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2013 December Issue

ON 30 JUNE 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron became the first British premier to visit Kazakhstan. A business delegation of 30 companies from a diverse range of sectors joined the Prime Minister for this historic trip. The Prime Minister used the two-day visit to help British businesses build new relationships in this leading Central asian economy. following this groundbreaking trip, Diplomat worked with the country’s Embassy in london to compile a comprehensive report on uK-Kazakh relations.

since 2000, the economy of Kazakhstan has been one of the ten highest performing economies in the world. The World Bank predicts that it will become a high-income country by the end of the decade. The uK is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan, having provided almost £10 billion of total foreign direct investment since the country’s independence in 1991. But the country remains a source of untapped potential. There are significant and attractive development opportunities for British companies of all sizes across multiple sectors, but especially in oil and gas.

The Prime Minister’s trade Envoy to Kazakhstan, Charles hendry MP, who accompanied the Prime Minister on the visit, writes for Diplomat explaining that relations between the uK and Kazakhstan are the best they have ever been. he outlines exciting and ambitious plans including a joint vision to create an ‘aberdeen on the Caspian.’ The recent launch of direct flights between astana/almaty and london on air astana means that it is now easier than ever to get on a plane to explore these opportunities.

The Kazakhstan ambassador explains that the past two decades have seen Kazakhstan make gigantic leaps forward. twenty years ago the country’s economy was in ruins, with inflation at 2100 per cent. today, gdP is 16 times more than the figure in 1991. he says that according to estimates by British experts, Kazakhstan was the third-fastest growing country out of the 25 most dynamic economies of the first decade of the twenty-first century.
lord Waverley discusses the aktau declaration on Joint actions and says that Kazakhstan is not only open for business, but means business too. We also cover other areas of uK-Kazakh cooperation, including the Bolashak Programme of scholarships for students, and other collaborations between Kazakhstan and the university of Cambridge.

turkey’s President and Prime Minister recently opened a vast undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus linking asia and Europe in a project first proposed by an ottoman sultan some 150 years ago. for the first time, trains will be able to run directly from london to Beijing via istanbul. The Marmaray tunnel actually comprises two huge fire-resistant concrete tubes that lie more than 55 metres deep on the bed of the Bosphorus. it has taken nine years to build, cost around $2.5 billion and was one of the biggest engineering projects in Europe. Diplomat maps out the new iron silk road, along with the fascinating connections between Eastern rail developments and politics.

id is the brainchild of Bernard hamilton, currently deputy Permanent representative of Malta to the united nations and former deputy high Commissioner in london. launched in september, Diplomat takes a look at the id platform intended to act as an exclusive network for diplomats, seeking to facilitate networking and online communications between its members. The vision for id is to take communication between diplomats to a whole new level. Can the id network revolutionise communication in diplomacy? Watch this space.

This month, Diplomat’s Westminster reflections column looks at the uK’s contentious human rights act. issues like prisoner voting and the protracted proceedings over the extradition of terrorist suspect abu Qatada drive calls to reform human rights law. however, a recent high Court ruling has brought disputes such as these to the heart of relations between the uK and the Eu, setting the scene for a constitutional clash between the uK Parliament and the European Court of Justice.

Diplomat also meets with georgia’s foreign Minister to discuss European and Euro-atlantic integration, football and developing relations with russia. as always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of st James’s, this month meeting with the ambassador of Equatorial guinea, the high Commissioner for australia and the Chargé d’affaires at haiti’s new Embassy in london. We also photographed the high Commissioner for the seychelles for our Portrait page.

in the lifestyle section, Diplomat enjoys a delicious brunch at The Pantechnicon rooms. readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including details of the argentine show ‘fuerzabruta’ showing at the roundhouse until March.

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