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Chairman of the Board of Ahsel Holding
Chairman of the Board of Ahsel Holding

"A country of 2.5 million square kilometres and a myriad of opportunities"

The Ahsel Holding was founded in 1999 to coordinate the group’s subsidiaries and foreign affiliates. Chairman Ahmet Hamdi Ayan believes policymakers will increasingly shift their focus towards the production side of the economy.

How do you explain Kazakhstan’s strong macroeconomic growth?

There have been different phases of growth. The first phase was right after independence. Russia was a powerful neighbour and China was on the rise. Kazakhstan needed strong leadership and the situation was complicated. President Nazarbayev consolidated his leadership and a market economy began to function. At the time, there was little domestic capital available. In 1996, our hotel was one of only two 5-star hotels. Since 2000, the country has boomed. Money is being reinvested in property and construction.

What business opportunities are you pursuing in Kazakhstan?

We will focus on developing our niche sectors. For instance, we are planning to build factories that can supply our construction projects, producing everything from wooden panels to prefabricated concrete components. This allows us to source our own building materials at lower prices. Aside from that, we are going ahead with our school buildings, medical centres and shopping mall projects.

How would you describe your market strategy?

We work in different areas, including construction, real estate, property management and trade. For instance, we are currently developing the Edelweiss luxury villas, a residential complex. There is a growing market here for high-end living. We’re also developing a satellite compound called Ahselkent, which will be the first of its kind in the country. It will be a fully integrated complex with supermarkets and movie theatres. The plan is to deliver 7,000 apartments.

You have been directly involved in Kazakhstan for the last 15 years. What is your personal message to fellow investors?

The future is very bright, especially in the field of natural resources. It’s just a matter of how the mineral resources are used and the processes implemented. Kazakhstan needs to remain open to investment. Still, there is a big gap on the production side and the Kazakhstani government is cognizant of this.

They are making a big effort to focus on domestic transformation of natural resources. Three agencies have been created to narrow the production gap: Samruk, Kazyna and Kazagro. Samruk is designed to identify and manage investments. Kazyna will support the setting up of factories. Kazagro, in turn, will channel investment into agricultural production. This is a country of 2.5 million square kilometres and a myriad of opportunities.