Old Blighty, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) announced a tie-up with Kazakhstan’s main stock exchange, the KASE. Chances are that some of those privatizations will soon be listed alongside the 17 Kazakh companies already listed in London.
Photo Credit: www.independent.ie