Aktobe, the heart of the New Silk Road
Source: re-elaborated version of data from Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The Aktobe Region is one of the largest regions in Kazakhstan in terms of population and industrial capacity. It shares borders with Russia to the north and Uzbekistan to the south, and is located between the Caspian Sea and the capital of the country, Astana. Almost one million people live there, with over 370,000 inhabitants mostly concentrated in Aktobe, the homonymous regional capital.
The importance of Aktobe lies mainly in its position, in the heart of the New Silk Road. More than 600 kilometres of “Western China - Western Europe” Road run across these lands. The region is also located near other member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which makes it a crossroad of free movement of goods services, capital, and labour within the EAEU countries, and near major Russian cities such as Orenburg, Samara, Ufa, Kazan and Volvograd.
Like the whole Kazakhstan, This region is rich in mineral and raw materials resources: Aktobe is completely self-sufficient in terms of gas, and is famous for its minerals. The Aktobe region ranks second in the world for chromite ore reserves and third in Kazakhstan for copper ores reserves.
Agriculture is developing dynamically too, thanks to the introduction of new technologies that allow a better use of resources. The development of greenhouses and irrigated farming are also helping agricultural production, although the primary sector in the region is mainly focused on livestock production.
The development of the mining industry has seen the advancement of small and medium-sized businesses, which are growing around major plants, factories, and companies. There are more than 50,000 enterprises successfully operating in the region in this sector of the economy.
The Kazakh Government have made many investments in Aktobe, with the aim of attracting foreign investments. The city has created an industrial zone and Just five kilometres from the centre, there is a railway connecting China to Europe. Land plots are provided free-of-charge for a long period, and can be bought at a discount price or leased at a reduced rate.
Foreign investors are provided with National support, including relief from customs duty, relief from taxes for 8-10 years and reimbursements from the government of up to 30% of the costs for construction and installation works, as well as equipment.
The Investor Assistance Centre assists the entrepreneurs and has the aim of resolving all logistical and legal matters. This favorable situation has led many foreign companies to invest in the region: among them, there are Chinese, Korean, Russian and Turkish companies. Thanks to the good relations with Italy, the Italian companies that want to consider expansion and take advantage of the benefits offered by the Belt and Road Initiative have an excellent opportunity.