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Kazakh-British relations

About Kazakh-British relations


On January 19, 1992 diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the UK were established.

Since October 1992, there has been a British Embassy in Kazakhstan.

Since February 1996, the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan has operated in the UK.

Since February 2017, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom has been Mr. Erlan Idrissov.

Since January 2013, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in the Republic of Kazakhstan has been Ms. Carolyn Browne.

Political relations

Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom have established a constructive dialogue that promotes the regular exchange of visits at all levels.

From 1991 to 2014, eight visits by the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, have been made to the UK (in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2013).

Members of the British royal family who have visited Kazakhstan are the heir to the British throne Prince Charles of Wales (1996), Princess Anne (1993), the Duke of Gloucester (2000), Prince Andrew, - the Duke of York, who was the UK’s Special Representative for Trade and Investment ( 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2010) and Prince Michael of Kent (2009).

From June 30 - July 1, 2013 British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron made a state visit to Kazakhstan the first such visit in the history of the two countries’ bilateral relations. A Joint Statement on strategic partnership between the two countries was signed as part of this visit.

On February 22-24, 2015 Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Mr. Karim Massimov, visited London, which resulted in agreements on further strengthening mutually beneficial co-operation.

Kazakh-British trade and economic relations

The United Kingdom is one of the largest contributors of FDI to Kazakhstan predominantly in the oil and gas sector. United Kingdom investments to Kazakhstan from 2005 to 2014 totalled $-11 billion.

According to Kazakh statistics, trade between the two countries in the period from January-October of last year totalled $ 1.05 billion.  (Export – $-0.55 billion, Import – $-0.5 billion). In 2013, the volume for the same period was $-1.9 bln. (Export – $-1.4 billion, Import – $-0.5 billion).

British companies represented in the Kazakh market include: BG, Shell, AMEC, Invensys, BAE Systems, RioTinto, Petrofac, Sun Group, Rolls Royce, HSBC, RBS, Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, SNR Denton, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca. Many of these are listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which also lists two dozen Kazakh companies (JSC KazMunaiGas E.P., JSC Kazkommertsbank, JSC Halyk Bank, JSC Kcell (market of the Fund), Orsu Metals Corp., W Resources, Steppe Cement, Max Petroleum, Tau Capital, Roxi Petroleum, Central Asia Metals, Frontier Mining, Jupiter Energy, Kemin Resources (Alternative market).

In November 2012, United Kingdom included Kazakhstan (along with Mexico, Indonesia, Morocco, Vietnam, South Africa) in a list of 14 priority countries with which to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

In October 2013, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan included the United Kingdom in the list of six priority countries to attract investment. On June 12, 2014, new investment legislation was announced for that purpose. In addition, a pilot project to allow visa-free travel for the citizens of 10 countries including the United Kingdom, for the period between 15 July 2014 and 15 July 2015, was launched.

On October 30, 2013, the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Co-operation was established. The first meeting of the new Commission took place on November 5 of the same year in Astana.

There are a number of other bilateral structures On February 24, 2015, the Business Council of JSC Samruk-Kazyna and UKTI and the British Chamber of Commerce Representative Office in Kazakhstan were successfully launched in London.

Inter-parliamentary relations

Since 2001, the All Party Group on co-operation with Kazakhstan has operated in the British Parliament.

Cultural and humanitarian co-operation

An important area of ​​bilateral co-operation is in the field of education. British universities and companies actively cooperate with Kazakhstani universities and have contributed to their development. In 2001, the Kazakh-British Technical University was established in Almaty. Its partners are four leading UK universities in the petroleum sector: Aberdeen, Robert Gordon, Herriot-Watt and Westminster.

“Nazarbayev University” has been implementing a programme for preparation for university education and a project on establishing the School of Engineering supported by University College London. In 2012 with the assistance of the BG company, a scientific library was opened at the NU Centre for Energy Research, and scholarships for the training of the staff of the NU Research and Innovation System were provided.

British universities have taken a leading role in training the students of the “Bolashak” scholarship programme (more than 2,000 scholarship holders have graduated from UK universities). According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, about 4,000 students are studying in the UK.

In 2014, The Memorandum of Understanding on the Partnership Program “Newton - Al-Farabi” for Kazakhstan was signed. The purpose of this document is to support joint innovation and scientific research.  

Military and military-technical co-operation

On an annual basis, the plan of bilateral military co-operation between the Ministries of Defence of Kazakhstan and Great Britain have been co-ordinated and approved. In order to implement this plan, the Kazakhstan-British Working Group was established (meeting annually in Astana and London, in turn). The main areas of co-operation include: peacekeeper training, the training of Kazakh servicemen in military educational institutions in the UK, and, co-operation in the field of language training in the military-technical sphere.