Driven by oil and metal exports, Kazakhstan’s economy has recovered from its post-independence contraction and grown rapidly since the turn of the millennium. It is by far the largest economy in Central Asia, and it also has the region’s highest GDP per capita. Its manufacturing sector focuses on processing its natural resources, with large petrochemical and metallurgical industries.
To facilitate domestic value-addition in the petrochemical and metallurgical sectors, as well as promote other industry clusters such as ICT and textiles, Kazakhstan has established 12 SEZs. These SEZs have attracted 183 projects, including 46 financed by foreign capital. These projects have created 15,500 jobs and provided USD 396 million of tax revenues.
An additional 147 projects, constituting USD 5.2 billion worth of investments, are expected to be completed in the SEZs by 2021. This includes 36 projects in 2019, generating USD 422 million in investments and 1,200 jobs. In May, the government announced that it would open four new SEZs.